In the early 1920s, following the departure of long-serving chief engineer David Fergusson, Pierce-Arrow worked to simplify and modernize its model range while remaining faithful to the legacy of prestige and quality that Fergusson left. First among the new cars was the Model 32. The 32 and its successor, the Model 33, shared one chassis across the entire range along with a variety of superb aluminum coachwork options crafted in Pierce’s in-house body shop. Where previously there were some sixty possible combinations of body and chassis available, the Model 33 had one chassis, one engine, and upwards of seventeen factory bodies. Central to the Model 33 was a 414 cubic-inch dual-valve inline-six, now of Monobloc construction. The new engine, combined with numerous improvements to the chassis, brakes, and steering, gave the Pierce superb refinement and drivability. The Model 33 was a worthy successor to cars like the mighty Model 66, and it proudly carried Pierce-Arrow into the 1920s.
Grand and commanding, this 1923 Model 33 Vestibule Sedan is a superb example of Pierce-Arrow’s luxurious flagship. This outstanding motorcar was once the centerpiece of a significant collection of Pierce automobiles, and it has since enjoyed a charmed existence in another private grouping of fine cars. Noted marque specialist Ron Blissit performed the meticulous nut and bolt restoration in the early 2000s, and it won a Pierce-Arrow Society Best in Class in 2005. It is offered today in superb condition, finished in a beautiful two-tone burgundy livery with cream coach stripes, wood artillery wheels, and black wall tires. The paint is gorgeous, still looking remarkably fresh and displaying excellent fit of the aluminum coachwork. As one of Pierce-Arrow’s more formal offerings, this sedan maintains an understated profile with minimal brightwork, though the nickel-plated bumpers, radiator shell, and various handles and fittings are all in superb order. Accessories include dual side-mount spares with mirrors, a beautifully restored period trunk, and a lovely nickel stoplight.
The cabin is richly appointed in gray fabric and high-quality carpet. It is meticulously trimmed, and the materials appear taut and notably fresh since the restoration. Features include a wood-rimmed steering wheel, and wood window surrounds, individual ashtrays, disappearing opera seats, woven grab handles, bud vase holders, and roller shades on all the rear windows for privacy. Door handles, window winders, and hardware are plated and polished to a high standard. As a sedan, this car lacks a central divider window, which allows for a roomier driver’s compartment. At the helm, the view down the long hood is impressive, and the array of Waltham gauges is easily visible in the central instrument panel. Switches and knobs are all restored with the same impeccable eye for detail.
Pierce-Arrow built its reputation around its robust inline six-cylinder engines. This Model 33 features a 414 cubic-inch six in a T-head configuration with twin sparkplugs per cylinder and dual Delco ignition. The driver could flip a switch on the dash to set it to run on either left or right sets of plugs, or both simultaneously for maximum output, or in instances of low-quality fuel. Rated for 100 horsepower, the mighty six could push sportier models to more than 75 miles per hour. While the top speed of this big sedan would be somewhat lower, the prodigious torque propels it along with ease. Detailing under the hood is authentic and well done, with black paint and porcelain finishes contrasting the bare alloy crankcase and chrome hardware. It shows some signs of use and minor crazing of the porcelain, but the overall presentation is excellent.
It is rare to encounter a Pierce-Arrow of this era restored to such a high caliber. This marvelous and thoroughly impressive Model 33 will undoubtedly garner praise how ever its next keeper chooses to enjoy it.
Offers welcome and trades considered