19-20 January 2012
1919 Pierce-Arrow Model 48 Dual-Valve Four-Passenger Roadster
- Chassis no. 513088
Sold for $165,000
• Believed one of two surviving Model 48 Dual-Valve Four-Passenger Roadsters known
• Carefully maintained and equipped for touring reliability
• A regular and well-known entry in West Coast classic tours
• Sporting close-coupled body, “New York” headlamps, dual-valve “six”
In contrast to Peerless and Packard, which introduced their new V-8 and “Twin Six” V-12 engines in 1916, Pierce-Arrow held firm to its line of powerful, large-displacement sixes through 1927. In particular, Pierce’s hallmark for many years was its T-head engine layout, produced in several sizes; for most of the teen years, they were available in 38-, 48- and 66-horsepower variants. In 1918, the 38 and 66 were both discontinued and the 48 was redesigned with sophisticated dual-valve cylinder heads providing high efficiency with four valves per cylinder.
The Dual-Valve Six was renowned from the beginning for its remarkable power and near silence, a trait that unexpectedly drew the favor of the era’s more successful bootleggers. Priced from $5,200 for the bare chassis to a commanding $8,200 for the Vestibule Suburban and its variants, the Model 48 was also available in attractively close-coupled Four-Seat Roadster form for $6,400 F.O.B. Buffalo, New York. Revered when new and perhaps even more so today, the Model 48 remains a mighty car, capable of carrying the most imposing coachwork and covering great distances with ease.
This example from 1919 is particularly rare and believed to be one of two 1919 Model 48 Dual-Valve Four-Passenger Roadsters known to exist today. It is equipped with drum-style “New York” headlights, unlike the vast majority of Pierces built after 1913 with Herbert Dawley’s patented fender-mounted units. During the 1980s and 1990s, this example formed part of the Raymond Brown Collection, and during that time it received a show-quality cosmetic restoration performed by Fred Hoch in New Jersey. Following the passing of Mr. Brown, the car was sold in 1999 and acquired by Stuart Laidlaw, later passing to the McBride collection of the Pacific Northwest, under whom a mechanical refurbishment was performed by California’s Gold Country Restoration.
In 2008, the current owner, who is an active vintage touring enthusiast, acquired the car, and in his ownership it has been maintained to be ready for long-distance classic rallies and touring events, becoming a well-known entry in Brass and Nickel events in the western United States, including the Paso Robles and Pebble Beach tours. Hundreds of hours of mechanical work have ensured its drivability and performance, with the work including recent attention paid to the car’s braking, chassis lubrication, clutch, cooling and starting systems. Improvements to the car’s cooling system, fuel pump and oil filtration provide increased touring reliability on longer-distance touring events, and all instruments reportedly work well, including the speedometer and eight-day clock. Handsomely presented and professionally maintained, this exceedingly rare Model 48 Four-Passenger Roadster can be enjoyed and shown with equal levels of confidence.
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