19-20 January 2012

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Lot 255

1919 Pierce-Arrow Model 48 Dual-Valve Four-Passenger Roadster

  • Chassis no. 513088

Sold for $165,000

48 hp, 524 cu. in. dual-valve T-Head six-cylinder engine, four-speed selective sliding-gear manual transmission, I-beam front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, semi-floating rear axle with three-quarter elliptic leaf springs, and rear-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 142"

• 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.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. He is a life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

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California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

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Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

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United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more