The Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company was an American motor vehicle manufacturer based in Buffalo, New York, which was active from 1901 to 1938. Although best known for its expensive luxury cars, Pierce-Arrow also manufactured commercial trucks, fire trucks, camp trailers, motorcycles, and bicycles.
The forerunner of Pierce-Arrow was established in 1865 as Heinz, Pierce and Munschauer. The company was best known for its household items, especially its delicate, gilded birdcages. In 1872, George Norman Pierce (1846–1910) bought out the other two principals of the company, changed the name to the George N. Pierce Company, and in 1896 added bicycles to the product line. The company failed in its attempt to build a steam-powered car in 1900 under license from Overman, but by 1901 had built its first single-cylinder, two-speed, no-reverse Motorette. In 1903, it produced a two-cylinder car, the Arrow.
Pierce Motorette (1901-1903)
1901 Pierce Motorette
1903 Pierce Stanhope Motorette
The first production Pierce automobile of 1901 used a single cylinder, 2 3/4 hp deDion engine.
This 1901 Pierce-Arrow was used by the factory for promotional purposes well into the 1920's.
In 1903, Pierce replaced the deDion engine in the Motorette with one of their own manufacture. About 170 Pierce Motorettes were made between 1901 and 1903.
George N. Pierce Company (1901-1907)
1906 Pierce Racine Touring
1907 Pierce Arrow Model 65
1909 Pierce 6-36
The George N. Pierce company started toward the line that would make them famous in 1903 with the introduction of the Arrow. A bigger car with the engine mounted in the front of the car rather than under the car, the Arrow carried four adults and was powered by a 15-hp deDion engine. A Pierce made engine followed in 1904
Great Arrow (1905-1909)
1905 Great Arrow
1906 Great Arrow
1909 Pierce Arrow Great Arrow
In 1904, Pierce decided to concentrate on making a larger, more luxurious car for the upscale market, the Great Arrow. This became the company's most successful product. The solidly built, four-cylinder car won the Glidden Tour in 1905, an endurance run to determine and celebrate the most reliable car. Thirty-three cars entered the 350-mile race from New York City to Bretton Woods, New Hampshire; the race was won by Percy Pierce in a Great Arrow.
Pierce Arrow (1910s)
1910 Pierce Arrow Model 48
1911 Pierce Arrow Model 36
1912 Pierce Arrow Model 48
1913 Pierce Arrow Model 66A
1914 Pierce Arrow Model 48
1915 Pierce Arrow Model 48
1916 Pierce Arrow Model 66A
1917 Pierce Arrow Model 48B
1918 Pierce Arrow Model 66A
1919 Pierce Arrow Model 31
In 1914, Pierce-Arrow adopted its most enduring styling hallmark when its headlights were moved from a traditional placement at the radiator's sides, into flared housings molded into the front fenders of the car. This gave the car an immediately visible distinction in front or side views. At night, the car appeared to have a wider stance. Pierce patented this placement, which endured until the final model of 1938, although Pierce always offered customers the option of conventional headlamps; only a minority ordered this option.
Pierce Arrow (1920s)
1920 Pierce Arrow Model 32
1921 Pierce Arrow
1922 Pierce Arrow Model 33
1923 Pierce Arrow Model 33
1924 Pierce Arrow Model 33
1925 Pierce Arrow Model 80
1926 Pierce Arrow Model 80
1927 Pierce Arrow Model 36
1928 Pierce Arrow Model 81
1929 Pierce Arrow Model B
In 1928, the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana, gained control of the
Pierce Arrow. The association lasted for five years, with moderate benefits to both companies'
and engineering departments, which continued to function as separate entities. Pierce-Arrow also gained a dealer network, as the cars were sold through Studebaker dealerships. Under Studebaker's ownership, Pierce-Arrow retired the venerable 6-cylinder engine and in 1929 introduced an L-head straight-eight engine, which displaced 366 cubic inches.
Pierce Arrow (1930s)
1930 Pierce Arrow Model B
1931 Pierce Arrow Model 41
1932 Pierce Arrow Model 51
1933 Pierce Arrow Model 836
1933 Pierce Arrow Model 1247
1934 Pierce Arrow Model 840A
1935 Pierce Arrow Model 845
1936 Pierce Arrow Model 1601
1937 Pierce Arrow Model 1702
1938 Pierce Arrow Model 1801
In 1933, the engine was changed to use hydraulic valve lifters, a Pierce-Arrow innovation, and also to use a down draft carburetor.
In 1932, the straight-eight was augmented with the addition of two new twelve-cylinder engines. The Model 53 used the smaller 398 cid engine; the Models 51 & 52 used the larger 429 cid engine. The 1932 models features more flowing body lines than the previous years and also brought a few new features, including ride-control that allowed the shock absorbers to be adjusted from the instrument panel and Startix, an automatic starting device.
Silver Arrow (1933-1935)
1933 Pierce Arrow Silver Arrow
1934 Pierce Arrow Silver Arrow
1935 Pierce Arrow Silver Arrow
The Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company was officially launched in 1908. Prior to this year, the company had been known as The George N. Pierce Co. The Great Arrow cars were named Pierce-Arrow. This was also the year that the Pierce family left the company.
Not exactly a production car, yet something more than a concept, the 1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow was intended as the car that “couldn’t be ignored.” Just five were ever built, each priced 25-percent higher than the most expensive production Cadillac of the day, and three are known to survive today.
Get Your Very Own Piere Arrow Scale Models
1933 Pierce Arrow Silver Arrow Scale Model Shown
Approx. 7-1/2" Long
Scaled replicas of cars and trucks
Die-cast metal body with plastic details
Opening doors on all - some with opening hoods and trunks
This site claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this
site are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this
site that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.
Pierce Arrow Automobiles Through the Years
Reviewed by Gene Wright on