Thanks for the thoughts on shifting early cars. Interesting stuff.
I recently read a good book about Harley Earl called Fins by William Knoedelseder. In the book there was this passage that talked about the fine sound of Pierce-Arrows. And below are a couple of advertisements for the Pierce-Arrow.
One of Harley Earl's hires—after he was appointed in 1928 by Alfred Sloan as the head of GM's new "Art and Colour Section" (a name Earl didn't like)—was Frank Hershey, whose affluent mother had purchased custom cars designed by Harley Earl. Frank Hershey was an influential car designer for decades, and helped design the 1949 Cadillac fin, and helped design Ford's 1955 Thunderbird. Earl liked designers who, in his words, "had gasoline in their veins"—and Hershey fit that. For instance, Hershey could identify almost any car of the 1920s just by their sounds, as he remembered in an interview in the 1990s a few years before he died....
"The Marmon had a hollow, spooky sound, partly because because they didn't have any louvers in the hood, Studebakers were distinctive because their rear axles whined all the time. The Pierce-Arrow had a swishing sound, sort of like it was riding on water, almost like steam, it was so quiet. And I could always tell a Cadillac because they sounded like the valves needed adjusting."
The advertising copy for that Peerless car ad above is strangely wistful. Since it's impossible to read the ad without clicking on it to enlarge it multiple times, I'll type some of it here just in case someone might be interested.
"....Up Life's winding course, regret pursues change and change bites the heels of habit and custom. The stage-coach of romance gives place to steam and speed. The electric light snuffs out the soft-beamed candle. Tinkling sleigh-bells drown in the roar of motor horns.
But Youth knows naught of the old, Age accepts the new, and who will say that smiles were brighter or spirits keener at the Christmases of our fathers than they are today?
Richer and wider is our modern life, with its locomotives, its electricity, its motor cars—they have extended our horizons, increased our comforts and opportunities, multiplied our human relationships.
Here at the Peerless factory we measure our accomplishment by the degree to which the Peerless Two-power-range Eight shares in this widening and enriching process. As the new year approaches, we renew our pledges of devotion to ideals of sound building and honest dealing.
The Peerless Motor Car Company
CLEVELAND : OHIO"