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SOLD: 1919 Pierce Arrow Model 48 Dual Valve Four Passenger Roadster


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Posted (edited)
 
 
This 1919 Pierce Arrow Model 48 Four Passenger Roadster was restored in the 1990s by the noted early Pierce Arrow restorer Ron Fawcett of Ontario, Canada. Originally discovered as chassis ,#514463, Fawcett built replica coachwork in the style of Don Lee. The body was crafted to exact specifications using patterns taken from an original Don Lee-bodied Model 48 Pierce Arrow Four Passenger Roadster that Fawcett was restoring at the time and written about in the following article: https://www.prewarcar.com/disguised-for-50-years-1918-pierce-arrow-model-48-don-lee-custom-body. The result was a sporty, open four-passenger car with lightweight coachwork that perfectly complemented the long, 142" wheelbase Pierce Arrow chassis.  The car was toured and shown in Canada for many years before being purchased by its current owner about three years ago.
 
Since being purchased by the current owner, the car has undergone significant  mechanical and cosmetic re-freshening. The car was exhibited at the prestigious St. John's Concours in 2018 where it won a coveted Lion's Trophy. Today, the car remains in excellent cosmetic and mechanical condition. The paint is excellent throughout showing only minimal signs of wear. The fit and finnish of the body is excellent throughout. The red, tufted leather interior is excellent as is the tan top. The dashboard has its complete hosts of original Pierce Arrow gauges and controls which are in excellent condition as well. All of the properly nickel plated accents and accessories remain bright and vibrant.
 
Under the hood, Pierce Arrow's massive 524 cubic inch, dual-valve, six-cylinder engine presents extremely well. It is complete with its original Pierce Arrow carburetor  and twin-distributor ignition system. It fires up effortlessly and has that smooth but authoritive rumble that  is a signature feature of early Pierce Arrows. The car is equipped with a rare and desirable set of wire wheels which have been recently respoked and fitted with new tires and properly plated lock rings. The car is easy to shift and nimble to steer. It goes down the road with proper authority and precision.
 
Pierce Arrow Model 48s have been highly coveted by collectors since the earliest days of the antique car hobby. They are known for their impressive quality and sophisticated engineering features. They have been continuously  acquired by the world's leading collectors and are highly sought after due to the respect they have earned at prestigious touring events worldwide. This example, with its distinctive and sporty coachwork, will become a welcomed addition to any collection and will certainly provide lots of pleasure whether on the show field or on the road.
 
This car is being realistically offered for sale at 129,500.00. Please call 734-730-4274 or email: motoringicons@hotmail.com for additional information. Detroit, MI.
 
Thank you very much.

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Edited by motoringicons (see edit history)
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I really liked the looks of that car until getting to the headlights. 😝 How could anyone do that to a beautiful automobile.

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16 hours ago, Fossil said:

I really liked the looks of that car until getting to the headlights. 😝 How could anyone do that to a beautiful automobile.

 

Fossil did put a smiley emoji after his comments.  It’s strictly an opinion, but I, too, have never cared for the distinctive lights on the fenders approach that Pierce Arrow so dearly loved.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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Rebody or not, that seems like a shockingly reasonable price for that much automobile. How much would the "real" one cost? Five times that much? Eight? It's hard to imagine non-pedigree cars that cost six figures being a bargain, but I have to admit this car definitely qualifies. It's like you're getting the car for free and the restoration at half price. And there are only fifteen people in the world who can walk past that car and spot that it's a rebody. Everyone else just thinks it's the most amazing thing they've ever seen.

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4 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

Rebody or not, that seems like a shockingly reasonable price for that much automobile. How much would the "real" one cost? Five times that much? Eight? It's hard to imagine non-pedigree cars that cost six figures being a bargain, but I have to admit this car definitely qualifies. It's like you're getting the car for free and the restoration at half price. And there are only fifteen people in the world who can walk past that car and spot that it's a rebody. Everyone else just thinks it's the most amazing thing they've ever seen.

 

As a general rule I pay no attention to new coachwork.   In this case, I'm paying attention.  So cool!

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 I remember riding in a 48-Series Pierce behind a line of 1936 and 1937 Pierces on a narrow country road and Geoge M. Cohan's, later David Baird's, 1917 having no trouble keeping up, blasting along at 50 to 60 mph. 

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15 minutes ago, jeff_a said:

 I remember riding in a 48-Series Pierce behind a line of 1936 and 1937 Pierces on a narrow country road and Geoge M. Cohan's, later David Baird's, 1917 having no trouble keeping up, blasting along at 50 to 60 mph. 

Jeff, and that was a single-valve 48!  The dual-valve 48s, beginning with the 48-B-5 (built June 1918-March 1919) and the Series 51 (1919-20) were advertised as having a 40% increase in power over the single-valve models.  Pierce never advertised the bhp of either, but in some Engineering Committee notes published in the PAS magazine The Arrow a few years ago, I found mention of a dynamometer test of the dual valve 48 at 121 bhp.  That would mean that the single-valve 48 (such as the Cohan car then owned by the late, great David Baird) as 86 bhp.  I'm fortunate to own a 1918 48-B-5 after chasing it for 18 years, and can attest that the dual valve is tremendously powerful for its era, and with massive torque at low rpm.  It LOVES to climb hills!

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Re-body or not, it is a beautiful car! And there were still several cars using clear lenses in 1919. Ford, often slow to changes demanded by others including governments, didn't switch to fluted lenses until 1921! I used to hang around a bunch of earlier Pierce Arrow cars, and am used to seeing them with clear lenses. It was funny (to me?), as I was first looking at the pictures of the OP car, I noticed the fluted lenses, and had the very thought about how I thought it would look better with the clear lenses (I do tend to favor earlier styles and details). Then reading on down, the comment about the headlights and I just needed to make my bizarre (non-sequitur) comment.

Grimy I am sure could clarify this for me? Exactly what year DID Pierce Arrow switch to fluted lenses? If memory serves me correctly, I "think" a good friend's 1918 has clear lenses in it?

 

Regardless, I think this looks like a fine car. Re-body or not (one would be amazed how many brass era and late-'10s cars do have re-bodies), this would be a wonderful nickel era car to tour with. One could be proud of it parked next to almost any other fine cars of the era. I wish I had the money.

 

Guess I need to figure out that "emoji" thing here?

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Had several Pierce 66's but none drove as nice as a 1919 48 HP dual valve. The 1919 48 HP dual valve Pierces made great tour cars which make them very desirable and difficult to find.

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4 hours ago, wayne sheldon said:

Grimy I am sure could clarify this for me? Exactly what year DID Pierce Arrow switch to fluted lenses? If memory serves me correctly, I "think" a good friend's 1918 has clear lenses in it?

My 1918 has clear lenses.  To the best of my knowledge (and I welcome authoritative correction), the Bausch & Lomb heavy, fluted lenses were first used on the Series 32 in 1921.  The Series 32 was succeeded by the Series 33 (1922-mid-1926), and then by the Series 36 (late 1926 thru 1928), all using B&L 9.25 lenses.  The junior model Series 80 (1925-27) used 8.375-inch B&L fluted lenses.  B&L "STAR" (so marked) were used 1926-28 only in both sizes.

 

For decades, many owners have retrofitted fluted lenses to earlier Pierces, especially when using more modern bulbs, so we are accustomed to seeing perhaps a majority of post-1915, pre-1921 Pierces wearing B&L fluted lenses.

 

The subject car, as a custom variation, has a much lower, sportier top than the factory 4-passenger roadster--perhaps 10 inches lower.  Sorry I don't have a catalog scan to post to show the difference.

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In the timeframe this Don Lee-bodied Pierce-Arrow was built, Don Lee was the Cadillac distributor for California, worked closely with Earl Automobile Works where Harley Earl was involved with designing their custom bodies.  Although direct credit would be difficult to verify, good likelihood this body is one of Harley Earl's earliest designs. 

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Posted (edited)

I found my 1920 Model 48 Dual Valve 7 passenger touring on this website about 8 years ago. It was listed by motoringicons as well. Without a doubt, the best car I ever bought in my 20+ years of collecting. This is the car that gets driven the most and my other cars have sadly taken a back seat to the Mighty Dual Valve that has become affectionately known as Big Blue. All of the above comments about dual valve Model 48s are true, especially when it comes to flattening hills. When you drive a Model 48, you forget that you are driving a 100 year old relic because it handles like a post war sports car. 

 

For what its worth, Big Blue has the same fluted headlight lenses. 

 

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Edited by rusty12 (see edit history)
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On 5/2/2020 at 8:55 PM, David W Weber said:

Had several Pierce 66's but none drove as nice as a 1919 48 HP dual valve. The 1919 48 HP dual valve Pierces made great tour cars which make them very desirable and difficult to find.

 

 

A comment from someone who really knows Pierce Arrow's..........and I agree 100 percent.

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Ron did some fantastic restorations over the years and he has been gone now about 12 years. If Ron did this car you know it was done right and good for road or show. His oldest son Peter took over the business with Art Carty when Ron retired from the business to concentrate on Pierces in his shop at home. At one time Ron was restoring 6 Pierces at once and he called that retiring.  

This was Ron's personal car now owned by Peter (not Ron in it) The one listed for sale here is a bargain that you will have a tough time to find better at that price.  

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Edited by Joe in Canada (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the nice comments. This car is certainly well restored and one fast tour car. Everything that has been said about Dual Valve Model 48s is true. This car is a rocket-especially with the lightweight coachwork. There has been a lot of interest in this one! Here are more photos including some taken by conceptcarz.com when it was exhibited at the 2018 St. John's Concours. 

 

 

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Edited by motoringicons (see edit history)
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Don Lee was a fascinating historic figure. Although best known as a major California Cadillac dealer, at least on the sites we here usually frequent, he was into many other things as well. I don't know where he made is first fortune. Frankly, I never tried to find out. Not only did he operate both the San Francisco Cadillac dealership and the Los Angeles dealership, he also found another niche in used car sales. Taking in numerous expensive cars in trade for new Cadillacs, he found that by customizing them, with restyled roof-lines, reworked fenders and steps or running boards, along with excellent detailing and interior tweaks, he could sell those two to four year old high class cars for nearly new car prices. His custom shops restyled everything from Hudsons to Rolls Royces during the roaring twenties. About forty years ago, I knew a fellow that was fascinated by the Don Lee touch, and had collected dozens of era photographs of Don Lee cars. He often shared them at club meetings. I wish I had copies of them to share on this forum today.

 

Don Lee was also interested in other new and emerging technologies. I worked most of my working career in emerging technologies myself, mostly in communications systems. My Dad was a cable television pioneer, and when I was barely in high school. I worked with him on early high end two way television systems. So, for me being interested in history, it was also natural for me to study the early days of radio and television. I sometimes like to ask people when they think the first commercial broadcasts of television were? In fifty years of my asking, I think two people knew the answer. It was essentially 1931. The forerunner of the FCC began issuing licenses about 1929, basically two years after Philo Farnsworth demonstrated the first truly viable television broadcasting format in 1927. The three areas of the country to broadcast that first month or so were the three places where enough wealthy people lived that could afford a $3000 tv set (that is $3000 1929/'30 dollars!). The financial centers of New York and Chicago, and the entertainment capitol of the world, Hollywood and its surroundings. So, guess who one of those first broadcasters was? A familiar name, Don Lee.

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Harley Earl’s grandson was at the shop a few months ago, and gave me the entire history of the Earl/Lee buyout relationship. We covered hundreds of topics, and I can’t for the life of me remember what he said.......I was concentrating on more recent scholarship on coach building. The good news, he is fairly young, Intrested in his family history as well as GM history, and is writing a book. He currently does the lecture circuit. He remembers his grandfather quite well. He was telling me stories of how all the retired and semi retired designers and coach builders would stop by and visit his grandfather at his Palm Beach estate on the ocean. Seems their guest house was very popular with friends and business acquaintances to stop and visit from the old days. Ray Dietrich and Marion were regular visitors along with Herman Brunn and many others. We have an lunch planned after the lock down, and plan on driving one of his grandfathers designs out to lunch. 

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In reference to the discussion on the headlight lenses on Pierce Arrows: Pierce Arrow cars prior to the Series 31-51 cars came from the factory with clear plate glass headlight lenses and even some very early Series 31-51's still had the plate glass lenses but the factory began fitting the cars with the Bausch&Lomb prismatic lenses in 1919 due to laws in many jurisdictions regarding headlight glare mandating the fitting of approved prismatic lenses to automobiles.If one did not want to get cited and pay a fine,they had to retrofit an earlier car with an approved lens.I am sure many earlier Pierce Arrow owners had the dealer fit their car with the new Bausch&Lomb lens as this lens was one of the best on the market and would conform to all laws.There were at that time numerous anti glare devices on the market with some being better than others.

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5 hours ago, ericmac said:

Last great platform eh? Must be a Peerless as Packard made some really great cars after this era.


Unless I am mistaken.......that’s the last of the huge six banger Peerless cars..........literally the last one built as a leftover. I would not call any Peerless V-8 in the same class the the giant six, I have driven them both........when Peerless went to the V-8 their quality fell off the face of the earth. It was the beginning of the end for them.  Packard ALWAYS made a good car through the 30’s. The junior models were no where in the league of the senior stuff.....but still nice. So, Yes, if that is the 1915 big six Peerless that I think it is, it’s the last of the great Peerless cars...........

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, edinmass said:


Unless I am mistaken.......that’s the last of the huge six banger Peerless cars..........literally the last one built as a leftover. I would not call any Peerless V-8 in the same class the the giant six, I have driven them both........when Peerless went to the V-8 their quality fell off the face of the earth. It was the beginning of the end for them.  Packard ALWAYS made a good car through the 30’s. The junior models were no where in the league of the senior stuff.....but still nice. So, Yes, if that is the 1915 big six Peerless that I think it is, it’s the last of the great Peerless cars...........

 

Nope. 

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Posted (edited)

Hint 1:

There are two of these known to exist. The other example is in a  very major California collection but it has a homemade "speedster" style body. This car has its original very sporty, 2 person body with an extra seat for someone you don't care for. 

 

Hint 2:

Somewhere on the AACA Forum, awhile back, there is a period, original photo one of these cars when it was almost new. This really cool photo was taken in front of a well known, Royal Palace in an area that is no longer governed by a prince. 

 

Hint 3: 

This car has been owned by some of the most influential "forefathers" of the antique car hobby and has a known history from new. 

Edited by motoringicons (see edit history)
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54 minutes ago, motoringicons said:

 

Nope. 

 

 

There is a similar car from 1915 or 1916 in a similar color...........think it was owned by the Dutch Masters Cigar family from new till the 2000's. The big Peerless cars are fantastic. The speedster you refer to had an unknown history but I was able to get the current owner photos of it when Barney Pollard had the engine in one pile and the other "P" chassis in a different pile. It was built out west right after the war. He now has all of the history that can ever be determined. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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