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Shed Light on this Pierce


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Not me, but thank you for posting that picture. Years ago (at least 15), I bought a clock in the shape of a radiator and could never figgure out who it was advertising until today. It is the exact shape as the Long Radiators logo at the bottom of your picture. Too bad, I had hoped it came from Locomobille...

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  • 4 months later...

The man pictured in the ad is Ab Jenkins who set many performance records in 1920's Studebakers before switching to the Pierce. If you want data about that particular car you might try to contact his son, Marvin Jenkins who lives in St George,UT. Stude8

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Maurice Hendry wrote a book about Pierce Arrow in about 1970. It was published by Ballantine as one of a series they did on cars and motorcycles before they went on to their war series.

In it there was a chapter on the Pierce 12 record holders of the 30s.

The car shown was their first effort. It was a prototype of the new Pierce 12 and it broke all speed records in its class up to 24 hours.

Next year they came back with substantially the same car but with a streamlined body and a hotted up motor and broke all records again.

They returned a 3d time with another hotted up engine, this time I believe with 4 carbs, hi compression heads and possibly a hotter cam.All 3 years they ran with open exhaust. I think the fastest speed they made for the 24 hour average was 117.

To put this in perspective, at the time Rolls Royce was warning their customers not to run their cars at full throttle for more than 5 minutes or they would blow the engine.The Rolls had a top speed of 85 or 90.

A few years later Mercedes' top model was the Grosser straight eight with supercharger. They warned their customers not to run at full throttle with the supercharger engaged for more than 2 minutes. The top speed with supercharger was 102 MPH.

Ab Jenkins was the pilot all 3 years, he reported that the Pierce was very stable at speeds over 100MPH, more like a racing chassis.

When Pierce decided to rest on their laurels, Jenkins came back the following year with a supercharged Duesenberg and set a new record.

The year after, he returned with the same Duesenberg with a Curtis Conqueror aircraft engine and broke all records again.

This was the celebrated Mormon Meteor that sold a few years ago for multi millions of dollars.

A few things stand out. At the time the fastest stock cars on earth were American. No foreign make could come close in speed and stamina.

It is very surprising that Pierce was capable of such feats. The Pierce Arrow was known as the ultimate tycoon's scooter and dowager's opera hack but no one associated them with racing. Yet they had the moxie to beat the worlds best.

It is also interesting that it took a supercharged Duesenberg to beat them. It is not so surprising that a Deusy had the edge over the Pierce as they had a long history of racing and speed records. But it is interesting that it took their supercharged model to beat an unsupercharged Pierce. I also assume the Duesy was stretched to its limit, otherwise Jenkins would not have bothered changing engines for the next year's record attempt.

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