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1931 Pierce-Arrow Model 42 Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton Chassis no. 1025047

Estimate: US$100,000 - US$130,000
Lot 143
1931 Pierce-Arrow Model 42 Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton

1931 Pierce-Arrow Model 42 Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton
Chassis no. 1025047

385.6ci L-Head Inline 8-Cylinder Engine
Single Stromberg Updraft Carburetor
132bhp at 3,000rpm
3-Speed Manual Transmission
Solid Front Axle with Semi-Elliptic Leaf Springs
Front and Rear Lear Spring Suspension
4-Wheel Bendix Duo-Servo Mechanical Drum Brakes

*Quality Older Restoration in Dashing Open Body Style
*Limited Owner Roster Since the Early 1970s
*Former AACA National First Prize Award Winner
*Ideal for Touring Enjoyment
*CCCA Full Classic® Recognition and Event Eligibility


The venerable Pierce-Arrow marque had a long and impressive history prior to the difficult 1930s, having manufactured some of the greatest motor cars of the Brass and Classic Era. From its earliest cars, including the Great-Arrow as well as the 38, the 48 and the mighty Pierce 66, Pierce-Arrow was the choice of several U.S. Presidents as well as the elite of American society. In short, it was one of the premier American motor cars. Throughout the 1920s, the marque continued at the pinnacle of the American fine car market, along with Peerless and Packard, representing one of the legendary "Three Ps."

The controversial merger of 1928 with Studebaker, driven by Pierce-Arrow's acute need for cash to fund the development of new models, did provide the needed resources for a new and highly acclaimed eight-cylinder engine in 1929, finally breaking the marque's long-standing reliance on six-cylinder power. However, as the infamous stock market crash and Great Depression loomed, Pierce-Arrow resolutely continued to focus on its luxury-car roots and upscale, discerning clientele more than ever before.

In January 1931, Pierce-Arrow announced the new Model 41, 42 and 43, with bodies differing in design only slightly from 1930. The 1931 Pierce-Arrow model line included other visual cues. A deeper radiator shell and heightened brightwork effectively offset the growing trend to more restrained exterior colors, while a new, bareheaded archer radiator mascot was also introduced. The Pierce-Arrow eight-cylinder engine continued to be one of the smoothest and most powerful available. Technical innovations for 1931 included freewheeling, which allowed for easy downhill coasting without the need to disengage the transmission or depress the clutch pedal.

Throughout the venerable marque's history, Pierce-Arrow was staunchly committed to providing its discerning customers with the best and the most desirable factory-built and custom coachwork, a tradition proudly continued to the end of production in 1938. Through it all, Pierce-Arrow quality never diminished in the interest of greater production or lower cost. For example, over 300 stainless steel items were used per car for nuts, bolts and hinges. Pierce-Arrow construction quality was second to none, with bodies often built to each customer's unique requirements, with only the finest northern white ash used for body understructure. Body finishing was a 55-step process, with seven complete inspections made and 14 coats of lacquer paint applied.

During the summer of 1931, the LeBaron-bodied Pierce-Arrow model lineup was photographed by none other than Margaret Bourke-White, who was the first female photographer utilized for such work by an American automobile manufacturer. Her prolific body of work was published in the highest-profile magazines of the era including Life and includes aerial photography and the dramatic use of height and massive scale afforded by New York's commanding Art Deco architecture. Her artistic influence remains strong today and she is rightly celebrated today as being almost singlehandedly responsible for elevating photography to recognition as a "true" art form. In short, she was the perfect choice to photographically capture the sheer grandeur of Pierce-Arrows iconic LeBaron-bodied models.

Without doubt, one of the most elegant yet sporting Pierce-Arrow models of the early 1930s was the Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton on the Model 42 chassis with its generous 142-inch wheelbase length. Weighing 4,734 pounds, it carried a factory list price of $3,750 when new. With just three owners since the early 1970s and current collection ownership since 2005, it continues to benefit from a restoration performed during the early 1970s that garnered AACA National First Prize honors at the 1974 Hershey Fall Meet. Featuring alluring two-tone Tan and Maroon exterior colors over Maroon leather upholstery, the mighty Pierce is equipped with desirable features and amenities including running-board courtesy lights, dual side mounted spares, a rear luggage rack and trunk. Rightly recognized as a CCCA Full Classic® automobile, this glamorous 1931 Pierce-Arrow Model 42 Dual Cowl Phaeton will provide a welcome entry into a veritable multitude of desirable shows, tours and events with abundant style and grace.

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