Formerly the property of Led Zeppelin manager, Peter Grant,1929 Pierce-Arrow Model B Doctor's Coupe Chassis no. 2005449 Engine no. 123379
Lot 214
1929 Pierce-Arrow Model B Doctor's Coupe
Registration no. SV 4794 Chassis no. 2005449 Engine no. 123379
£40,000 - 60,000
US$ 65,000 - 97,000

Lot Details
Formerly the property of Led Zeppelin manager, Peter Grant,1929 Pierce-Arrow Model B Doctor's Coupe Chassis no. 2005449 Engine no. 123379 Formerly the property of Led Zeppelin manager, Peter Grant,1929 Pierce-Arrow Model B Doctor's Coupe Chassis no. 2005449 Engine no. 123379 Formerly the property of Led Zeppelin manager, Peter Grant,1929 Pierce-Arrow Model B Doctor's Coupe Chassis no. 2005449 Engine no. 123379
Formerly the property of Led Zeppelin manager, Peter Grant
1929 Pierce-Arrow Model B Doctor's Coupe
Registration no. SV 4794
Chassis no. 2005449
Engine no. 123379

Footnotes

  • Based in Buffalo, New York State, the company founded by George N Pierce built birdcages, ice boxes and bicycles before introducing its first petrol-driven automobile in 1901. (The Pierce-Arrow name was first used in 1904). In 1908 the firm became the Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company and soon switched its attention exclusively to the production of luxury cars, pioneering many technological developments including servo-assisted braking and hydraulic tappets, while building some of the most prestigious motor cars ever to grace America's highways.

    Some idea of the rapidity of Pierce-Arrow's rise may be gauged from the fact that as early as 1909 The White House ordered two for state occasions. From then onwards Pierce-Arrow would be synonymous with the ultimate in motoring luxury, ranking alongside Cadillac, Packard and Rolls-Royce. Clinging to traditional styling and handicapped by a range of sixes in an increasingly multi-cylinder marketplace, Pierce-Arrow saw its sales decline throughout the 1920s. In 1928 an alliance was forged with Studebaker, which viewed Pierce-Arrow's acquisition as a means of gaining entry to the luxury car market. A new range of straight eights - already under development before Studebaker's arrival - was introduced and sales doubled in 1929.

    A V12 was added in November 1931 but both Pierce-Arrow and Studebaker were finding life tough in the post-Wall Street Crash years. When the latter filed for bankruptcy in 1933, Pierce-Arrow found itself independent once again. Despite the critical acclaim lavished on its futuristic 'Silver Arrow' show car – five of which were sold costing $10,000 each – the firm was severely handicapped by the lack of a lower-price range. Sales dwindled throughout the 1930s and the once great Pierce-Arrow folded in 1938.

    This Pierce-Arrow Model B Doctor's Coupe was purchased in the USA by Led Zeppelin's legendary larger-than-life manager, the late Peter Grant (1935-1995) while the band was on tour there in the 1960s. He had the car shipped to the United Kingdom with their tour equipment. The Pierce subsequently passed to the current owner, a close friend of Peter Grant, who has looked after and treasured it for the last 40-plus years, including during Peter Grant's ownership. Very well maintained, the car has been serviced and MoT'd annually by NP Veteran Engineering Ltd of Heathfield, East Sussex. Works carried out in recent years include a fitting a new 'honeycomb' radiator core and modified cooling fan, and overhauling the brakes. The intention has always been to ensure complete reliability, as every summer the vendor would transport the car to his house in the South of France where he used it regularly.

    There is no shortage of rare and exotic cars in the South of France but the Pierce nevertheless frequently stopped traffic as admiring drivers brought their lesser vehicles to a halt. One gendarme even stood to attention at the roadside and saluted it. Peter Grant's Pierce-Arrow is scheduled to appear in a forthcoming book on rock stars and their cars, and the vendor has several interesting anecdotes to impart to the fortunate new owner.

    Accompanying documentation consists of UK service history, V5C registration document and a quantity of old MoT certificates and tax discs. Motor cars with celebrity associations exert an enduring attraction, and this beautiful Pierce-Arrow represents an opportunity to purchase a well-sorted and eminently usable example from one of the USA's most prestigious manufacturers.
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