1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365

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Lot 614
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster
Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365

Sold for US$ 141,200 inc. premium
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster
Coachwork by Pierce-Arrow

Chassis no. 311365
Engine no. 311365
Few manufacturers maintain such an untarnished reputation for quality as Pierce-Arrow. Throughout its existence Pierce would go the extra mile producing the highest quality product. The feature that best illustrates this is the use of cast aluminum bodywork. Instead of traditional skin on wood construction, Pierce used large aluminum castings. These panels would be laboriously fitted together and riveted. The result was a surprisingly lightweight body that was exceptionally durable. The idea of making cast body-work is more amazing when you consider the vast number of body styles they produced and that almost no pieces were interchangeable.

Pierce's reputation was not just built on the quality of its products but also on their looks and performance. The bodies were noted for their consistently handsome if at times conservative styling, while performance and reliability was always excellent. The '66' in particular was unparalleled when it came to hill climbing. The car was so powerful you could start in nearly any gear. Steep hill climbs from a crawl could be taken in high. As one could imagine all this performance and quality came at a hefty price. Pierce-Arrows were incredibly expensive and at the very top of the market.

The basis of Pierce-Arrow's lineup in the post-1909 era was a series of three different size chassis all built to the same design pattern. Each model was a T-head, six-cylinder powered chassis with hp ratings of 36, 48, or 66. In the case of Pierce these are AMA HP figures not inflated actual ratings.

The basic design was produced with continual changes and innovations until 1920. By the end of 1917 the design was starting to seem a bit old-fashioned and Pierce responded with a redesigned engine. The smaller 38hp (originally 36hp) and the 48hp models received a new dual valve engine with detachable cylinder heads. These 24 valve motors generated a noticeable boost in power. The legendary 66hp was deemed obsolete and it was dropped from the line. The departure of the '66' marked the end of the largest displacement engine ever offered in a production car. Other changes introduced the following year were larger silver faced instruments, Delco dual-head distributors that replaced the magneto, the disappearance of cowl lights and the replacement of the square tube radiator by a honeycomb design.

The dual valve cars proved to be excellent performers and the smaller 38 for 1919, now called the Series 31, benefited the most from the new design. The smaller motor in the significantly lighter car made the new '31' a delight to drive. The motor is very responsive and mated to the fine four speed transmission; it is as good a touring car as one could imagine. This car with its rare and lightweight four passenger roadster is a winning combination. This body style is one of the more unusual types offered by Pierce and most agree looks most appropriate on the small chassis. The body's design is a sort of precursor to the sport phaeton of the classic era. The back of the body has a small bustle with enclosed storage and the close-coupled design makes it quite sporty.

This car is noted for its exceptional originality, and close inspection reveals that the car has received little restoration work. Though paint and some upholstery work has been done it remains in highly original condition. The car was acquired from noted Pierce-Arrow expert Rodney Flournoy after being part of his collection for many years. The car is accompanied by full documentation files which include old photos and extensive receipts for the work preformed over the years.

This is a wonderful opportunity to acquire one of the nicest driving Pierce-Arrow models with rare sporty coachwork. This is a highly original car with impeccable history and would be a fine addition to any collection.

Saleroom notices

  • The engine number should read 311270.
Contacts
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365
1919 Pierce-Arrow Series 31 38hp Four Passenger Roadster  Chassis no. 311365 Engine no. 311365
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