Pierce “Great Arrow”

1905 Pierce 28/32 Five-Passenger Roi-des-Belges

Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | June 2, 2013

1905 Pierce 2832 Five-Passenger Roi-des-Belges Great Arrow

George N. Pierce’s automobile company began building internal-combustion automobiles in 1901. In 1903, a two-cylinder model was introduced and it was known as the Arrow. In 1904, Pierce shifted focus to larger, more luxurious cars – these were referred to as Great Arrows and, initially, they used four-cylinder engines. In 1908, Pierce became Pierce-Arrow.

This Great Arrow uses a 24/28hp straight-four of 3.8-liters. Six-cylinder engines would be used from 1907. This is an early Great Arrow with cast aluminium bodywork that was at least five years ahead of its time.

This particular car was discovered during World War II and restored – or “recommissioned” – under the ownership of Henry Austin Clark. In the 1990s, he sold it to another owner via the Imperial Palace Collection. This is the first time this car has ever come up for public sale. The car is in its 1950s restoration state. The seats are original, the paint 60+ years old. The engine was overhauled in the last 15 years.

The Great Arrow is the car that set Pierce on the path to becoming one of the most legendary luxury car manufacturers of all time. It is expected to sell for between $170,000-$220,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams in Connecticut.

Update: Sold $243,100.

A Pre-Underslung American

1906 American Tourist Roi des Belges Touring

Offered by RM Auctions | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 11-12, 2012

Photo – RM Auctions

This car, offered from the endless estate of John O’Quinn, was built by the American Motor Car Company of Indianapolis, Indiana. That company is more famously known as “American Underslung” – the name by which their vehicles were badged beginning in 1907, when they introduced their revolutionary (and awesome looking) “underslung” chassis (where the frame is low and between the axles).

But in 1906, their first year for production, the cars were more traditional in design. In fact, the chassis here was designed by non other than Harry C. Stutz – prior to him making it big on his own. The engine is a 35/40 horsepower 5.5-liter L-head straight-four with a three-speed manual transmission sending power through the rear wheels.

The name of the car is simply “American” with “Tourist” being the model designation. I don’t know if I need to explain that, but I’m used to car companies where the word “American” is directly followed by something like “Austin” or “Bantam” or “Underslung” and my mind wants to refer to this as an “American Tourist” – but I guess if that were true it would have to be wearing shorts and gym shoes and shouting loudly in slow, plain English (what a European once told me “gives you away as an American”).

In any case, this car was restored in the 1960s but has been preserved in a museum-quality state ever since. It is expected to sell for between $175,000-$250,000. For more information, click here. And for more from RM at Hershey, click here.

Update: Sold $110,000.