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1245 Convertible Coupe 139
To publicize the new twelve, Pierce-Arrow arranged for the race driver, Ab Jenkins, to drive a Pierce-Arrow on the Bonneville Salt Flats. An unofficial, 24-hour run was done in 1932, with an average speed of 112.91 miles per hour. In 1933, Pierce-Arrow repeated the run, this time with AAA observing and conducting the run. This time, Jenkins drove 3000 miles in 25 1/2 hours, averaging 117 mph. This trial broke 66 official AAA speed records. In 1934, another run set a new worlds speed record of 127 mph for 24 hours. The virtues of the Pierce-Arrow twelve continued long after Pierce-Arrow ceased production. The basic engine, with some modifications, was made well into the 1970's for use in Seagrave fire trucks.
The mechanical virtues of the Pierce-Arrow in the early thirties would be enough to secure Pierce-Arrow a page in automotive history. However, just as impressive as the eight and twelve cylinder engines was the Pierce Silver Arrow. Original built for the 1933 New York Automobile Show, the cars were also a hit at the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago. The cars features streamlined styling that included an all-steel top, and side mounted spare tires concealed in compartments in the front fenders.
In 1929, Pierce-Arrow began producing cars with greater styling flare that challenged the best. The 1933 standard models continued that tradition, while also becoming more streamlined. 1933 would also become known as the last year of the “classic” look at Pierce-Arrow. The characteristic Pierce-Arrow headlamps featured a curve inspired by the flowing lines of the front fenders. The new convex headlamp shape harkened back to the original shape first seen in 1913. The radiator was more dramatically sloped and vee-shaped. Horsepower was increased in 1933, up from 140 thanks to a larger fuel manifold and the fitting of a new dual downdraft carburetor and a higher 6:1 compression ratio.
The introduction of successful hydraulic tappets was an industry first. A failure in the past, Carl Voorhies of Pierce-Arrow developed and patented the self-adjusting hydraulic tappets in 1932. The Stuart-Warner power, four-wheel mechanical brakes were another innovation. This was a system similar to that used by Rolls-Royce and other European automobiles, but it was a first on an American car.
Other 1933 standard features included tinted safety glass, cross-beam headlights, automatic choke, synchromesh transmission, freewheeling, an adjustable steering column and 17-inch wheels.
There were two V12s – a 398 cubic inch unit for the 137-inch wheelbase cars and a 429 for the larger models. The smaller one performed no better than the eight and was soon dropped. For 1933, a 462 cubic inch, 175 brake horsepower powerplant was unveiled, the largest the marque would ever see.
For 1934, Pierce-Arrow brought out a new line of automobiles. The 1934 models had more rounded bodies with less chrome. The triple tail light that had been used since the mid-1920's was replaced by tail lights formed into the rear fenders, similar to the trademark Pierce-Arrow headlights. Ten body styles were available on the eight-cylinder model 840A. The models 1240A and 1248A used a twelve-cylinder engine. Nine factory body styles plus custom Brunn bodies were available on the twelve-cylinder chassis.
In late 1934, the model 836A was added to the line. The 836A was a lower priced Pierce-Arrow aimed at capturing a larger market than the bigger, more expensive cars. The 836A was targeted at a larger audience. Priced from $2195 to $2395, the 836A was available in a two-door Club Brougham or a four-door Sedan. The 836A was powered by a 366 CID straight-eight engine mounted in a 136 inch wheelbase. It also used a different grill design than the other 1934 cars. It did not have the Pierce-Arrow archer on the radiator shell
Pierce-Arrow brought out their last all-new model in 1936. The bodies were redesigned, with still more rounded styling. The 1936-38 cars have a distinctive arrangement of four "headlights". An overdrive transmission and vacuum-boosted brakes were standard equipment. The 1936 Pierce-Arrows were among the finest cars the company had produced. The 1937 and 1938 cars were minor modifications of the 1936 design.
In late 1936, Pierce-Arrow introduced the Travelodge trailer. Offered in three models, the Travelodge trailers had an aluminum skin over a steel frame. Hydraulic brakes were standard. Inside, the trailers offered the convenience and luxury one would expect from Pierce-Arrow. The birch and gum wooden interior had a dining area, ice box, gas cook stove, wood heating stove, water tank and a sleeping arrangement. About 450 of the Travelodge trailers were produced.
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