Peerless Model 60 Runabout

Car producer : 



Model 60 Runabout





Established in Cleveland in 1900, Peerless Motors began producing De Dion-Bouton "machines" under license from the French Company. Engineer Louis P. Mooers designed the first Peerless models, as well as several proprietary engines. The first Peerless-branded vehicles appeared in 1902, with a front-mounted engine driving the rear wheels through a shaft. This later became the standard vehicle propulsion layout for automobiles. In 1904, Mooers penned the Green Dragon racecar and enlisted Barney Oldfield to drive it. The Green Dragon brought notability and success to Peerless, as Oldfield used it to set a number of early world automobile speed records.

In 1905, the 35-horsepower Green Dragon, competed in the world's first 24-hour endurance race in Columbus, Ohio. Piloted by Earnest Bollinger, Aurther Feasel, and briefly by Barney Oldfield, the Peerless led the race for the first hour before crashing into a fence, later finishing in 3rd place.

From 1905-1907, Peerless experienced a rapid expansion in size and production volume. As the Peerless namesake grew in notoriety, the company began producing increasingly higher-priced models with a focus on luxury. Notable customers included Cornelius Vanderbilt and John D. Rockefeller. In 1911, Peerless was one of the first car companies to introduce electric lighting on their vehicles, with electric starters added in 1913. In 1915, the firm introduced its first V8 engine, intending to compete with the Cadillac V8 introduced a year earlier. This model became Peerless' staple production vehicle until 1925, when engines produced by other manufacturers were first used in Peerless models.

In 1910 Pierce-Arrow made an audacious move by introducing a model with an engine displacement of over 800ci. This model would even better the massive Bugatti Royal by over 1 liter. This colossal but civilized brute named the 66hp could have been offered without a transmission for it had ability to conquer anything in high gear.

Not content with being bettered by Pierce, Peerless launched a behemoth of their own in 1912, the Model 60. At 826ci in six-cylinders it tied Pierce-Arrow for the honor of the biggest of the big.

The engine was a T-head design with cylinders cast in pairs. It had a cylinder bore and stroke of 6" x 8" and fed through two giant valves per cylinder. A central carburetor on long brass runners would feed the enormous engine. The engine just squeezes in under the top of the hood.

Far less known today than the famous Pierce 66 the Peerless 60 is equally refined and well-engineered. In 1912 at $6000 the model 60 it was actually priced slightly higher than Pierce-Arrows astronomical figure of $5750. This is likely a factor in why the Peerless are less common then the Pierce Arrows. The few 60s that survive today are cherished treasures.

To drive a motorcar with a factory displacement of over 13 liters is a something that needs to be experienced to comprehend. The chassis twisting torque that unloads when releasing the clutch and the slow pulsing exhaust note of an engine that makes nearly all its power at a few hundred RPMS is something unique to these vehicles.

During World War I, Peerless manufactured military vehicle chassis and trucks.

In 1929, the entire Peerless range was redesigned to compete with other vehicles produced by Stutz and Marmon. This move saw increased sales, and for 1930 another design refresh was undertaken. However, the Great Depression that began in 1930 spelled the end of luxury automobiles. Peerless stripped-down production and attempted to market one line of vehicles to wealthy Americans who were not affected by the depression. In 1930-31, Peerless commissioned Murphy Body Works to design what the company envisioned as its 1933 model. The task was assigned to a young Frank Hershey, who produced a remarkably clean, elegant vehicle. A single V16-engined 1931 Peerless was finished in June 1931, the last Peerless ever produced.

Peerless remained an idle business until the end of Prohibition in 1933 allowed the manufacture of alcohol. Peerless then revamped its factory and gained a license to brew beer under the Carling Black Label and Red Cap ale brands.

Hershey's single prototype remained in Peerless factory until the end of World War II and it is now owned by the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum.

The following Peerless vehicles - 1925 Series 67; 1926 — 1928 Series 69; 1929 Model Eight-125; 1930-1 Custom 8 and the 1932 Deluxe Custom 8. However, all Peerless vehicles are considered collectible.


Sold for: 440000 USD
Go to restoration
See other models

You may also like these cars

to top