1928 Pierce-Arrow Model 81Rumble Seat Convertible Coupe
Year of manufacture1928
- First time offered for public sale, following 49 years of single ownership
- A two-owner example; long term prior ownership from 1928-1972
- Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
- Previous participant in numerous Glidden Tours
Excellent engineering and legendary quality made Pierce-Arrow a leader in the luxury car market from the beginning, alongside Packard and Peerless. Nevertheless, Pierce-Arrow faced great pressure during the 1920s from other manufacturers, which were beginning to adopt more modern production techniques, thereby reducing their costs. Conversely, while Pierce-Arrow sales were quite good, its low production volume and more traditional, labor-intensive production techniques limited the company’s ability to compete in the rapidly evolving automotive market.
For 1928 the Pierce-Arrow Model 80 was renamed to the Model 81. It featured minor changes and was further distinguished by smaller headlamps for only one year. In addition, a new emblem, reputedly the Pierce family crest, was displayed on Pierce-Arrow radiators for 1928, until Mrs. Percy Pierce correctly pointed out that it was not the actual crest of the George N. Pierce family. Pierce-Arrow built nearly 5,000 of the technically advanced and very attractive Series 81 models in 1928, and they remain highly prized by collectors and enthusiasts alike.
Offered here publicly for the first time is a 1928 Pierce-Arrow Model 81 Rumble Seat Convertible Coupe. This Pierce-Arrow has had only two faithful owners since 1928. The first owner of this automobile purchased it brand new and drove the car until the second, and current owner, acquired it in 1972. When it was purchased in 1972, it was a well-maintained original car and was immediately used and driven by the consignor. Throughout the years, this Pierce-Arrow was faithfully used on many Glidden Tours where it was driven start to finish—this in addition to numerous other automotive shows and activities. The Pierce-Arrow underwent a comprehensive restoration that was started about 15 years ago. The consignor states the engine was rebuilt by the late Hugh Mearns of West Virginia. Various finishing touches of the restoration were carried out by Al Prueitt and Sons in 2019.
This Pierce is presented in two-tone grey exterior, complemented by a proper black canvas convertible top. Exterior features include a period-correct Bright Bumper, “Archer” radiator mascot, passenger-side golf club door, and rear-mounted spare. The car rides on painted wood-spoke wheels with red pinstriping. The interior is trimmed in supple red leather with rich woodwork accents throughout.
This exciting Pierce-Arrow presents the opportunity for someone to become just the third owner from new, and the potential to enjoy CCCA and Pierce-Arrow Society activities.To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/hf21.