Pierce-Arrow History

The name Pierce-Arrow was once one of the most recognized and respected names in the automobile industry. For 38 years, the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company in Buffalo, New York, produced some of the finest automobiles made. At the time, Pierce-Arrows could be found anywhere the rich and powerful worked and played.

  • Past Pierce-Arrow Owners — For over 20 years, Pierce-Arrow supplied cars to the White House for the use of the President. They also sold cars to the royal families of Japan, Persia, Saudi Arabia, Greece, and Belgium. Scores of congressmen, ambassadors, governors, businessmen, and entertainers chose Pierce-Arrows for their transportation.
  • The Early Years  — Before becoming one of the foremost prestige automobiles, the George N. Pierce Company made a variety of household items, including ice boxes and birdcages. The early ventures into motorcars included the deDion powered Motorette.
  • The Glidden Tour Years  — By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, the Pierce automobile was well on its way to becoming the large, expensive automobile Pierce-Arrow was famous for. The success of the Pierce Great Arrow in the Glidden Tours made the Pierce automobile famous for quality and reliability.
  • The War Years While World War I was raging in Europe, the Pierce-Arrow line matured into a lineup of three models that would define the Pierce-Arrow line for a decade. The top of the line was the enormous model 66 with an 825 cubic inch engine. Pierce-Arrow was also involved in the war effort, sending hundreds of trucks from its commercial line to England and France.
  • The Roaring Twenties As the country entered a new age, so did Pierce-Arrow. Starting with the Series 32 and progressing to the Series 36, the Dual-Valve Six, with its embroidered upholstery and gold trimmed interiors, defined elegance for the top-of-the-line Pierce-Arrow through the twenties. Meanwhile, the Series 80 & 81 were targeted toward a larger market.
  • Record Breaking Years As the Great Depression started, Pierce-Arrow entered a new era in its own history. The new straight-eight models of 1929 set record sales for Pierce-Arrow. A few years later, Ab Jenkins would shatter existing speed records by driving a twelve-cylinder Pierce-Arrow on the salt flats of Utah.
  • The Final Years The depression years took a hard toll on the luxury car manufacturers of the country, Pierce-Arrow included. As it became increasingly difficult for Pierce-Arrow to survive as an independent maker of luxury automobiles, the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company was reorganized as the Pierce-Arrow Corporation and made a final effort at staying alive with an all new line for 1936. As the final Pierce-Arrow cars were being built, Pierce-Arrow also tried to enter the travel trailer market with the Pierce Travelodge.
  • Bicycles, Motorcycles & Trucks In addition to the passenger car line, the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company had other product lines. The commercial line built heavy-duty trucks for commercial and military uses for twenty years. The bicycle business, headed by Percy Pierce, produced some of the finest bicycles and motorcycles of the time.