1931 PIERCE-ARROW MODEL 41 CONVERTIBLE SEDAN
COACHWORK BY LEBARON
Chassis No. 3050251
Engine No. 325820
Two-tone dark and light brown with dark brown beltlines, chassis, running gear and orange pinstriping with walnut brown leather interior and a tan canvas convertible top
Engine: L-head, straight eight, pressure feed engine lubrication, 385ci., 132bhp at 3,000rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Suspension: semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear; Brakes: four wheel mechanical drum. Left hand drive.
This unusually handsome convertible sedan represents one of the great classic era body styles fitted to one of the best chassis of the period. The year 1931 is quite significant as the second stage of Studebaker's revival of the Pierce-Arrow marque. Some of the traits of the Series Three cars of the Teens were adopted, most obviously, their grand wheelbases of 137, 142 and 147 inches. For the top-of-the-line Model 41 cars the 147" wheelbase was used to revive, quite literally, the splendor of the legendary 66. Accompanying these biggest models was a new 132hp straight eight motor, the most powerful eight cylinder American engine in its class. The thick single bar bumper, unique to Pierces with this engine, announced this model's exclusivity. The 1931 line included other visual cues. There was a deeper radiator shell and more brightwork on the cars, ostensibly to offset the industry trend to more restrained colors. A new, bare headed archer radiator cap ornament was designed for these cars (built, ironically, at General Motors). There was technical innovation in these 1931 cars, too. Freewheeling in the transmission was the new automotive engineering device for that year and it was included in all Pierce-Arrows.
The convertible sedan body style was one of a new line of five series custom bodies built by coachbuilder LeBaron which also included a convertible victoria, a coupe, a limousine and a club sedan. The series custom bodies were a highlight of the classic era; the customer received an individually-trimmed rare body style in a much shorter period of time than would be possible in a custom body. The coachbuilder made a small group of the same design, finishing it as far as the primer and protective coat or 'in the white'. The customer came into the Pierce-Arrow showroom, not the coachbuilder's office, to place the order. Pierce-Arrow then guided the finishing of the car body and its chassis.
Purchased by Mr. Browning in 1972 from San Francisco resident Mr. James Weston, this fine example was then submitted to a thorough and correct restoration. The Pierce's attractive light and dark brown color combination with orange pinstriping were popular hues of the classic period. Details in the body design, such as the large exposed chromed door hinges, were a coachbuilder hallmark of the time. The windshield washers are a nice touch as are the contoured sidemount mirrors. The shapely metal trunk was designed just for this model. The interior also reflects a coachbuilder's fine touch with adjustable front seats and footrests in the lovely rear compartment. The car is fitted with the correct bareheaded archer radiator cap as well as dual side spares with canvas covers, Tiltray headlamps, dual running lights, dual horns and an Arrolite tail lamp.
Pierce-Arrows were built to be the center of attention. This coachbuilder's elegant design, using the longest wheelbase Pierce-Arrow chassis, sustains that lustre to this day. Such a prized automobile combines practicality and peerless aesthetics. It allows the owner who tours the protection of an enclosed car with the enviable sport appeal of an open model. This impressive convertible sedan would be most appropriate at Pierce-Arrow Society, CCCA, AACA or VMCCA events.