20 August 2000
This Lot has no reserve
1931 PIERCE-ARROW MODEL 41 CLUB SEDAN
COACHWORK BY LEBARON
Chassis No. 3050344
Engine No. 325964
Dark Brewster green, black fenders with tan cloth interior and dark brown carpeting
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 drums. Left hand drive.
This strikingly handsome close-coupled sedan, called club sedan in Pierce-Arrow's lexicon, was one of a new line of five series custom bodies built by LeBaron for 1931 model year, all on Pierce's longest 147" wheelbase chassis with the large 132 hp eight cylinder engine. The trend in luxury cars of the early 1930s was the series custom model, a small number of 10 or 25 or 50 or so of a single body style individually trimmed. Pierce-Arrow wanted to revise its series custom offerings in 1931 replacing some formal body styles with owner-driven models. Ralph Roberts, LeBaron's salesman, recalled the ordering process some years ago. Pierce chose LeBaron because the company '...was equipped to do things in a series...,' something many coachbuilders could not do. Roberts met with Arthur Chanter, Pierce-Arrow's president, about the order. Reviewing the renderings, Chanter 'talked quickly' and wanted some of the designs modified to fit his own ideas of what the cars should look like. The end result was some of the most elegant and beautiful automobiles ever made. Pierce-Arrow ordered 120 of these LeBaron bodies, of which 25 were club sedans.
The LeBaron-bodied cars were formally introduced at the annual Chicago coachbuilders' show, the Automobile Salon, which opened in the Drake Hotel on November 8, 1930. Some documentation with the car indicates that this car was originally purchased by a Chicago notable rumored to have been connected to the underworld. When purchased there was a pistol holder located forward of the passenger's front door. During restoration it was faithfully copied and restored as it had been found. This Pierce was purchased for the Browning Collection in 1973 from respected Classic Car enthusiast and restorer Mr. Dennis McGowan. Mr. Browning then commissioned a thorough frame off restoration that returned the car to its stately original glory following which it was awarded a 100 point judging and Blue Ribbon at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
This exceptional club sedan car is in excellent condition. Its striking lines include a handsome foldout vee-shaped windshield and a fitted metal trunk at the rear that hints at the beginnings of streamlining. The rear compartment is lovely, fitted with foot rests, wonderfully-shaped seats and nice wood trim on the doors. The seats are covered in tan cloth with brown carpeting on the floor. The dash is in excellent condition; all gauges are correct. The car's chrome is exceptional; the engine is immaculate; the underbody is very clean; body panel fit is excellent. The car's one concession to more modern times are the directional lights that have been added by the ends of the rear bumper. This LeBaron-bodied club sedan is one of the rarest and most attractive series custom cars of the classic era and will make a worthy addition to the most demanding collector's holdings.
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This lot has no reserve.
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