Arizona

16-17 January 2014

Previous Next

Lot 17

1915 Pierce-Arrow Model 48 Seven-Passenger Touring

  • Chassis no. 12472
  • Engine no. 12472

Sold for $198,000


Series Three. 48 bhp (NACC rating), 524 cu. in. T-head inline six-cylinder engine with aluminum crankcase, four-speed manual transmission, shaft drive, semi-elliptic leaf-spring front suspension with Westinghouse air-spring shock absorbers, three-quarter elliptic rear leaf-spring suspension, and two-wheel mechanical rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 142 in.

  • Restored by respected Pierce-Arrow expert Eric Rosenau
  • Formerly owned by Pat Craig and George Van Beek
  • A veteran of many HCCA tours
  • Correctly presented and well-equipped with desirable period accessories


The enduring reputation that Pierce-Arrow enjoys today owes no small credit to the systematic approach of its entry into the fledgling automobile business at the dawn of the 20th century. Investigations into horseless carriages progressed from steam to internal-combustion engines, with Pierce’s final choice being made clear in January 1901, when David Fergusson was hired to lead the company’s gasoline-powered design work.



The first cars to carry the Pierce-Arrow name included the company’s first six-cylinder engines, which were rated at 36, 48, and 60 horsepower. By 1910, only sixes were built, setting the precedent for all subsequent Pierce-Arrows until the eight-cylinder engine debuted for 1929. In 1913, Herbert Dawley, who oversaw Pierce-Arrow design since 1907, patented the signature Pierce-Arrow headlight design, which integrated the headlights with the front fenders.



The Pierce-Arrow sixes featured cylinders that were cast in pairs and supported by aluminum crankcases. Every component was of the finest quality, and the marque’s T-head engines were among the most powerful. Quality control was impeccable, with all engines being dynamometer-tested for performance before being completely disassembled, inspected, and tested yet again for smoothness. The mighty NACC-rated 48-horsepower engines actually produced 92 horsepower or more on the Pierce-Arrow dynamometers, delivering more true power than many of the company’s competitors.



Customers usually specified which colors, interior materials, and accessories they wanted, and Herbert Dawley frequently visited clients to work with them and translate their specific requests into physical reality. In short, with their almost obsessive quality, Pierce-Arrow’s sixes were arguably the finest American-designed automobiles of the 1910s and 1920s.



This 1915 Model 48 Seven-Passenger Touring is one of only four known examples to remain in existence. David and Fred Weber, of St. Louis, Missouri, acquired it in about 1975, and they commissioned a new cast aluminum body from renowned Pierce-Arrow guru Eric Rosenau. In 1993, the car was acquired from the Webers by another noted Pierce-Arrow enthusiast, Patrick Craig, who had the restoration completed, with upholstery work being done by Ken and Cindy Nemanic.



In 1996, Mr. Craig sold the car to George Van Beek, of Portland, Oregon. Mr. Van Beek and his wife drove the car a remarkable 27,000 miles in Horseless Carriage Club touring events throughout their 15 years of ownership. During that time, the Pierce-Arrow only suffered one mechanical failure, a broken ring gear that was replaced with factory high-speed gears, which is a true testament to the car’s high-quality restoration and the exacting quality of its original manufacturer.



The car remains in excellent condition, with a deep maroon finish, beltline and wheel accents, and a black folding top. Other desirable features include folding jump seats, dual side-mounted spare tires, a correct rear trunk rack with an original trunk, and very nice brightwork. Another interesting feature is a pair of Westinghouse air-spring front shock absorbers, which are complete with the manufacturer’s tags. This Model 48, which has been described by Mr. Craig as “breathtaking to drive,” remains correctly presented throughout, with the sole thoughtful exception being a switch from the correct 1913-vintage barrel-type carburetor to an improved Series Four carburetor of the type introduced for 1916.



As one of only four known examples remaining today, this 1913 Pierce-Arrow Model 48 Touring is immensely desirable on several levels, and it embodies the Pierce-Arrow marque at its finest. Pierce-Arrow automobiles of all production years remain highly regarded even today for their mechanical sophistication and drivability. This high-horsepower motor car was recently the recipient of a full service, and it a proven touring candidate. This Model 48 is perfect for any number of different driving events, and its rarity will certainly make it a welcome sight on the concours circuit.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more