1936 Pierce-Arrow Town Car PrototypeSOLD
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Estimate: $175,000-$225,000 US

AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of $231,000

185bhp, 462 cu. in. side valve V12 engine, three-speed manual transmission with overdrive, front and rear semi- elliptic leaf springs with rear semi-floating rear axle and four-wheel vacuum assisted drum brakes. Wheelbase: 147"

Like all the great marques, Pierce Arrows were frequently sent to custom coachbuilders to receive special bodies. Because Brunn was also located in Buffalo, New York, they bodied more Pierce Arrows than any other coachbuilder; one of the most regal models was the Metropolitan Town Car of 1936. With a price tag of $5,795 when fitted with the V12, it was the most expensive Pierce Arrow offered that year by a significant margin.

In late 1936, Pierce Arrow sent a V12 Limousine with the divider window and a 147 inch wheelbase to the Durham Body Company of Rosemont, Pennsylvania to make a prototype Town Car. Although it is speculated that this prototype was slated to replace the Metropolitan Town Car in 1937, this never happened and the prototype Derham Town Car offered here is the only one of its kind.

Upon arrival at Durham, the first order of business was to cut out a section of roof from over the chauffeur ’ s head. Next, the windshield was raised three inches, and the dash was painted body color in place of the standard wood graining. To add some flare to the driver ’ s compartment, Durham machine-turned the instrument panel and glove box. Changes were made to the front door skins and door glass to accommodate the missing roof section and the rear quarter windows were deleted using sheet steel. At the rear of the car, the built in trunk was cut out and replaced with a trunk rack, which makes it the only Pierce Arrow built in 1936 originally fitted with one.

The first recorded owner of the Town Car was Charles Walker of Manchester, MA., who also owned a 1936 Pierce Arrow Limousine and a 1937 Coupe. Although Walker registered the Derham Town Car as a 1937, its engine number clearly shows that it is in fact a 1936 model, and the second last V12 built that year.

Following the Second World War, the Derham Town Car was purchased by John Grossman, who in turn sold it to Bob Wingate in the early fifties for $400. After only one year of ownership Wingate made his money back when he passed the Pierce to a young man named Bob Flynn of Lexington, MA. However, the payment process took quite some time as a deal was struck between the two that Flynn would pay Wingate in $10 weekly installments.

The history of the Pierce is unclear until it showed up in an ad in the New York Times for sale for $350. Loren Holland of Illion, New York purchased the car with little hesitation and soon after embarked on a restoration. Eventually he lost interest in the project and the car stayed in his possession until 1975 when it was acquired by Bob Sands of Buffalo. Picking up where Holland left off, in 1977 the restoration process was recommenced and took seven years to complete. Returned to its original grandeur, the Derham Town Car was campaigned at several local events and earned multiple accolades including an AACA Junior First at Hershey in 1986. In attendance at the event was its fourth owner Bob Flynn, who was elated to see his former car win. The following summer the Pierce Arrow earned its AACA First Senior award.

In 1990 the Derham Town Car was treated to some restoration work with the aim of preserving its show quality condition. In the 1990s the Town Car was campaigned again on the show circuit and won a CCCA National 1st Place among other awards. It was at one point part of the Ray Warshawsky collection and campaigned at the Meadow Brook Concours d ’ Elegance. Remaining highly presentable today, and being one of a kind, this prototype Town Car is truly in a class by itself.

Reference Number 11243

as of 7/14/2007

Car 1936 Pierce-Arrow Town Car Prototype
VIN 3150069 
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