1930 Pierce-Arrow Limousine Trivia
For previous year’s history – please see 1929 Pierce-Arrow trivia page.
Pierce-Arrow introduce the Silver-Arrow (so advanced the advertising reads
“Suddenly, it’s 1940”). It’s styling is futuristic, much like the concept cars of the
1950’s and would not look out of place today in concept design! Five were
produced and sold at a staggering US$10,000 each, the following year an attempt
was made to market a production version with less extra’s but was over-priced and
Pierce belatedly realises the “Great Depression” isn’t going away and brings out
a cheaper model 836A but is still expensive, can’t compete with Packards up
coming 120 series or Rolls-Royce’s 20/25hp range and although a fine automobile
and superior to both the other two makes does not sell well enough to help Pierce-
Arrows balance sheet.
despite valiant efforts and superb world-beating cars sales decline until
insolvency is declared in 1938, caused in part by crippling conditions placed upon
loans to the firm by the Banks which ended up actually restricting how many cars
the company could produce! Another case of Banks interfering in things they know
nothing about and bringing down a perfectly good manufacturing concern.
If the Banks had held off one more year WW2 would have undoubtedly saved
Pierce-Arrow as it did the re-financed Studebaker (who made trucks, tanks, and
aircraft) Willys, (the world-beating jeep, trucks and various armoured vehicles),
Packard, (staff cars, tank engines, and under licence, more Merlin engines than
Rolls-Royce themselves!) to name a few. Everyone could see WW2 on the horizon
in 1938 except apparently, the Banks!
When Pierce were closed down in 1938 their eight and V twelve cylinder engine manufacturing rights were purchased by Seagrave, fire-engine manufacturers.
The eights powered the huge turntable ladders used by some cities and the V12 ‘s
were used to power the fire-engines themselves right into the 1970’s it was that good a product.
The Pierce-Arrow factory and office complex in Buffalo New York still survives and is
Listed under the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic District due to it’s size. It is one of two surviving early fully realised examples of daylight factory industrial architecture (the other being the Packard building in Detroit).
This design set the trend in factory building right across the world and many examples are still in use today in the U.K. (A prime example was the Ford Motor Co factory in Dagenham until it was demolished a few years ago).
The office and factory complex still has the words “Pierce-Arrow Motor Co emblazoned
over the main door portal. The factory is now sub-divided into smaller affordable units for offices and mixed industrial applications and is still in use today.