The name Pierce-Arrow was once one of the most recognized and respected names in the automobile industry. For 38 years, the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company in Buffalo, New York, produced some of the finest automobiles made. For over 20 years, Pierce-Arrow supplied cars to the White House for the use of the US-President. They also sold cars to the royal families of Japan, Persia, Saudi Arabia, Greece, and Belgium. David Ferguson, a Scotsman, started his career as a technical engineer in 1897 and became head of engineering at Pierce in 1901. His brilliant competence in maths allowed him to construct motors in a high quality, that was never known before.
This Pierce Arrow 38hp once was the car of US-President Wilson. It was presented in July 1912. One year later, Herbert M. Dawley, a brilliant young designer created the integrated headlights - called " fender-lights" and embossed them to a trademark of Pierce.
This massive 7 litre model with a 6 cylinder motor and the "Vestibule Broughtham" - bodywork has exclusively been produced for the "White House". The road holding is supported by vertical terminated pneumatic shock-absorber, which can be continuously filled up with air from a compressor located in the vehicle interior. Another progressive characteristic at the time when this model was built is the aluminium-steel carriage. In this way the traditional problems of bodywork where solved and made a stylish wonderful car design possible. The Pierce Arrow is equipped with wind repellent windows and parts, to which Dawley mentioned "Nothing more but a luxury peace of architecture." The Pierce-Arrow is the first car in which’s construction wind streams were regarded.
A Pierce Arrow guaranteed, that the date of manufacturing had nothing to do with its comfort and technical performance. The high quality lasts. With the serial number, you can define the year of assembly, because it more or less corresponds with it. The company said: "The purchase price qualifies the art and duration of the service." The Pierce Arrow 38hp shown, is one out of the fourth production run (years 1916 to 1918), a period of immense success for pierce arrow. Beside the fact, that a Pierce-Arrow was one of the most expensive cars, one has to mention that the highest standards where used in all four production runs and only qualified experts worked on it. Each single component was checked after every step of production. For example each motor was tested in a diameter-room more than 20 times, before it was fit into the frame of Krupp steel.
Like most of the cars of today the Pierce-Arrow has a right hand gearing. In deed Pierce-Arrow never built a left hand navigated car, because of Ferguson’s opinion, that there is no benefit for the driver.
The Pierce-Arrow you can see in the film, is in excellent condition, after a sensitive restoration in England primarily preserving the unique decor inside and outside in colors like royal- and sea-blue with black wings. Pierce-Arrow was very proud about it’s cars saying:
"A man who owns a Pierce-Arrow, doesn’t envy anybody."