Pierce-Arrow Makes a Comeback
This 1929 Pierce-Arrow Model 133 Limousine, so named for its 133-inch wheelbase, helped its manufacturer hit a financial bullseye. Things had not been looking good for the Buffalo, New York-based Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company. A reversal of fortune was needed, and it arrived in the form of a business alliance with Studebaker Corporation.
The “merger” was more of a Studebaker acquisition, but no matter: Pierce-Arrow reaped big benefits. Due to Studebaker’s financial backing, they now had the ability to produce two new model ranges for 1929: The Model 133 and the Series 143. They also gained a new dealer network, namely Studebaker’s dealerships.
Not in New York
Most of the Pierce-Arrows included frog-eye-like headlamps protruding from the fenders. Even though Pierce-Arrow was based in Buffalo, NY such vehicular illumination was prohibited by New York state law as they deemed them confusing to other motorists at night so every New York-delivered vehicle incorporated freestanding headlamps.
The “frog” lights were the creation of Pierce-Arrow designer Herbert Dawley. Herbert received a patent for his innovation of incorporating headlights directly into the fenders improving their efficiency. Herbert was also a pioneer of stop-motion model animation for silent motion pictures, his first movie, “The Ghost of Slumber Mountain,” was a great hit and huge financial success.
The Great Eight
Model 133 and Series 143 vehicles had the all-new 366-cubic-inch straight-eight engine. Rival automakers had unveiled their eight-cylinders years earlier; however, Pierce-Arrow’s offered higher performance and more power than any other American eight-cylinder with the exception of the mighty Duesenberg.
Pierce-Arrow’s new engine weighed around 100 pounds less than the big T-head six-cylinder that it replaced, and it provided 25 percent more power from a 12 percent smaller displacement. It was less costly too, with prices starting at $2,775.
1929 Pierce-Arrow Model 133 Specs
- 366-Cubic-Inch L-Head Inline Eight-Cylinder Engine
- 125 BHP
- 133-Inch Wheelbase
- Three-Speed Manual Transmission
- Solid Front Axle And Live Rear Axle with Semi-Elliptic Leaf Springs
- Four-Wheel Mechanical Brakes
- 4,100-Pound Shipping Weight