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1909 Pierce Arrow Model 48-SS

Seven-Passenger Touring

Among very early brass-era automobiles, this Pierce-Arrow Model 48-SS touring car stands at the pinnacle of rarity and desirability. As the only 1909 Model 48-SS know to exist, it represents the quality and style that the Pierce name had become known for by that time, and has been described as “the preferred transport of America’s social elite.” It is powered by a 453-cubic-inch T-head six-cylinder engine producing 48 horsepower. While described as having aluminum coachwork, it does not utilize the usual interpretation of the term, which is an aluminum skin laid over a wooden framework. Rather, Pierce-Arrow used 1/8th-inch-thick cast aluminum for the panels. This method of body fabrication and construction was unique to Pierce-Arrow. The specifics of the casting techniques used by the company have been lost over the years, but many attempts to precisely replicate them for restoration purposes by others have not proven entirely successful. This highly original auto was expertly restored in the 1980s by marque specialist Allen Schmidt of San Francisco, and has been driven more than 20,000 miles on antique-car tours since that time. In terms of this car’s significance, and its history when new and when viewed after well more than 100 years, it alone occupies a place no other car can claim.