#0011 - Pierce-Arrow Model 48 SS 7-Passenger Touring Car, Victor Du Pont, 1910
Significance: The Model 48 is approaching upper-echelon motoring, surpassed by the Great Arrow and (if we submit there is something to the suggestion of surpassing an already incredible car) the Model 51 and Model 66. As it developed, however, the Model 48 became a formidable car. We were fortunate to see a tremendous 1917 Model 48 Touring Car at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours, but the vast space it commanded made good photographs a foregone conclusion. Such a shame, as that was one of the most elegant antiques at the show, and exemplary of the refinement a few years can display.
In any case, the Model 48 was obviously good enough for contemporary moguls. This one was the property of the Du Pont Estate, of the famed Delaware Valley DuPont chemicals. Though the patriarch Victor Marie Du Pont was indeed deceased well before the dawn of the motoring age, this automobile was purchased by a later relative of the same name. Subsequently, the car maintains an attachment to the Winterthur Estate and Museum, an historic foundation close to the car's present home, and in this respect is very much like the Pierce-Arrow Model 51 Vestibule Limousine now owned by the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum. These two vehicles provide a sense of the motorcar's reach in a period context, and give a persuasive case for establishing marque prestige. But then in simpler terms an old car certainly adds color and life to an old mansion house.
And What Color. The tri-color livery on this Pierce-Arrow is smashing, easily the most fetching aspect of the car. But to focus more on the model itself, three years from now the Model 48 will become the first Pierce-Arrow to bear the famous skirt-mounted headlamps. Further on up the road, in 1918 the Model 48 motor will be reconfigured in a T-head to become the company's first dual-valve motor. On two accounts, this platform will serve as a vehicle for the marque's advancement; that's much more impressive than just looking pretty.
The Du Pont Car in the Twentieth Century: Purchased by the aforesaid Victor Du Pont in Wilmington, Delaware, the car has remained nearby for the duration of its life. The Model 48 has been well run, competing in commemorative Glidden Tours sponsored by the AACA, and was eventually restored to present condition around the year 2000. Most remarkable, the car has remained in the same area largely because it stayed in the same family for most of its life, more than 60 years, being passed down through generations subsequent to the family's purchase in 1950.
Automobile Quarterly's World of Cars, Automobile Quarterly, Inc., New York, New York, 1971, Pierce-Arrow: The American Aristocrat, page 211; adapted from the edition of the same name by Maurice D. Hendry
Radnor Hunt Concours d'Elegance: They featured Pierce-Arrow in the 2007 edition, from whence many of these veteran examples come, and latterly provided this example which fits perfectly into our developing time-line.Back to Index