1917 Pierce-Arrow Model 66
In the 1930s, America was the world’s leading manufacturer of high-end, luxury automobiles. Over a dozen automakers offered upscale vehicles with large, powerful engines, custom-built bodies, and well-appointed, inviting interiors. New York-based Pierce-Arrow’s vehicles topped the luxury car list.
The Model 66, manufactured from 1910-1918, served as Pierce-Arrow’s flagship vehicle. For 1917, they offered Models 38, 48, and 66, based on the vehicle’s advertised engine horsepower rating. Considered one of the era’s great motorcars, the 66 featured a massive 825 CI inline six-cylinder engine, among the largest ever offered in a passenger vehicle. Though rated at 66 HP, many claim it was actually over 100, a phenomenal engineering accomplishment at that time. According to the Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1805-1942, Pierce offered the 66 in a staggering 15 different body styles, with most coachwork accomplished in-house. Equally staggering was the price, which ranged from about $6,400 to $8,000. For comparative purposes, a 1917 Ford Model T was approximately $400.
Our Model 66 Seven-Passenger Touring Car led a full life! Prior to its donation to the Museum by Pauline Becker of Florida, it was used extensively for regular transportation and later driven to Pierce-Arrow gatherings and other antique car events across the country. Mrs. Becker and her husband drove this car and a companion 1917 Model 38 to events, rather than trailering them, regardless of the location. Both Pierce-Arrows found a new home at the Museum, not long after our 2003 opening. In recognition of the Becker’s generous gift and their long-term commitment to the hobby, both are kept in running condition and frequently taken to car shows and offsite events.