1932 Pierce-Arrow Model 51 LeBaron Sports Coupe

Today’s car is a 1932 Pierce-Arrow Model 51 LeBaron Sports Coupe owned by Ross and Beth Myers. I photographed this First Place award winning car in the Class C-2 CCCA – American Closed (Full Classics Only) category at the San Marino Motor Classic, that is held at Lacy Park, located in San Marino, CA. The car is finished in Brewster Green, with yellow wheels, and a black padded top with Landau irons. The interior is cream toned leather and Highly polished walnut interior. It is powered by a 150 hp, 7.3 liters, V12 L head engine, with a Stromberg UU-2 carburetor and mated to a 3-speed manual transmission with 4.42:1 rear axle. Slowing this beauty down are cable controlled mechanical drum brakes in all 4-corners. It has a solid front axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs and hydraulic shock absorbers. The rear suspension is a semi-floating rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and hydraulic shock absorbers.

They were produced from 1931-1938 in Buffalo, NY with a total of 2,692 being produced in 1932. There were thought to be 25 LeBaron bodies ordered in various configurations from 1931 – 1934. They were priced from $5,300-$7,300. This car is believed to the rare 1932 New York Auto Show show car. A one-off, fully custom body by LeBaron on the largest V-12 chassis. This spacious two-passenger Sport Coupe features a rumble seat to seat 4 passengers comfortably, Five production models were built, but they resembled a more typical Pierce-Arrow and are lacking many of the unique features shown on this New York show car.

Proving its capability, race car driver, Ab Jenkins drove a Pierce Twelve to numerous speed records at Bonneville in 1932, 1933, and 1934, often driving the record-breaking machine back to Buffalo, New York. In 1933 Jenkins drove 3000 miles in 25 1/2 hours, averaging 117 mph which broke 66 official AAA speed records. In 1934, on this run he set a new worlds speed record of 127 mph for 24 hours. The Pierce-Arrow V12 held many records after it ceased production in 1938. The basic V12 engine with modification was use into the late 1970s for use in the Seagrave fire trucks.

This is another rare beautifully restored original car that I saw at San Marino Motor Classic. What a great car to exhibit at Concours D’Elegance’s or take on classic vintage tours and when it is through with those circuits just take it on leisurely Sunday drives. Thank you for riding along. Frank

Photo courtesy Hyman Ltd
Photo courtesy Hyman Ltd