The John Staluppi Collection

1 December 2012

Lot 290

1929 Pierce-Arrow Custom Brougham

To be auctioned on Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sold for $176,000

  • Chassis no. A3476


A beautifully executed full custom

Model 125. 520 bhp, 502 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, four-speed automatic overdrive transmission, coil spring front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel power hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 133 in.

From the early days of the American automobile industry into the 1930s, prestige was the province of the “Three Ps”: Packard, Peerless, and particularly Pierce-Arrow.

Founded in 1865 in Buffalo, New York, Heintz, Pierce, and Munschauer made bird cages, and later other household wares, such as ice boxes and bathtubs. George N. Pierce bought out his partners in 1872 and renamed the company after himself. He added bicycles to the mix in 1896, and in 1900, he built a steam car. By that November, a gasoline-powered car was operating, and in 1901, the manufacturing of a DeDion-engined “Motorette” began.

Through exceptional performance in the early Glidden Tours and popularity with trend-setting wealthy families, Pierce-Arrow became identified with Packard and Peerless as the “Three Ps” of prestige motoring. It’s natural to wonder what a modern Pierce-Arrow would look like, had the make managed to survive the Great Depression. This custom brougham provides a substantial hint.

Crafted in John Staluppi’s own workshops, this custom Pierce-Arrow was updated from a 1929 Model 125 Brougham. Retaining the classic brougham body, the craftsmen replaced the original Pierce straight eight and three-speed manual transmission with a 502-cubic inch Chevrolet big block powerplant and four-speed overdrive Hydra-Matic transmission. The straight front axle and leaf springs were exchanged for an early-1990s Corvette independent setup with rack-and-pinion steering, while a Ford nine-inch live axle was employed at the rear, suspended by longitudinal leaf springs. Power disc brakes are used all around. Original-style custom wire wheels are mounted with Goodyear 225/65 RT radial tires, while original-size Firestone 6.50-19s occupy the dual fender wells. The brougham body retains its crank-out windshield and landau irons, the exquisite Pierce archer adorns the radiator cap, and of course, the signature headlamps beam proudly from their fender mountings, while Pilot Ray driving lamps point the way through the dark.

The interior is an inspired mix of original and modern components. The original Pierce steering wheel has been adapted to a tilt column, while original gauges remain in place on the dashboard. Turn signals have been subtly integrated into the exterior lighting, and a modern stereo mounts in an under-dash panel that also contains outlets for the air conditioning. Power steering completes the complement of driver and passenger comforts.

Mr. Staluppi opted for period-appropriate brown mohair for upholstery, rather than more modern materials, and this harmonizes nicely with the brown carpet on the floor. The rear compartment is equipped with window shades, a lap robe bar, and vanities, while the windshield cranks out, in the fashion of the original car.

The engine compartment gives further insight into the modern Pierce-Arrow idiom. The big block Chevy engine is exactingly detailed with chrome ancillaries and fittings. On the valve covers are large renditions of the familiar “Pierce” name pierced with an arrow, a logo mirrored on the door sills. Electric fans keep the huge engine cool in all climates.

This modern Pierce-Arrow is entirely in keeping with the marque’s image: powerful engine, smooth drivetrain, comfortable boulevard ride, excellent braking, and every conceivable creature comfort. If George Pierce were alive today, he would undoubtedly approve.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

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United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

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California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

Annette Abaci

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Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

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Ontario, Canada

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Don Rose

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Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, USA

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

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Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Political Science. ... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

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United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

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United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Peter Giddings

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California, United States

A life-long car enthusiast, Peter joined RM’s California office with over half a century of experience in the automotive and rac... read more

Peter Blond

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United Kingdom

Peter Blond joined the RM Europe team in 2013 after being immersed in the collector car industry for more than 60 years. An... read more

Rob Myers

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Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, USA

Shelby Myers literally grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to w... read more

Vinnie Mandzak

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California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more

Jeff Whiteside

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Ontario, Canada

Jeff Whiteside joined RM Auctions as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer following almost three decades in a diverse r... read more