Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by LeBaron
This faithfully presented Pierce-Arrow showcases the manufacturer’s renowned quality and luxurious character and has enjoyed a recent mechanical freshening, making this regal convertible sedan ideal for CCCA driving events and tours. This car is one of just 1,550 examples of the Model 54 produced on the 137" wheelbase in nine distinct coachwork variations. It is safe to assume that this convertible sedan, one of the more costly body styles, is one of considerably fewer examples extant.
Although, the early history of this Pierce-Arrow is unclear, according to a restoration tag affixed to the car, this Model 54 was restored during the 1970s for Wayne Schlotthauer, a health food pioneer and classic car enthusiast living in Paradise, California. Soon thereafter, it was acquired by Ron VanKregten, a private collector of automotive and aviation machinery, and more widely known as the founder of an automotive trade school.
In the preserve of Mr. VanKregten’s sizeable and diverse collection, the Pierce-Arrow was maintained in static display at his home in the Santa Cruz Mountains. After Mr. VanKregten’s passing, this car was offered at auction but required a degree of mechanical attention, having remained unused for many years. Acquired by the consignor in October 2009, this Model 54 was immediately sent to renowned restorer Stephen Babinsky of Automotive Restorations in Lebanon, New Jersey. Babinsky undertook a sympathetic mechanical restoration, partially rebuilding the quiet straight-eight engine, and attending to the remaining systems as needed to return the Pierce-Arrow to the road.
It should be noted that, after the catalogue photos were taken, it was determined that the convertible sedan was in need of a new top canvas. Accordingly, per the consignor’s instructions, Automotive Restorations had installed a new, correctly trimmed top to the car.
Close inspection reveals well-known LeBaron styling cues coupled with timeless Pierce-Arrow elements, including LeBaron’s raised body moldings, high beltline, and sporting low roof. The archer mascot and distinctive fender headlamps, signature features patented by the manufacturer’s chief stylist, are unmistakably Pierce-Arrow.
The interior is no less captivating, trimmed in black hides and brown carpets. Alongside the distinctive, engine-turned instrument binnacle are chrome, dash-mounted levers that engage transmission freewheeling and adjust the suspension setting. The spacious rear-passenger compartment features individual armrests and wood-grain smoking sets.
Offering glorious open-top touring in America’s finest pre-war style, this outstanding Pierce-Arrow is a well-prepared American classic worthy of considerable attention.