1909 Pierce Arrow

Mr. Williamson and his 1909 Pierce Arrow
1909 40hp Pierce Arrow -chassis 4644 (photo credit: RM Auctions)
1909 was a transitional year for Pierce Arrow. Already a well regarded brand, the company had just changed its name to the Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company (from the George N. Pierce Company) in 1908. Pierce had built it's reputation on 4 cylinder cars, however by 1909 they decided that their future lay with 6 cylinder cars. It was a unique model year as their older 4 cylinder cars and the new line of 6 cylinder cars were both offered. After 1909, Pierce would only offer a 6 cylinder (until they brought out a straight 8 in 1929). The car pictured on the postcard is said to a 1909 Pierce Arrow 40hp series PP (4 cylinder) seven passenger touring (noted on the back of the postcard - however it looks to me like a 48hp series SS). Further, it is stated that the owner (most likely the proud gentlemen standing in front of the car) is Robert W. Williamson of 240 Highland Street in West Newton, MA. In turns out Mr. Williamson was active in his community, serving on the Board of Aldermen for the town of Newton, MA from 1908 to 1912 (3rd Ward). Additionally he was a man of means, as the cost of Pierce was over $4000 and his 9,000 sq ft home (built in 1899) was substantial.

Clay Green's wonderful 1909 Pierce Arrow (photo credit: Hemmings Blog)
Of the 100, 1909 40hp series PP Pierce Arrows built in 1909, to my knowledge, there are only two surviving. The first is the ex-Burton Upjohn car (chassis 4644), apparently found by Dick Teague (best remembered as the chief designer for AMC in the late 1970s) the car has changed hands a number of times. After a recent restoration, the car was offered by RM Auctions at their 2009 Monterey sale and again in Scottsdale - it was a no-sale at both events (I believe it was bid to $400k in Scottsdale). The second car is owned by Clay Green (I believe this car is chassis 4698; third from last car built). Clay is a great guy and very active in the touring community. His Pierce is well cared for and driven often - as they should be.

UPDATE: I saw Clay and his Pierce at Hershey this year and the chassis number for Clay's car is actually 4699.


  1. Steve,
    Shoot me an email:
    "colin" at "cps-co.com"
    My family owns the ex-Upjohn car now.
    Great site.

  2. Colin

    Thanks for your comments and congratulations - great car.