May 16, 2012
"She took my breath away...I still don't know if I've recovered..."
Spoken like a true classic car collector.
It's said you don't collect classic cars with your head.
You collect them with your heart.
How else can you explain a 1934 Pierce-Arrow Salon Twelve that originally sold for $3,395, going for more than $2 million?
Maybe it's that classic cars were built to a standard, instead of the bottom line.
Heinz, Pierce and Munschauer were initially known for iceboxes and yes, birdcages.
In 1872, Pierce, having other ideas, eliminated Heinz and Munschaurer (legally) to form the George N. Pierce Company, which made bicycles and a two-cylinder car called the Arrow.
In 1909, being no fool, he changed the company name to the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Co.
The company later merged with Studebaker and introduced the 12-cylinder car, which broke 14 international records.
As the story goes, in the final hour of a 24-hour race, at 125 mph., the driver, Ab Jenkins, took out a razor and exited the car clean-shaven.
A group of businessmen from Buffalo purchased Pierce-Arrow and in a glorious last gasp, the newly streamlined 1934 Pierce-Arrow Salon Twelve was born.
Before you go out and spend a bushel of money, it might be wise to know what a classic car is (or should be).
The Classic Car Club of America has made it easy, publishing a list of the cars it has approved as "classics."
All Cadillacs from 1925-35 make the list.
So do Duesenbergs from 1921.
But the one-off 1937 Oldsmobile Salon Toure didn't make the cut.
No cars later than 1948 made the list.
The Milestone Car Society is less stringent, sanctioning cars made from 1945-72.
Then again, your own car may be a classic to you, which is fine too.