Pierce-Arrow Model 66 1910

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Previously, I thought the most iconic Pierce – Arrow model was the Silver Arrow. Only five cars of this model were produced. Such a small series makes the Silver Arrow one of the most exotic cars in the world. And when you think of the fantastically beautiful bodywork and V12 engine, this Pierce-Arrow Model 66 1910 looks fantastic. Some may remember it from the game Mafia. But 23 years before the Silver Arrow, the American automaker released a car, which simply had no competitors.
We are talking about the Model 66 of 1910. Under the hood of this car was installed a larger volume engine than the Bugatti Type 41 Royale. But the French car was equipped with a 12.8-liter inline eight. This is the biggest internal combustion engine for a production car. And this fact is included into the Guinness Book of Records.
The very name of the car comes from its power. Yes, – 66 hp doesn’t seem huge power as for an engine of such volume. But there are two moments. In the first is the power of the earliest machines (in the course of modernization, in 3 years power has increased very substantially). And secondly, there is an opinion that the power indicator was underestimated. Although there is a third point – it is 1910 and at that time, even 66 horsepower was a huge power. For example the Cadillac Model 30 of 1909, after the modernization of the 10th year, had 33 horsepower. And the Cadillac was an expensive and innovative car, this model was the first to be equipped with an electric starter. On cheap cars like the Ford, the power was much less than in the Cadillac.
The car was produced in Buffalo, New York State. With this model Pierce – Arrow entered its, golden era. At the time, it seemed that only development was ahead, and the Great Depression was so far away that no one could imagine it.

The cost of the Pierce-Arrow Model 66 1910.

The price of a new Model 66 was $6,500 to $8,000! This was a time when the Ford Model T wasn’t even on the assembly line yet. And the stunning Packard Twin Six 1915 with the V12 engine (the first, production V12) sold for $4,500. It was the most expensive and most luxurious American car of its time.
From 1910 to 1918, 1,250 of these cars were built.

Which was a good indicator, considering the enormous cost of the car and the fact that there were fewer cars being made overall at the time than very little later. Interestingly, only 14 Model 66s have survived to this day. Almost all of them are in private collections. There’s one in Jay Leno’s wonderful garage. And there’s even a video on YouTube of Jay Leno driving a Pierce-Arrow Model 66 on public roads. I highly suggest watching this and other videos of this, outstanding collector. He has a lot of awesome cars in his garage.

Photo and exterior view.
The car was available in two wheelbase options, 133 and 140 inches. Eight body types were offered. Four were open-top; – roadster, two, six and seven-seat phaeton. And four were enclosed; the Brougham, Landaulette, Saburban and Landau.
Of course, the body here was mounted on a metal frame. The body frame itself was wood, and the cladding was originally metal, or wood. But in 1913, the body was clad with aluminum sheets, which were produced in the company’s own factory. In the same year, the car received electric headlights. In ’14, the headlights are one piece with the front fenders. These headlights give the Model 66 its unique appearance.

It surprised me a lot, but the cooling radiator here is made of silver. This solution is due to the better thermal conductivity of silver than aluminum, as well as the fact that silver does not oxidize. The emblem of the brand also serves as a stopper of the radiator of the cooling system.
The wheels have a huge diameter of 27d. The wheels are made in the form of a wooden rim, known as -artillery wheel. Interestingly, the spare wheels are mounted without rims. So how does one remove a punctured wheel from a disc and mount a spare tire?
The fuel tank is in the very back of the car, – right behind the bumper. And it holds 36 gallons of fuel, which is the equivalent of 134.28 litres. In what other car have you seen such a huge fuel tank?

Interior and equipment.
The windshield consists of two parts, where the upper part can be raised for better ventilation of the interior. For the same purpose, below the windshield there are special windows. The car is equipped with two sound signals with different tonality.

There are special limiters on the doors, which hold the door and do not let it open the tire. The restraints resemble the chain on the doors in the house.
Below we will talk about the technical part. But here I want to say that on the cars made in ’15, which are equipped with a fuel pump, there is a special lever on the dashboard, which pumps fuel to the carburetor. There is even a special instrument that shows the fuel pressure in the system. So the procedure of starting the huge engine starts with pumping the fuel, then the ignition key is turned, and then a special button is pressed. Yes – the engine in the 1910 Pierce-Arrow starts with a button). And some saw this as an innovation in the noughties.
The speedometer is not an arrow one (where the arrow goes around the dial), but a tape meter (where the tape rotates, like in the old meter).
The driving position is very high. Those lucky enough to be behind the wheel of this machine, probably noticed that they are sitting higher than most SUV drivers.

Engine and performance of Pierce-Arrow Model 66 1910.

Under the hood of the Model 66 was an in-line, six-cylinder engine. Under the hood of the Model 66 in-line six-cylinder engine was an in-line six-cylinder engine with an original bore of 5.25 inches and a stroke of 5.5d, the engine displacement was 714 cubic inches (11.7 liters).

Interestingly, this Pierce-Arrow does not have a single, common engine block. There were three cast-iron blocks, cast separately for each of the two cylinders. The oil pan is common and is made of aluminum. Declared, the original power – 66 hp. Though there is a widespread opinion that in fact the car was more powerful.

In the 13th year the engine was increased to 825 cubic inches (13.5 liters). This motor was the biggest in the world. The power of the power unit is now close to 100 horsepower. For comparison, the 15 year old Packard Twin Six had 85 horsepower.
The ’14 Pierce-Arrow had an electric starter. Remarkably, the much more affordable Cadillac Model 30 had an electric starter in 1909. The Pierce-Arrow engine also had two spark plugs per cylinder. Here, there are two distributor spark plugs. One spark plug gets its spark from the coil, and the second spark comes from the magneto. The cylinders are huge, this solution should have helped ignition.
In ’15 a fuel pump appeared. Prior to that, gasoline was pumped by gravity. That was the norm for inexpensive cars even in the 30s.

In ’18, the most powerful modification was introduced, which had four valves per cylinder. Power of this machine was 125 hp. It was released only 4, and only one has survived until today. It was shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Automobiles in Pebble Beach.
The brakes were on all wheels. In those years, most cars had only rear brakes. Of course, they were mechanical.
Very unusually, the Pierce-Arrow transmission was a four speed. And, even in the 30’s luxury, American cars were equipped with a three-speed gearbox. The suspension was a leaf spring.

This is an impressive car. It was extremely powerful for its time. Maybe the only thing more impressive than its power was its price. And when I watched Jay Leno’s video, I thought the Model 66 picked up quite quickly. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any torque figures, but I’m sure there’s plenty.

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