Monday, April 22, 2013

Peerless - "All That the Name Implies"

by Nancy DeWitt and Willy Vinton
© Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum

The magnificent Peerless automobile was one of the "Three Ps" of early motoring royalty, alongside Pierce-Arrow and Packard. Originally a manufacturer of clothes wringers, Peerless became one of the most greatly respected luxury car makers of the early 20th Century. The marque’s grandiose slogan, “Peerless—All That The Name Implies,” was appropriate for such a high-quality and stylish automobile. Pictured here is our 1912 Peerless Model 36-K 7-passenger touring car.

Photo by Ronn Murray Photography
Peerless automobiles were produced from 1900-1931. In 1912 they offered five models, each of which could be customized to suit an individual buyer’s tastes. Wealthy patrons paid $5,000 for a Model 36 Touring, which would be the equivalent of over $117,000 today. A peak inside shows just how luxurious these cars were, right down to the brass foot rest.

Our Peerless is powered by a 48 HP, 577.5-cubic-inch T-head six with its inline cylinders cast in pairs.

We have spent a lot of time working to get the Peerless running properly, as well as finishing all the little things that were never completed during its restoration. It should be ready to make an appearance on the streets as soon as the snow pack is gone from the parking lots and the puddles have dried. We have had it out a couple times in the snow, but it doesn't handle well on icy surfaces!

This Peerless once belonged to legendary collector Barney Pollard, and came to us by way of Texas. It's a massive car that rides on a 137” inch wheelbase and stands over seven feet tall. At left, our historic fashion consultant Abigail shows just how big and imposing this car is.

Of the 450 Model 36s produced, only a handful are known to still exist, likely because their cast-aluminum bodies commanded high prices during wartime scrap drives. We are very fortunate to have this one in our museum!

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