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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Private Coach: 1931

Private Coach: 1931

San Francisco circa 1931. "Pierce-Arrow limousine." Latest entry in the Shorpy File of Funereally Funky Phaetons. 5x7 glass negative by Chris Helin. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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Born 1926 or Earlier

The hood, wheels, and fenders expose this vehicles origins as a 1921 to early 1926 Pierce-Arrow Series 33. The grouping of the hood louvers in the pattern shown was not used on any other model or during any other model years. By 1931 the hub caps covered the lug nuts as well as the axle ends, and the side mounted spare tires were placed much deeper into the front fenders.

Possibly this vehicle was converted to the body style shown here at the time of the photo. When produced without the headlights built into the fenders, most Pierce Arrows of the early 1920s came from the factory with drum style headlights as shown in the photo below of a 1923 Pierce-Arrow Model 33 limousine. A 1924 ambulance and a 1931 Pierce-Arrow funeral coach bodied by Eureka are also shown.

Barrett's your visionary tire man

Not only did the Akron based India Tire Company manufacture skinny whitewalls in the 1930s, in the late 1920s they offered red striped tires decades before it became a fad in the 1960s.

San Francisco City employees could get the same discount as the City Purchasing Agent did—this from the March 1932 edition of the "San Francisco Municipal Record"

Perchance an Ambulance

The 1924 Pierce Arrow Model 33 Ambulance depicted here

appears to be a predecessor.

Service car

If you look on the back of the car, you will see what looks like a door handle and no trunk rack. This leads me to think that this is some type of service car, along the lines of a private ambulance.

Are you sure?

A Pierce Arrow without the bigeye headlamps? I'm no expert but that's the first thing I noticed. Also those not period correct 1" whitewall tires.

[You're right about one thing. - Dave]

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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