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The Saturday Automobile Chronicle – Pierce 66 Luxury Landau – Before GPS – Marmon “Yellow Jacket”

1910 Pierce-Arrow Touring Landau

The “Motor” magazine in its March 1910 issue featured this $8,250, 66 h.p. Pierce-Arrow Touring Landau. An example of this sensational automobile was shown at the Madison Avenue Auto Show in New York and attracted quite a bit of attention. The purpose of the new model was for extended touring in comfort while at the same time allowing open air motoring with the rear section of the top folded down.

The roof rack and the “boot” at the rear of the body could accommodate five suitcases. Special storage compartments between the front and rear fenders featured an automatic step that folds down as either rear door is opened. The passenger compartment included a fold-down sink supplied with water by a pressurized tank that is located under the coachwork. Images from the “Motor” March 1910.

1910 Pierce-Arrow Traveling Landau

Before There Was GPS

Today’s GPS travel navigational devices came on the market about 100-years after some of the first mechanical units were produced. The Baldwin “Auto Guide” used translucent paper in the same way that film is wound in a camera. With a small battery and light bulb is was readable in the dark. Image from “The Automobile” March, 1910.

1910 Baldwin Automobile Guide

The Marmon “Yellow Jacket”

The Marmon “Wasp” racing car that Ray Harroun drove to victory in the first Indianapolis 500 is very a well-known machine. The Marmon “Yellow Jacket” that was also raced by Harroun earlier in 1910, was the first of its type and is virtually unknown today.

It was one of two different styles of racing cars Marmon ran in the 1910 season and it won the feature event at Churchhill Downs in Kentucky. It finished second in a race at the new Atlanta track. According to an article in the the “Milwaukee Journal” on Aug 25, 1910, titled: “Made Good Time” the competitive six-cylinder car had set the fastest time in practice so far for the Elgin Road Races. Harroun “Made a time-killing circuit on the eight and one-half mile track in 7:12 and 75-m.p.h.”. In 1911, he won the 500 at the same average lap time in the “Wasp”.

Can anyone direct us to better photographs of this racing car?

Marmon Yellow Jacket

The “Yellow Jacket” on the Indianapolis Track in 1910 – The “Automobile” March, 1910.

1910 Marmon Yellow Jacket at Indy

  •        “Milwaukee Journal” August 25, 1910.

Marmon Yellow Jacket 2

  • The “Yellow Jacket” being tested early in 1910. The “Automobile” March, 1910.

12 responses to “The Saturday Automobile Chronicle – Pierce 66 Luxury Landau – Before GPS – Marmon “Yellow Jacket”

  1. While my “inflation calculator ” only goes back to 1913, the Pierce-Arrow would be $197, 780 dollars today. Who was sportin’ that kind of cash back then?

  2. Regarding the Baldwin Auto Guide; maybe that is where Denis Jenkinson got the idea for his ‘roller map’ that he used to navigate Stirling Moss to their win in the 1955 Mille Miglia. An early use of pace notes.

  3. David, went searching to find out when Pierce Arrow headlamps moved to the fenders could n ‘t find them before 1912 and even then they seemed to be an option … So when you were spending that “200 thou” then, you could get whichever you wished. And not “to be flip” about it; I never did find a price… I know P-A was a very “lux” vehicle and did find comparable vehicles such as Locomobile and Wiinton that did quote prices “from'” $3500 to $4800… there were no specific figures in any ads .Those were considerable figures for the day as you could by 2 Fords for about a quarter of the price of one of the afore-mentioned marques.

    • I understand that the P-A headlamp arrangement was generally a no-cost option in their later years, at least. It’s a personal thing but I don’t like the fender-mounted style. Still, if you were paying big $$ for your P-A you probably wanted other folk to know exactly what you had.

  4. Looks mighty cold to me,.. Maybe the fotos were shot in Buffalo at the factory on a winter test run… in addition to the fold down sink w/ running water; how did they supply heat? Maybe among the luxury custom features were monogramed satin lined, down filled mink lap robes- at least 2 or 3. Poor chauffeur- even w/ the motoring outfits and gear motorists wore at that time- no matter how many layers… how could you survive?… I think after the new owner purchased it at the Madison Avenue Motor Show he and his wife, children put it on the train with their domestic staff ahead of the family’s private rail car and they all took off to Florida for the winter… and lived happily “never” after.

  5. The Pierce Arrow pictured was owned by George Birge, the president of the company. He enjoyed traveling and had this special car produced for him on a 66-QQ chassis. As mentioned, it was exhibited at Madison Square Garden. At least three were made. As for heat, I don’t think cars of this era had it. The driver’s situation was certainly less than ideal, but pretty normal. Dressed properly, I don’t see why a driver would not be warm. Dog sled drivers don’t have heat either!

    • The only heat source was preheated stones put in the passenger compartment. Once those cooled off, body heat was the only source.

  6. Removal of one of the front floorboards will allow ample
    hot air from the 10 gallon cooling system to provide ample
    heat to about 0- -10f at -30 it gets so cold the steering gear will
    allow only slower turns,,so thin all oils with kerosene,,
    A shifting camshaft provided compression relief for easy starting,
    It was a very civilized car to operate,
    I wonder if air starting was an option that year,,The town car at the
    Paine-Owls Head auction had the air start,and startd the engine
    after a 10 year period of rest,,held pressure that long,!!
    Makes me a believer,,Cheers,,Ben

    • According to Brooks T. Brierley in his book, “There is No Mistaking a Pierce-Arrow,” three of these “special touring landaus” were manufactured over a three year period. The first was owned by Mr. Birge, the second for a “Texas oil man” and the third for “C.W. Post, the cereal magnate.” Features that would appear on subsequent Pierce-Arrows were the unique cowl lamps, half-doors for the driver’s compartment and black nickel plating on the radiator shell and headlamps. According to the author, Marc Ralston, the fender-mounted headlamps first appeared on the Series Two Pierce-Arrows, May, 1913 through July, 1914. The patent had been issued to Herbert Dawley, who designed components for the company and assisted its customers in their selection of paint colors and upholstery options. I can imagine him as providing services to the Pierce-Arrow company similar to those that were provided by Harley Earl to General Motors.

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