Pierce-Arrow Society Annual Meet 

Pierce Arrow Society
46th Annual Meet

Lake Tahoe
June 24-29, 2003

Submitted by David E. Tyminski

Meet Logo
View from Hotel
View of Lake Tahoe from Cal-Neva Resort

One year ago, we could not appreciate what Al Abrahamson’s and Bob Jacobsen’s committee had in store for the 4 days of activities conducted around a spectacular location. Approaching Lake Tahoe from the east, our first view of the lake’s sparkling blue water surrounded by snowcapped mountains was an indication of the sights to come. The Cal-Neva Resort provided comfortable accommodations for the Pierce-Arrow Society 46 th Annual Meet.

Tuesday’s weather was a surprise: snow, hail, and cool temperatures greeted the early arrivals. During our visit to Yosemite, on route to Tahoe, we observed the results of the previous night’s weather that had been 28°F with 2 inches of snow. Many thought of climates where we reside, NOT the locale we were traveling to, in preparation of clothing attire. Pierces arrived in growing numbers, during the day.

The evening welcoming party provided the opportunity for hello’s and conversation, with topics of family and cars. PAS members arrived from all over the United States, Canada and Spain.

Al Abrahamson's 1920 Series 31 5-Pass. Touring
with Ben Scott's Stearman biplane

Wednesday, the weather improved with plentiful sunshine and warmer temperatures. The tour of the day took us to Reno and Carson City. We visited the National Auto Museum, a distillation of the former Harrah car collection. Some members listened to the informative commentary of a docent, as we observed unusual vehicle makes: a Julian with a centered steering wheel and seat with radial rear engine (made in Syracuse NY), or the only production Frontmobile, along with more familiar makes: Franklin, Rolls Royce and Cadillac. We relaxed inside or outside the museum and enjoyed the buffet lunch. The next stop was the Carson City airport to view original and reproduction aircraft. These planes included experimental seats with wings (gypsy), a WW II trainer, and a Stearman biplane, whose only owner family also had a nice original Series 33 touring. Our next stop was the Nevada State Railway Museum where we observed a sizeable collection of both original and restored steam locomotives and both freight and passenger cars that these huge engines pulled. If was fun to watch 4 people working together in unison to operate a human powered railcar that might have been used to travel to repair tracks. Some of us took a ride around the railroad complex on a restored self-propelled passenger car.

We began to get a taste of mountain driving crossing the 8000 foot summit between Reno and Lake Tahoe, which added another dimension to driving, for those of us unfamiliar with mountain roads. The roads hug the topography and sometimes were little more than ledges without guardrails.Some inclines taxed the performance and cooling systems of our Pierce Arrows; while the decent made the brake drums very hot.

1915 Suburban
Bill Lawton's 1915 48-B-3 Suburban
at Tallac

Thursday, we started off with a hayride breakfast at the Ponderosa Ranch, the site of the TV show Bonanza. The group was transported up the mountain and was entertained when the wagon was involved in a “stick-up” for the gold being carried. Our appointed sheriff was fortunate to have an alert driver who took care of the hombre. We could enjoy the view of Lake Tahoe from the hill top elevation. After dining outside, we had the option of walking down to town. The town contained the buildings, with period furnishings, used as the backdrop for the show scenes. There were also open sheds that now contain a collection of cars and trucks, including a late 20’s Lincoln tow truck, a Pierce Arrow and non-classics too, and lots of other memorabilia such as 2 Liberty engines unprotected outside. Then, we traveled on the east side of the lake to South Lake Tahoe for a lunch cruise to Emerald Bay on the Tahoe Queen. On the paddle wheeler we watched the water change color and learned that the average water temperature was 39°F with depths greater than 1600 feet. We observed the paths of the glaciers that carved out the lake. The open-air views were spectacular. Upon our return to shore, we traveled up the west side of the lake for an ice cream social at Tallac Camp, a collection of summer camp buildings, while the cars were on display. Some rode in the restored late teen’s Pierce-Arrow bus with solid rubber tires and geared for a slower time. We enjoyed the views along the west side of the lake as we returned to the hotel.

wooden boat
Wooden Boats at Gar Woods

Friday, I rode and drove Ralph McQuoid's 1933 1236 Club Brougham to the Donner Memorial. It recognizes those pioneers that pressed westward, although few survived a severe winter without adequate preparation. We returned to the Lake Tahoe to have a delicious lunch at Gar Woods and await a ride in any one of several classic mahogany boats. There were multi-cockpit open runabouts, a few closed cabin limousines (Gar Wood with covered cabin), cruisers, a runabout used as a Coney Island ferry with its Liberty V-12 engine, and a replica of a 20’s racer with a Rolls Royce V-12 engine cutting thru the water above 50 mph. These boats provided memories of the Hacker and Chris Craft boats I grew up with on Oneida Lake in central New York.

The day was capped with a flea market and silent auction, a judging meeting and more car conversation.

Saturday, the cars traveled to North Tahoe Regional Park for the judging concourse. Richard Bowley drove Pat Craig’s 1903 1-cylinder Stanhope the 4 miles in each direction to the park. The Stanhope was joined by 50 other Pierce Arrows, including the youngest: Lee Garoyan's 1937 1701 7 passenger sedan. We also enjoyed the Pierce bicycles, a Model C Travelodge trailer on display with utensils used during the late 30’s, Frank Wilson's 1934 production Silver Arrow and Ralph Schmidt's 1936 1602 rumble seat coupe on a long chassis.

1602 Coupe
Ralph Schmidt's 1936 1602 Coupe

PAS Head Judge Eric Rosenau distributed the judging duties for 3 car classes and within a few hours we accomplished judging while Heidi Sandvik tabulated and audited the results. We enjoyed the cars and setting and then returned to the hotel, mid-afternoon, for a technical session and relaxation by the pool, until the evening’s banquet and awards presentation.

All to quickly the meet was over, the touch, feel and smells of the assembled Pierce Arrows subsided, the hours and miles of touring turned to memories, as we dispersed and headed home. Goodbye and see you next year in Ashville, NC.

46th Annual Meet Award Winners 

Click on pictures for a larger view
Bernard J. Weis Trophy
Most Authentic Restoration
Bernard J. Weis Trophy
1915 48-B-3 Coupe
Pat Craig
R. Vale Faro Trophy
Most Original Pierce-Arrow
R. Vale Faro Trophy
1926 Series 44 4-Pass. Touring
Ben Scott
Henry E. & Pauline S. Becker Trophy
Longest Distance Pierce-Arrow Driven to Meet
Henry E. & Pauline S. Becker Trophy
1930 Model C Club Brougham
Dave Murray
Gig Harbor, Washington
Bicycle Class
1932 1 Man's Bicycle
Ernie & Clara Follis - California
Class 1 1901 - 1928
1924 1 Runabout
Larry & Leona Seidell - California
1925 2 Runabout
Luther & Alexia Gentry - California
1909 3 7-Pass. Touring
Vaughn & Lynette Vartanian - California
Class 2 1929 - 1932
1930 1 Sedan
Bill Edrich - Colorado
1932 2 Club Brougham
Bill & Pam Crumrine - Arizona
1929 3 7-Pass. Phaeton
Tom & Tamea Sutphen - Ohio
Class 3 1933 - 1938
1936 1 3-Window Coupe
Ralph Schmidt - Ohio
1933 2 Club Sedan
Donald Williams - California
1933 3 5-Pass. Sedan
Rich & Janet Lange - California