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1912 Pierce Four

An innovative and luxurious motorcycle from the founder of one of America’s early, premier, car builders.



George Pierce began manufacturing during the Civil War – bathtubs, birdcages and ice boxes – forming George N. Pierce Company 1878. High quaility bicycles came next from the Buffalo, New York factory, soon followed by first a steam, then a gasoline powered automobile in 1901.

The car business took off with the Pierce Great Arrow of 1904, the value-priced at $4,000. Four years later the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company was launched, and the Pierce family ousted. The brand lasted until 1938 as one of America’s finest and prestigious, a favorite of The White House, and royalty from Europe to Hollywood.


Percy Pierce stayed behind at the Hanover Street factory and built single and 4-cylinder motorcycles from 1909 until bankruptcy in 1914, having failed to find a large enough market for these expensive, premier steeds.

The Pierce Four oozes top quality 0 each component’s design re-thought 0 and then hand-crafted in the factory  and not bought in from a catalog as much of the competition was doing, becoming merely assemblers rather than manufacturers. Note the enclosed shaft drive to the rear wheel; the integrated fuel and oil tanks with two filler caps; and 2-speed gearbox (uncommon in 1912.)

Pierce created only a few thousand motorcycles in the five plus years’ production and century later few have survived.

  •  43 cubic-inch, 4-cylinder, in-line (707.64 cc)
  • 2.25 in. bore x 2.25 in. storke (57.15 mm x 57.15 mm)
  • 4-horsepower
  • 2-speed transmission
  • Enclosed drive shaft
  • Pedal crank starting and coaster brake
  • Original price $325 to $450