More InformationRARE ORIGINAL SURVIVOR, a 1920 Peerless Model 56 4dr 4 Passenger Roadster. (Titled VIN 264978). The car was originally purchased new by Peter Fank of Estherville, Iowa, in 1920. The list price was $2,990, approximately seven times the cost of a new Ford of the era.
Mr. Fank was born in Luxembourg, Germany, in 1873. In 1912, Mr. Fank’s parents, along with Peter and his sister Josephine moved to the United States. By 1918, Mr. Fank was farming in Spirit Lake, Iowa. Mr. Fank was 44 years old when he purchased this car. He drove it sparingly for 10 years, when the car was parked “on blocks” in a garage at the family home, in about 1930. The mileage of 21,597 is believed to be the actual mileage of the vehicle, based on its known history.
Mr. Fank died September 1, 1937 and the car remained “on blocks” in the garage at 402 South 10th Street in Estherville, Iowa, until the death of his sister Josephine in 1964. There was a newspaper article along with a photo when the car was “discovered” after her death.
William Harrah, owner of Harrah’s Club in Reno, Nevada, then purchased the car through one of his agents in 1964. Mr. Harrah was a true collector and historian of antique cars and had a huge museum complex, research library and restoration facility in Sparks, Nevada.
After Mr. Harrah’s death in 1978, Harrah’s Club was sold to Holiday Inn. All of the assets of Harrah’s Club (including the 1,400 cars in his automobile collection) were then owned by Holiday Inn. A relatively small percentage of the more significant cars were donated to what later became the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada. There were several auctions to sell the remainder of the cars and in the end, the auctions netted $100 million dollars.
In 1984, this 1920 Peerless was sold at auction to Glenn Weatherford of Burleson, Texas. In January, 1987 Mr. Weatherford sold the car to Grant Quam and delivered it to Ames, Iowa. The title had never been transferred out of the name of Harrah.
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