Follow by Email

Friday, January 31, 2014


Like most of my blogs it usually starts with one car or idea and then as I research a bit to my surprise there is always much more to the story! A resurrected long gone marque comes back larger than life!
We need to establish the story from the beginning and looky here it all started exactly 100 years ago in 1914 with an unknown entry into the Indianapolis 500 race although they were around first in 1911 (as the Ideal Motorcar Company). The 1914 Stutz Bearcat put its bid in to impress the masses alongside all the other manufacturers, more on INDY later as it was really started as a venue to wring out and test new cars. The car that made good in a day referred to this upstart car placing 4th at INDY!
A recent visit to the Simeone Foundation which is a fine collection of race cars netted a few nice Stutz cars.

In 1919 Harry Stutz left his own namesake company and formed the Stutz Fire Engine Company which fizzled by 1924.  Fire Engine production purchased by A.C. Mecklenberg in Hartford City Indiana and continued until the 1940's. 
1920 Stutz Firetruck
Also in 1919 Harry branched out to form the H.C.S. Motorcar Company
 Harry C. Stutz = HCS
Even that factory is still in place.
A 1921 HCS Series II Touring.
I wonder if it can be connected to Kevin Bacon, early autos seem to have major intermingled routes, huh?
Does this car have a split personality?
HCS was history by 1927.
Stutz continued for a while without its namesake at the helm.
You wanted to sell cars, you needed to impress with performance and speed!
The Bearcat was quite the sporty little car!
In 1971 we got a TV show called the BEARCATS starring Rod Taylor and Dennis Cole, I remember the show and they were some sort of trouble shooters?
They were private eyes of some kind and the car, a Stutz was as big a star as they were in the series!
 The Ideal Company took on the founders name.
The Stutz Motor Company started by Harry Stutz was around from 1914 until  1935. In 1926 the racing legend made an 8 cylinder luxury car as a rather appealing lour to the rich and famous. Too much to focus on as this Indianapolis based company went through much change in its last 10 years including new owners which included some other familiar names in the industry.  Harry C. Stutz had passed away at the age of 53 in 1930, the year before he had formed an airplane company Stutz Bellanca. 
If you had a 1930 Stutz you were bling'n it big time!

A fantastic 1929 Stutz Victoria  by Hibbard and Darrin

This 1930 Stutz below is a custom one off built by a Brooklyn NY resident who worked for Mack in the days when it was in Brooklyn and Long Island City NY.

1935 another
                                                                     marque is gone.
35,000 cars were built and the factory is now the Stutz Business Center. Artists lofts and a restaurant called the Bearcat! Eli Lilly and Company occupied from 1940-1982 and after 10 years a savior emerged.
Best kept secret? The owner Turner Woodward had a vision for the old car factory and himself a car collector you know he displays some great cars in the complex with an automotive theme! 
Back to Virgil Exner and his Renwal Revival model cars.
1966, Exner envisioned what the long gone marques would look like if they were still around, we have quite a few more roads to travel about that later.
This was not dormant for long and in 1968 something special happened!
New York banker James O'Donnell raised funds incorporated and took off with the Virgil Exner's design studies and had Ghia of Italy produce a prototype using all GM drivetrain components. Now I just got upset because I missed the Elvis car museum in Memphis which houses the ELVIS owned actual pre-production 1969 prototype Stutz!
The check used to purchase the Pontiac O'Donnell used.
From this to this!
Stutz Motor Car of America existed from 1970-1995
1970-1979 Blackhawk based on Pontiac Grand Prix.

1980-1987 Blackhawk based on Bonneville.
1979-1982 Bearcat convertibles.
77- based on Blackhawk
79-based on Grand Prix
80-86 based on Bonneville and Delta 88's
87-92 based on Firebird! yikes! ?
Not sure how accurate this was ?
Early convertibles are very sketchy as its been reported only 1 77 D'Italia was in house built and even belonged to Evel Knievel , others that popped up appear to be conversions. 

Very few of these fiberglass bodied cars were built above, based on the Pontiac Firebird.

Stutz Duplex

Stutz IV - Porte

Stutz Victoria 

Stutz Diplomatica 

It is believed that about 600 or so cars were ever built total production!
Stutz Royale
Only 2 built

Stutz Defender,Bear and Gazelle all based on Chevrolet Suburbans

Pretty Crazy stuff YES its is still a Suburban with a trunk lid!

WOW I was shocked by the last ones myself!
It appears that The Stutz Motorcar Company of America is still here even today.
Vehicle production ceased in 1995, BUT!
Bearcat EVO Hybrid

Blackhawk Rouge SLS
Blackhawk Rouge ELH
2010 to 2013  all just an ambitious plan?. It looks like they are looking for investors, but will this ever became reality? 
At least a musical group made some fame!
I know they are crazy looking, but I like em!
Les Dunham another well known customizer and most famous for those crazy Superfly Pimp mobiles got his hands on at least 1 Stutz!
Again we find the self proclaimed King Of Kustomizers in the mix.

This Barris designed "TITAN" was based on a Ford Thunderbird.
It is referred to as the FAKE Stutz. 
This proposed Parade Phaeton was nothing more than a concept and never left the paper it was penciled on!
 INDY car revivals were penciled up as well based on the Exner '66.
Another FAKE Stutz based on a Chrysler Cordoba!

Another Fake Stutz looking a little like a Royal Limo.

Virgil M. Exner Jr. is a chip off the old block for sure as he has penciled this 2004 Stutz concept.
Just when I thought I was done!

In 1932 Stutz purchases Pak-Age-Car and is now in the delivery business. A 4 cylinder Hercules Engine was rear mounted and easily removed for service, I assume like a VW?
IN 1937 as Stutz declared Bankruptcy this vehicle was acquired by Diamond T and produced until 1941.
OK so it broke 18 years ago! 
Meet A.K. Miller who operated Millers Flying Service with an Autogiro and delivered mail.
To say this man was eccentric would be an understatement, moving from New Jersey to East Orange Vermont into a dilapidated farm house to hide I guess and from who? He never paid income tax ever! He also disassembled the Autogiro and stashed it with Gold,Silver,Stock Certificates and Coins everywhere! Ok confused yet? He died in 1993 and his wife died in 1996, they reported to have lived in virtual poverty. He would actually find used nails to repair the roof on the garages, yes you got it now! He drove VW Beetles that were almost falling apart and when they died he would park them and get another POS to drive.
Not making any connections with this blog yet, how could you?
In those makeshift garages on the farm were over 50 rare Stutz Motorcars and a cache of parts, even new engines. Although known to collectors, sometimes trading parts the town folks did not know what was lurking back behind the farm.The Sheriff discovered the cars when they searched the seized property that was being taken for back taxes!  "The Opening of King Stutz Tomb" was applied to the auction! There were a few other cars besides Stutz, even a Rolls Royce, he would drive them inside during  the darkness of the night and never worked on or drove them!

 Photos from Nicholas Whitman who had a chance under guard to photograph the collection, check out his site. 

Nice that at least one car sold at auction was restored!
1929 Stutz Supercharged Model M

Quick paint job and good to go!




1 comment:

  1. Had a matchbox of the stutz Blackhawk when little. Never would have imagined so much history on that car company. Good blog.