Stutz was founded as the Ideal Motor Car Company in Indianapolis IN in 1911. Ideal entered a car in the Indianapolis 500 that year and placed 11th, earning it the slogan, "the car that made good in a day. The next year, the founder, Harry C Stutz , renamed the company Stutz Motor Company and began selling high-performance roadsters like the famous Stutz Bearcat. The Bearcat featured a brawny 4-cylinder T-head engine with four valves per cylinder, one of the earliest multi valve engines.
Stutz was forced to raise money to fund his automobile production, eventually selling the company in 1919 after a falling out with the company's major stockholders, Allen Ryan, who then went bankrupt. In 1922, three Stutz investors, one of whom was Charles Schwab, gained control of the company. The new owners brought in Freerick Moskowics, formerly of Daimler Benz, Marmon, and Franklin, in 1923. Moskowics quickly refocused the company as a developer of safety cars, a recurring theme in the auto industry. In the case of Stutz, the car featured safety glass, a low center of gravity for better handling, and a hill-holding transmission called "Noback". One notable advance was the 1931 DOHC 32-valve in-line 8 (designed by Fred Duesenberg), called the "DV32" (DV for 'dual valve'). This was during the so-called "cylinders race" of the early 1930s, when makers of expensive cars were rushing to produce multi-cylinder engines. While Stutz did not have the resources to design and tool a new engine, the DV32 did allow them to their cars with a larger number than any of its competitors, who were advertising 12- and 16-cylinder engines in their own cars.
In 1927, a Stutz set a world record for speed, averaging 68 mph for 24 hours. The following year, a 4.9 litre Stutz in the hands of by Robert Bloch and Edouard Brisson finished second at the 24 Hours of LeMans to the 4.5 litre Bentley of Rubin and Barnato, despite losing top gear 90 minutes from the flag, the best result for an American car until 1966. That same year, development engineer and racing driver Frank Lockhart used a pair of supercharged 91ci DOHC engines in his Stutz Black Hawk Special streamliner Land Speed Record car, while Stutz set another speed record at Daytona, reaching 106.53 mph in the hands of Gil Anderson. In 1929, three Stutzes, with bodies designed by Gordon Buehrig, built by Weymann's U.S. subsidiary, and powered by a 155 HP 322ci superchargred straight 8 ran at Le Mans, piloted by Edouard Brisson, George Eyston, and co-drivers Phillippe de Rothschild and Guy Bouriat; de Rothschild and Bouriat placed fifth after the other two cars fell out with split fuel tanks.
Production ended in 1935 after 35,000 cars had been manufactured. The former Indianapolis factory is today known as the Stutz Business Center and is home to more than eighty artists, sculptors, photographers, designers, architects, and craftsmen.
The Blackhawk was not as powerful, nor as expensive, as contemporary Stutzes, which is most likely why it was marketed as a separate make. The year previously, there was a Stutz model called the Black Hawk, doubtlessly leading to confusion for more than one customer. The car was available with either an overhead cam six-cylinder or straight eight engine, with maximum output of 85 bhp and 95 bhp, respectively. A wide variety of open and closed body styles were available on the 127.5" wheelbase chassis. Custom coachwork was also available. Prices for non-custom Blackhawks ranged from $1995 to $2785. There was a great deal of promotion for the marque, and first year sales were decent at 1310, but second year sales dropped to only 280. The brand was discontinued by years end, another early victim of the Great Depression.
This largely original car has been in the long term ownership of a Stutz Collector for the last decade or so, having come from California judging from the badges on the dash. The car still retains much of its original features including possibly the paint. The interior has been redone in a naughahyde, in the correct pattern, however, and it is in really good condition. Since we acquired the car we had a valve job performed, as well as other minor tuning and adjusting. The car starts right up, runs smoothly, shifts crisply and stops as it should. All the guages work properly. The interior woodwork is in excellent condition. The doors shut like a bank vault, with no sag whatsoever, which is a testament to the fact that these bodies were in fact built by LeBaron.
As is the case with all these "down market" cars that the high end manufacturers produced, Stutz probably lost money on every one of these. The L6 motor is just as sophisicated at the Vertical 8, its just missing a couple of cylinders. They were all made by hand just like the "Senior" cars.
This is a rare opportunity to acquire a very rare (I think theres 4 or 5 of these) and very drivable Stutz you can drive and enjoy immediately.