Stutz:

Iconic Stutz Still Exists – Warren Liu Wants to Resurrect It

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There have been over 1,800 car brands in the United States auto industry since 1896.  Entrepreneurs and enthusiasts saw the American auto industry as a way to make a name for themselves and, hopefully, a lot of money.  This set off a wave of industrial Darwinism that continues today.  Car brands came and went with startling regularity.  Some brands launched and died quickly and are now just a faint memory if remembered at all.  It would take a real automotive history buff to remember the Adria, or the Carhartt, or the Hackett.  Some more recent brands are still fresh in our memory like Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Mercury, Plymouth, Hummer and Saturn.  Today, there are 40 car brands on sale in the United States.  Some names are so strong that they keep coming back in one form or another.

Logo Credit:  Stutz Motor Car of America

Logo Credit: Stutz Motor Car of America

Stutz Sold 35,000 Cars Until Falling to the Great Depression

A once-storied name in the American luxury auto industry still exists – Stutz.  Stutz would be 104 years old today if it were still producing cars. They were famous for the Stutz Bearcat and Stutz Blackhawk. Stutz made fast cars for racing and luxury cars for the wealthy. While they were known as “The King of Cars” in the late teens, the company could not make it through the Depression and stopped production at its Indianapolis, Indiana factory in 1935. While Stutz was in business it sold about 35,000 cars.

If you are a reader of Clive Cussler adventure novels, Isaac Bell one of Cussler’s protagonists frequently drives a Bearcat while working as an early 1900s private detective. Cussler, an avid car collector, usually features iconic cars from the past in his books.

Kings of Bling – Excalibur, Stutz, Clenet

In the 1960s and 1970s three of the most flamboyant personal cars were produced – the Excalibur from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the resurrected Stutz fabricated near Turin, Italy and the Clenet from Santa Barbara, California. These were highly styled and high priced personal cars sold to celebrities, royalty and the filthy rich. The word bling had not been coined the way we use it today, but these cars were over-the-top with bling.

Stutz Motor Car of America

Seeing the Excalibur have reasonable success in the late ‘60s (Excalibur sold 3,200 cars from 1965 through 1989), and wanting a strong American name from the past that still resonated among luxury car marques, Stutz Motor Car of America resurrected the name in 1968.

Photo Credit:  Stutz Motor Car of America

Photo Credit: Stutz Motor Car of America

Renowned Chrysler stylist Virgil Exner designed a new Blackhawk coupe in 1970 based on the Pontiac Grand Prix. In an age where styling excess was de rigeur, Exner’s flamboyant design attracted buyers like Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Lucille Ball. At one point, a Stutz model was the highest priced car in the world. From 1970 through 1995 over 600 cars were produced.

Another flamboyant car that should not be ignored was the Clenet. Clenet made about 430 cars from 1977 through 1982.


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2013 Concours of Elegance – London September 2013

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Concours of Elegance Poster

What better time to visit London than early September when the weather can be anything.  The Owners’ Day of the Concours of Elegance (yes, Concours OF Elegance – it is England, after all) was held on a blisteringly hot day.  Blazing sunshine.  Temperatures near 90-degrees.  The owners and their ladies or gents were hard put to keep a dry upper lip.  This was a three day event and the weather was different on each day.  Following the hot, hot, hot Thursday, it rained on Friday.  Not downpours exactly, but enough to keep the car polishers busy keeping the 60 or so vehicles as pristine as possible.  Saturday was the public day and the weather dried and was overcast.  The cooler weather made the public day better without the blazing heat of the Owners’ Day.

Luckily or unluckily, AutoPacific attended the Owners’ Day reserved for Owners, guests, Owners’ Day Ticket Holders and Media.  Luckily, because we could attend.  Unluckily, because it was so, soooooo HOT.

Having just been to the Pebble Beach Coucours de Elegance in August, the contrast was striking.  Pebble is so over the top that it overwhelms the senses.  The St. James Coucours of Elegance is much less flamboyant, much less overwhelming, but still provides an opportunity to view outstanding vehicles and have a chat with their owners.

It was a day of Royalty.  The owners were first feted at Buckingham Palace and then drove their cars down The Mall to Marlborough House located in St. James where the cars were displayed in the back garden.  The royal patron was HRH Prince Michael of Kent.  The vehicles on display varied widely from old Rolls-Royces to a modern Bentley GTZ Zagato custom coupe.  Here are a few examples:

Hard to get an angle on this American 1934 Duesenberg Model J Willoughby Sedan Limousine

Hard to get an angle on this American 1934 Duesenberg Model J Willoughby Sedan Limousine

1930 Stutz SV16 Weyman Monte Carlo - a famed American marque

1930 Stutz SV16 Weyman Monte Carlo – a famed American marque

1939 Bugatti Type 57C Voll & Ruhrbeck Roadster

1939 Bugatti Type 57C Voll & Ruhrbeck Roadster

1925 Hispano-Suiza Boulogne

1925 Hispano-Suiza Boulogne

1928 Bugatti Type 35B - unrestored beauty

1928 Bugatti Type 35B – unrestored beauty

Bentley GTZ Zagato Custom Coupe - a late entry

Bentley GTZ Zagato Custom Coupe – a late entry

Bentley GTZ Zagato - note the Roofline and Rear Styling

Bentley GTZ Zagato – note the Roofline and Rear Styling

1937 Horch 853 Voll & Ruhrbech Sport Cabriolet, 1936 Mercedes 500K Streamline Roadster in background

1937 Horch 853 Voll & Ruhrbech Sport Cabriolet, 1936 Mercedes 500K Streamline Roadster in background


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