The story of Stutz can be divided into three periods.
The first started in 1911, when the Indianapolis company’s founder, Harry C. Stutz, entered his new car in the first Indianapolis 500 race. The car’s excellent performance earned it the slogan, “The Car That Made Good in a Day”.
Over the next five years, the firm manufactured its famed Bearcat model along with other body styles, featuring a powerful T-head four-cylinder engine of 361 cubic inch capacity. Stutz continued to promote its cars on the racetrack and in 1915 was named America’s racing champion.
The second era started in 1916 when the company, needing more capital to expand, reorganized with the backing of Wall Street financiers. By 1919, they had taken control of the company that, lacking Harry Stutz’s leadership, gradually lost ground. New owners, headed by Bethelem Steel’s Charles M. Schwab, took over in 1922.
To revive the marque, they brought in an experienced automotive executive and engineer, Frederick E. Moskovics, inaugurating the third era. Moskovics sparked a radical redesign of the car in 1926 by featuring a powerful eight-cylinder engine with an overhead camshaft, mounted in a low-slung chassis that could accommodate stylish bodies. For a while, Stutz continued to be active in competition, winning the Stevens Trophy for reliability in 1927 and receiving the AAA designation as America’s fastest stock car. In 1931, Stutz reached the pinnacle of engineering with its dual camshaft 32-valve engine but, as a high priced, low production car, was unable to survive the Depression.
The last Stutz was manufactured in 1934 after a total of only 35,000 cars were produced in the company’s 25-year history. As a final tribute, all Stutzes manufactured during the Classic era (1925-1948) are officially recognized as Full ClassicsTM as defined by the Classic Car Club of America.
Information on this page has been excerpted from The Splendid Stutz, a 392 page hardbound history of Harry Clayton Stutz and the cars produced under his leadership. To find out more about this book CLICK HERE.