1979 Stutz Bearcat news, pictures, specifications, and information
The Bearcat began in the late 1960s by the revived Stutz Motor Company. The company had been resurrected by a New York banker named James O'Donnell. The Bearcat was designed by the legendary Virgil Exner and based on the 'Duesenberg Revival Concept car. A production version was not ready until the late 1970s. It used the GM A platform which it shared with the Blackhawk. Production was low, with around 13 examples produced.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2009
Coachwork: Ghia
Chassis Num: 2N69R9X103216
Sold for $37,000 at 2014 Mecum.
The newly revived Stutz Motorcars were one of the world's most expensive automobiles of their era. They were hand crafted and built in Torino, Italy on an American chassis and originally sold for $74,765. All of the accessories are 24 karat gold plated and the trunk is fur lined. In total, about 700 examples of the Stutz were built and of those, less than 50 were 4 door sedans.

This example has been in storage for over 25 years and has been driven less than 9,000 miles since new.

The first Stutz was purchased by Elvis Presley, who later bought three more. The Stutz vehicles were popularity with celebrities and wealthy individuals. Frank Sinatra, Lucile Ball, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Johnny Cash, Kenny Rodgers, Larry Holmes, Evil Knievel, Willie Mays, Mohamed Ali, and the King of Saudi Arabia all owned Stutz motor cars.

Omar Bongo, the President of Gabon, special ordered this car for his son, Ali-Ben-Bongo, as a gift for his 20th birthday. At the time, Ali Ben Bongo was attending Law school in the United States. President Omar Bongo, one of the wealthiest men on the plant, had at least three more Stutzs in Gabon including a limousine. After Law school, Ali-Ben-Bongo returned to Gabon leaving his Stutz behind. He entered politics and at the age of 29he became Minister of affairs. In 1991 he was made Deputy of the National Assembly and in 1999 was appointed Minister of Defense. On June 8th of 2009, President Omar Bongo died and shortly after Ali-Ben-Bongo was elected President of Gabon.

This Stutz has a 350 cubic-inch V8 engine offering 160 horsepower. There is a 3-speed automatic transmission, rear seats embroidered with the Great Seal of Gabon, and 24k gold plated accessories.

By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2014
The Bearcat was quite successful for more than twenty years, but unfortunately it was put out of business by the Great Depression of the 1930's along with the Duesenberg, Marmon and Pierce Arrow. It may be its quick and somewhat unexpected disappearance that added a bit to its romantic history.

It was nearly 30 years that the Stutz Company had remained dormant when Virgil Exner went to the O'Donnel Organization in 1968. Exner had been a veteran designer who went to Wall Street to petition for financial and management aid in manufacturing a ‘neo-classic' vehicle by using American engineering merged with the stellar artistry known from Italian coachbuilders. Exner originally wanted financing to create a new Duesenberg and he was part of a group that included Fred Duesenberg, the nephew of the original carmaker. Together they had an eye-catching prototype but were waiting merely on funding before production could begin. Unfortunately for them, the project was not well thought out and was immersed in serious debt. The loan was not approved at this time.

Several months later a financer contacted Exner and agreed to explore the manufacture of a different vehicle. The agreement was made that Exner would be wholly responsible for the designs the financer on the management and the financing. A market study of the luxury car market was first made and conclusions from that study reinforced determination to build a line of custom vehicles with classic lines.

August of 1968, the financer visited Exner in Birmingham, Michigan and viewed a sketch of one that resembled a non-threatening looking Batmobile. This design was chosen the winner, perhaps because the front of the vehicle had a phallic look that created excitement. Additional opinions were received from the Pontiac Division at General Motors were John Z. DeLorean headed the department. DeLorean agreed that the project was feasible and liked the concept. He agreed that the firm pointed lines of the design could only be created by hand.

The next decision was made how much financing to put into the production and how to go about getting it. Numerous questions arose regarding where the prototype would be constructed, what government regulations would need to by complied with and price range should they target. A name was also needed to proceed further. The financer had once had a Greek friend whose father owned a black and yellow Stutz Bearcat. Able to ride in it when he was younger, the financer had never forgotten the sensation of riding in the austere automobile.

Since the original Stutz Motor Company had been dormant for thirty years, the name was now public domain. They were able to use it, but it did take ten years of legal battles and fees, but success was finally won. With an initial capitalization of $100,000.000, the team eventually raised $1,200,000.00, the bare minimum needed for a project of this size. After they raised the capital, the next step in the process was to make the prototype. Exner fashioned a clay model of the new Stutz according to the vital measurement of a 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix. It was extremely important that the new Stutz body fit every centimeter of the Grand Prix, and when finished the clay model had the exact look and dimension of the car to be made.

The manufacturing site picked was in Cavallermaggiore, Italy, which was nearly an hour from Milan, outside of Tourin. The prototype from the clay model was made here and set up for subsequent production.

Stutz only made the handmade coach and the exquisite interiors, but it did not make any engine parts, AC's, radios or electrical systems. Once Exner was pleased with his final clay model, plastic forms or 'skins' were made over the clay model, the process of making the skins destroyed the original clay model, and it no longer exists now. The body parts were placed in a large fixture where a Grand Prix chassis waited for the welding process. In July of 1969 the mannequin was finally completed. The total cost for the prototype was $300,000 and would cost an estimated two million today.

The all new Stutz Motor Car Company of America didn't make any parts of the car except for the hand-crafted interior and the handmade coach. Suppliers had to be found and contracts needed to be negotiated to obtain more than thirty items to complete the production. The GM chassis gives the customer the best of both worlds, especially since parts and service on a GM car is available worldwide. Stutz body parts can be handmade in basically any good body shop anywhere.

Despite most of the vehicle being made based on practicality, a few pure luxury touches were added as well. The metal fittings inside the vehicle, the steering rim, the window controls and the cigarette lighter were all plated with 14K gold. The engine oil dip stick even featured this. With each new Stutz purchased buyers received two gold plated ignition keys.

In December of 1969, the first model was completed. The model was called the Stutz Blackhawk, a two door hardtop, the new Bearcat had to be a convertible. The U.S. government had outlawed the sales of convertibles in the U.S. and a design modification was necessary to comply with these new safety regulations. Unfortunately this kept the Stutz from realizing its full sales potential for a status vehicle.

On January 20, 1970, the Stutz Blackhawk prototype was flown to NYC and made it official debut at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. It made an incredible impression on both the American and the International Press. This was an opportune time for a new luxury vehicle in America, more importantly, a handmade one.

A production Bearcat wasn't manufactured until 1979 and that model used the GM A platform shared with the Blackhawk and it was essentially a Targa top coupe. The following year the Bearcat switched with the Blackhawk to the GM B platform. The exterior continued the Blackhawk's exposed trunk-mounted spare tire. For 1987 the base platform was now the GM F platform with the trailing edge of the spare now forming part of the car's rear bumper.

Elvis Pressley bought the first car sold by the new Stutz Company. He bought three more of these vehicles later. Thought only 12, or possibly 13 modern Stutz Bearcats were ever produced, it was a great example of a plush luxury vehicle.

By Jessica Donaldson
Recent Vehicle Additions

1952 Ford Golden Rod

1973 Battery Box Experimental Electric

1930 Aston Martin 1.5-Liter International

1932 Hudson Series T Eight

1977 Maserati Kyalami

1971 Bizzarrini 128P Prototype
For more information and related vehicles, click here

September 22, 2015 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Chrysler Six, Airflow, Imperial, New Yorker, 300 and Town & Country are just some of the nameplates that mark the rich history of the Chrysler brand. 2015 marks the 90th anniversary of Chrysler, which was founded on June 6, 1925, by Walter P. Chrysler. Chrysler represents more than a brand – it symbolizes the people behind the products, and the influence of its founder can still be felt today. Walter P. Chrysler built a company and a bran...[Read more...]
◾Continuing its commitment to innovative storytelling through film and music, Lincoln collaborates with the Tribeca Film Festival and IM360 Entertainment on the launch of the custom 'TFF Sinatra at 100' app ◾This app unlocks a 360-degree concert experience honoring Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday during the Tribeca Film Festival in April; bringing these exclusive concert highlights, previously seen only by those in attendance, is an example of Lincoln Black Label exceptional personal service ◾T...[Read more...]
Very Rare and Highly Desirable Concours Level 1958 Dual-Ghia Convertible Set to Shine in Monterey at Russo and Steele's 15th Anniversary Auction Extravaganza
Scottsdale, Arizona (July 9th, 2015) – As a man possessed of virtually boundless vision and drive, Eugene Casaroll almost single-handedly invented the car-delivery business with his foundation of Auto Shippers and his Dual Motors Corporation built fleets of twin-engine military vehicles for America and its WWII allies. Next, he diversified into high-end automobile manufacturing by acquiring production rights to the Virgil Exner-designed, Ghia-built Dodge Firebomb concept car of 1955 which...[Read more...]
Pre-war American cars sell strongly while models from Alfa Romeo, BMW and Porsche make world auction records Amelia Island, Florida – The much-anticipated addition to the Amelia Island Car Week – whose cornerstone is the renowned Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance – was Bonhams' inaugural motorcar auction, held Thursday, March 12th at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club. And what a resounding success it was! The perfectly situated venue was teeming with motoring aficionados and a l...[Read more...]
 This year's 'Life' exhibit puts the spotlight on cars with headline heritage HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – The Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d'Elegance, one of the nation's largest and fastest-growing automotive and motorsports enthusiast event weeks, takes a more glamorous approach with its annual 'Life' exhibit and presents Life of the Rich & Famous sponsored by Marriott Vacation Club. Life of the Rich & Famous is the sixth annual 'Life'-themed exhibit on the Fe...[Read more...]

Model 8

© 1998-2017. All rights reserved. The material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.