1926 Stutz Vertical Eight AA

Designer: Frederic Moskovics
Chassis Num: 84364
Sold for $49,500 at 2014 RM Sothebys.
The early years of automobile production were exciting times, but for many companies, they were also traumatic, filled with corporate instability and economic turmoil. For the Stutz Motor Car Company, they endured both good and bad times. In the early 1920s, the Harry Stutz left the Stutz Motor Car Company and the company came under the direction of Hungarian-born engineer Fredrick Moskovics. Moskovics completely redesigned the Stutz car, giving it a new eight-cylinder, overhead-cam engine, a double-drop chassis frame, a worm gear rear axle, safety glass, and four-wheel hydraulic brakes. This system was termed 'hydrostatic' and it used water an anti-freeze additive, but it was used for one year only.

In comparison to its competitors, the Stutz rode several inches lower and were somewhat 'boxy.' They soon became known as the 'Safety Stutz' with the 'Vertical Eight' engine, which were terms that would be used for the remainder of the company's life.

This vehicle is a Five-Passenger Sedan that was restored to CCCA Premier Award-winning condition in the early 21st century. It is finished in black and two shades of blue and featuring a broadcloth interior. The engine is a SOHC eight-cylinder unit displacing 287 cubic-inches and offering 90 horsepower. There is a three-speed manual transmission and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes.
By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2014
The Stutz name has always been synonymous with automotive performance. By the mid-1920's, the legacy of Harry C. Stutz was legendary.

After establishing his automotive credentials with the creation of the 1905 American Underslung, Stutz had idea to build a motorcar bearing his own name. Unveiling his newest vehicle at the Indianapolis 500 No, Harry entered the new 'Stutz' into the race rather than just displaying it in the infield. The Stutz finished eleventh after 442 minutes had elapsed.

Unfortunately, his vehicle didn't make it in the top tenth that Stutz had hoped, he was quick to advertise this new vehicle as 'The Car That Made Good in a Day'. The Stutz Motor Car Company was created from the vision of Harry Stutz and his dream to produce a production version of his Indianapolis racecar. Due to the purchase of numerous company shares by stock market speculator Ryan who cared more about making money, then quality vehicles, Stutz eventually cut his ties before Ryan went bankrupt. Charles M. Schwab, the president of Bethlehem Steel at the time, was responsible for saving the Stutz Motor Car Company line.

In the early twenties, Schwab had unsuccessfully tried to enter the family car market.

Designed by Frederic Moskovics, the Model AA Vertical Eight was introduced in 1926. Responsible for returning the Stutz brand back into the luxury-performance field, Schwab Capturing some of the essence of previous Stutz automobiles, the new AA was in a league of its own. Able to sit lower on its large wheels than competitive cars, the vehicle had a specified Timken worm-drive axle that was combing with a double-drop frame. The Vertical Eight featured hydraulic brakes and 'safety' glass that earned it the name 'Safety Stutz'. The sedan offered a mid-range model that was more affordable for typical family of the 1920's.

Fitted with the newly designed Vertical 8 engine, it was a single overhead cam straight eight that displaced 287 cubic inches. With the help of 'twin ignition' (two spark plugs per cylinder) the new mill delivered 92 horsepower. As luxury buyers heard good reports regarding the model AA's performance, along with its sleek looks, sales jumped to 5,000. Priced at over 3,000, in the beginning it had appeared that the investment would pay off. Schwab had invested much into the development of the V8, but unfortunately sales fell off drastically due to complaints about the Timken hydraulic brakes. The brakes were increasingly temperamental and unstable, though several modifications were made. In 1927 the model was improved by increasing the horsepower to 95 and the engine displacements to 298 cubic inches, but it was too late.

During the stock market crash of 1929, the shrinking demand for super-luxury vehicles had reached its end.

By Jessica Donaldson
In 1876, Harry C. Stutz was born. He grew up on the family farm where he often helped repair their farm equipment. This led to a fascination with engines and in 1897 he built his first car; soon after he began designing and creating engines. The Stutz Company, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, introduced its first production vehicle in 1911. The vehicle, after only five months of design and build, was immediately entered in the inaugural Indianapolis 500 mile race where it captured an 11th place finish. Not bad for its first vehicle and first race. Throughout the company's life span, it would endure good and bad times. The Stutz Company was in production during World War I and the Great Depression, both responsible for negatively affecting Industry.
Stutz will be forever remembered for their Bearcat model, a vehicle produced until 1925. This pure-bred race car had an aggressive and masculine stance; the interior was void of luxury and amenities. With its high revving straight 8-cylinder overhead camshaft engine and lightweight construction, the vehicle was poised to compete in national and international competition.

In 1919, Harry Stutz was forced by stock holders to leave his company. In 1922, Charles Schwab was given control of the company. In 1925, Schwab gave control of the company to Frederick Moskovics. Moskovic planed to revitalize the company by shifting the priorities from racing to producing luxurious automobiles. This did not mean that the company was to abandon its racing heritage, rather Moskovics wanted to expand its racing prowess by entering it in International competition. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is a grueling endurance battle that tests stamina, speed, and durability. In 1928 a Stutz Series BB Black Hawk Speedster, driven by Edouard Brisson and Robert Bloch, was entered in the French LeMans race. The vehicle did well, leading for most of the race. Half way through the 22nd hour, the gearbox broke on the Stutz and a Bentley 4.5-liter was able secure a first place finish. The Stutz was second, the best an American car had ever placed in this prestigious race.

In 1929, the Stutz Company decided to increase their chances of victory by entering more than one vehicle into the Le Mans race. The vehicles were designed and prepared especially for the race. Gordon Buehrig was tasked with designing the bodies for the 2-seater sportscars. A modified 5.5-liter straight 8-cylinder with a supercharger were placed in the front and powered the rear wheels. Three vehicles entered by Stutz Paris, Colonel Warwick Wright, and Charles Weymann were anxiously anticipating a repeat of the prior years success or possibly an overall victory. Sadly, only one vehicle would finish. Behind a fleet of Bentley's was the Stutz followed by a Chrysler 75. With a fifth place finish, the Stutz cars were no match for the powerful and agile Bentley Speed Six models.

In the early part of 1929, Moskovics resigned and Edgar Gorrell assumed the duties of president. Many manufacturers were developing multi-cylinder cars which attracted a larger market share of the already small luxury car market. The Stutz Company was not in a financial position to develop an engine of this caliber. Instead, Stutz embarked on developing an inline eight cylinder engine with single overhead cams. The result was the SV16, representing the side-valve 16 meaning that one exhaust and one intake valve per cylinder was allocated for the eight cylinders. By using the name SV16, it gave the vehicle an allure of equal capacity to other nameplates such as the Cadillac and Marmon V16. The SV-16 came equipped with a windshield safety glass and hydrostatic brakes. The chassis sat lower than most of the competition giving it an advantage through turns. During its production run, around 100 examples were produced.

Following on the heals of the SV16 was the DV-32. The engine featured updraft Schebler carburetors and four valves per cylinder equaling 32 valves and dual overhead camshafts. The power-plant was capable of producing 156 horsepower. The vehicle sat atop of a 145 inch wheelbase and outfitted with Stutz 8 hubcaps. At $6,400 these vehicles were extremely expensive at the time.

The Stutz 8 was produced from 1926 through 1935. The engine produced just over 90 horsepower. Within a few years, horsepower had been incrased to over 115.

In 1928, the Blackhawk series was introduced. These sports cars were affordable, competitive, and compact; outfitted with a powerful engines.

During the close of the 1920's, the Stutz company was riddled with lawsuits, including 'breach-of-contract' over engine building. James Scripps-Booth entered a lawsuit about the low-slung worm drive design Stutz had been using. The Stutz Company was beginning to fall on hard times.

The demise on the race track would slowly transcend to the market place. For all of 1930, there were less than 1500 cars produced. Sales declined even more in the following years and in 1934, after only six Stutz cars produced, the factory closed its doors. This is not to suggest the racing results were solely responsible for the company's woes. The Great Depression crippled and destroyed many auto manufacturers at this time. Competition in design and technology was ever present and the dependable, mass-produced, low-cost automobile manufacturers were in the best positions to come out on top. The Stutz Company had an impressive racing heritage and its automobiles are legendary. The Stutz name is respected by many including those overseas.

In 1968 a New York banker named James O'Donnell incorporated Stutz Motor Car of America. Ghia was commissioned to create a design for the Stutz Blackhawk, which was shown to the public in 1970. Sales continued for more than a decade selling very strongly until 1987. Production slowed from 1987 until 1995 when production ceased.
By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2006
The Stutz Series M coupe was introduced in 1929 and featured an auxiliary trunk, a rumble seat, and dual side-mount spare tires and wire wheels. Right above the front bumper are driving lights that turn in synchronization with the steering.

Before the Series M was the introduction of the Stutz Vertical Eight in 1926, which is considered to be ‘the most European of the US auto designs of the era'. The Stutz Model M Supercharged Coupe was dramatic, and featured a very low-slung, one-off coupe coachwork by Lancefield and is one of only 24 supercharged vehicles ever produced by Stutz. A total of 2,320 units Model M units were produced in 1929.

Featuring a rare supercharged engine, the Model M was spectacular in design and featured step plates, a sliding sunroof and cycle fenders that created a truly sporting appearance. Large Zeiss headlamps aided the vehicle in night driving. Originally the Lancefield body has been fabric-covered over wood; the Weymann body building method. The original advertisement was quoted as 'this striking motorcar holds the potential to become one of the premier entrants on the international concours d'elegance circuit.'

By Jessica Donaldson
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