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1928 Stutz BB Blackhawk

Brought in as company president in 1925, Fred Moskovics commenced a complete redesign that reached fruition in the Stutz AA in 1926. Innovations were rife including safety glass, Timken hydrostatic brakes, a double drop frame and worm drive rear axle and a new dual ignition eight-cylinder single overhead camshaft engine with cross-flow porting and 287 cubic inches that developed 92 horsepower. Dubbed the "Safety Stutz" to promote its numerous safety attributes, it was succeeded in 1928 by the even more advanced BB with a larger engine of 229 cubic inches with a new cylinder head with improved flow and larger valves. It was rated by Stutz at up to 115 horsepower but Stutzes of the day performed well enough that the power with 6.25:1 compression and better sealed pistons was probably well over 140hp. Fully balanced with a one-piece block and crankcase and nine main bearings, the Stutz BB was incredibly smooth as well, contributing to its reputation as one of the best driving automobiles of its era. The low slung double drop frame contributed both to excellent handling and to some of the sleekest, lowest body designs of the period. Lockheed full hydraulic four-wheel brakes with 16 inch drums matched the engine's performance with the best braking of any car of its year. They would bring a big Stutz sedan to a complete halt from 60mph in just 165 feet. Two- and four-seat Black Hawk speedsters topped the line with lightweight aluminum paneled open bodies. Fred Moskovics sent a 4-seat Black Hawk to France in 1928 to contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans where it nearly beat the Bentleys, finishing just 3/4 of a lap behind the winner after a day's racing. It set every young man's (and woman's) heart racing with its sleek design and technical sophistication. This 1928 Stutz AA Black Hawk 4-passenger Speedster was once in the collection of Bill Ruger, Sr., a formidable proponent of the Stutz marque in whose collection it not only received the finest attention but also refinement and development that demonstrated the potential of the 16-valve overhead cam Stutz eight. An older restoration, it is finished in red with black cycle fenders with leather gaiters between the front fenders and the frame to suppress splash and gravel. Black wire wheels, black wall tires, dual side-mounted spares and red brake drums set off the lightweight, streamlined body. The interior is upholstered in brown leather with matching carpets. The top -- little more than a handkerchief on a rudimentary tubing framework -- is black cloth but there are front and rear bumpers that at least acknowledge the "Safety Stutz" theme. Step plates replace the riveted running boards that Stutz claimed added side impact resistance to standard bodies. The restoration has aged since it was completed but it has been consistently maintained cosmetically. Mechanically this Stutz BB Black Hawk Speedster is superb. Ruger modified it with titanium connecting rods (yes, titanium), lightweight pistons and a carefully ported and flowed cylinder head for even more performance, assembled to race engine standards with a fully balanced crankshaft, modern shell bearings and high strength main bearing caps. It is a fully developed, refined and set up open road driving machine of the highest caliber ready to tackle the most demanding open road tours like the Colorado Grand with aplomb and confidence. With the model's Le Mans history it stands a reasonable chance of being accepted for the Mille Miglia Storica where it will challenge supercharged Alfas and big Bentleys. It is a serious car for serious drivers who appreciate the best in American automobile history, then will hold its own with its mature and carefully maintained cosmetics in the car park at the end of the day. Opportunities like this rarely appear.


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