In the mid-1920s, the Stutz Motor Car Company’s fate was in the hands of Fredrick Moscovics, a brilliant engineer who took over the helm following Harry C. Stutz’s acrimonious departure. Usually, the exodus of an innovative leader like Stutz would spell the end for an automobile company, but Moscovics brought a wealth of talent and creative energy to Stutz Motor Car Company and spurred the creation of many of the marques best and most successful models.
Nineteen twenty-six marked the arrival of the Series AA, based on Moscovics’ Safety-Stutz chassis powered by the new 287 cubic-inch “Vertical Eight” engine, dubbed “Challenger.” The highly advanced Vertical Eight’s moniker came from its above-average height, necessitated by a long stroke and a sophisticated new overhead cam cylinder head. The engine’s lack of rockers and pushrods translated into silent and smooth operation and class-leading horsepower and torque. The Safety Stutz chassis was a rigid design with double drops to keep the center of gravity low and provide a sporty, aggressive ride height. The series AA was a critical success as well as a sporting one – taking the AAA-sanctioned Stock Car crown in 1927, winning every race it entered.
The AA evolved into the BB, which introduced several improvements to the engine and chassis. Now displacing 299 cubic inches, the Series BB engine produced 110 horsepower or more depending on the compression ratio. The frame was the same design, now updated with Delco-Remy Lovejoy shock absorbers and improved steering. Powerful Lockheed hydraulic brakes were a new addition that enhanced the already impressive Safety Stutz chassis. In 1928, a French team entered a Stutz Blackhawk at the 24 Hours of LeMans. The Stutz put up a formidable fight against the mighty Works Bentley squad. In the closing hours of the race, the leading Bentley 4 ½ of Woolf Barnato was getting reeled-in by the rapid Stutz. When the clock stopped, Stutz achieved a surprise 2nd place overall finish, earning the marque accolades around the world for its impressive reliability and performance.
Sporting handsome two-seat speedster coachwork by Robbins, this striking 1928 Stutz BB is a marvelous example of this quintessential pre-war American sports car. Restored some years ago to a high standard and maintained in superb condition, this rare and exciting Stutz was in the care of one owner for the past 40 years. While in his hands, it was restored to a high standard, winning a CCCA National First Prize and appearing regularly in the club’s West Coast events. Presented today in a lovely combination of two-tone red with straw yellow coach lines over a black interior and top, it remains in excellent condition inside and out. The body is skinned in aluminum from the cowl back to keep weight in check, and it is particularly rakish in profile. Equipment includes a radiator mascot, dual side-mount spares, cowl lamps, folding windscreen, wire wheels, and newer Firestone black wall tires. The paint and brightwork quality is excellent, with a smooth finish and beautiful detailing, still appearing glossy and highly attractive, belying the age of the restoration.
Typical for a sports car of the era, the two-seat cockpit is minimally appointed with little to distract from the business of driving. The black leather seats are in good order with minimal creasing and cracking of the surface. Complementing the seats are leather-trimmed door panels, kick panels, and matching rumble seat. The wood dash houses a beautifully ornate engraved instrument panel housing the primary gauges. Period-correct detailing reflects this car’s history as a CCCA award-winner.
The glorious Stutz Vertical Eight is a marvel of refinement and power for the period. It also looks particularly good, properly adorned in bright green with gloss black cam cover and accessories. It shows signs of use consistent with the age of the restoration, but it remains in fine overall condition with proper wiring and hardware. The undercarriage is similarly well-presented, with a fully painted chassis to match the body showing signs of on-road enjoyment.
Few American cars of the period can compare to the Stutz BB’s sophisticated handling, impressive performance, and sporting pedigree. This outstanding example highlights the desirable Robbins-built Speedster coachwork with a lovingly maintained restoration. A welcome entry into a wide range of motoring events around the world, this immensely charming Stutz is sure to provide its next keeper with abundant enjoyment.
Offers welcome and trades considered