1930 Stutz Model M Boattail Speedster

In the mid-1920s, the brilliant engineer Fredrick Moscovics took over control of Stutz Motor Car Company following the contentious departure of the company’s founder and namesake, Harry C. Stutz. History generally dictates that the exodus of a leader like Stutz would soon spell the end for an automobile company, but with Moscovics at the helm, that was certainly not the case. His talent and creative energy rejuvenated the Stutz Motor Car Company, leading them into one of the most successful periods in company history.

The Moscovics-designed “Safety Stutz” chassis arrived in the late 20s, and in 1927 was paired with his new 287 cubic-inch “Vertical Eight” engine, dubbed “Challenger.” The highly advanced Vertical Eight earned its name from its above-average height, necessitated by a long-stroke cylinder block design topped with a sophisticated new overhead cam head. The engine’s lack of rockers and pushrods translated into silent, smooth operation with class-leading horsepower and torque. The Safety Stutz chassis was a rigid, double-drop design that kept the center of gravity low and imparted the cars with exceptional handling. The series AA was a critical success and a sporting one – taking the AAA-sanctioned Stock Car crown in 1927, winning every race it entered. The AA evolved into the BB, with several improvements to the engine and chassis specification. Now displacing 299 cubic inches, the Series BB engine produced 110 horsepower or more depending on the compression ratio.

In 1928, a French team entered a Stutz BB Blackhawk at the 24 Hours of LeMans. The underdogs from Indianapolis put up a formidable fight against the mighty Works Bentley squad. In the closing hours of the grueling race, the leading Bentley 4 ½ of Woolf Barnato was getting reeled-in by the rapid Stutz. When the dust settled, Stutz achieved a surprise 2nd place overall finish, earning the marque accolades worldwide for its impressive reliability and performance.

Inspired by Stutz’s storied competition history, this 1930 Model M Boattail Speedster is a fabulous one-off creation modeled after the Stutz “Jones Special” Indy car of 1930. Created from the ground up using a 1930 Model M engine and chassis, this rare and desirable Stutz was discovered in the early 2000s as a disassembled project missing its original coachwork. The owner, an experienced collector and avid Stutz enthusiast, commissioned the restoration and transformation into this well-sorted, beautifully finished, and thoughtfully reimagined motorcar built for long-distance rallies. The original intention was to run the car in The Great Race, though he ultimately never entered the event.

With the project’s blueprint established, they began by stripping and rebuilding the chassis and running gear. The overhead-cam Vertical Eight engine was completely rebuilt from top to bottom. Records show the cylinder block was align-bored and decked, and internal updates include Packard rods, new bearings, and a modified high-capacity oil pump. At the top end, the cylinder head was completely rebuilt with new guides, and the cam was ground to custom specs by Delta Camshaft. They also added a custom-fabricated top-end oiling system to improve lubrication at high revs. Backing the engine is a ground and lightened flywheel, modified to accommodate a modern diaphragm-style clutch. In place of the standard three-speed transmission is a four-speed synchromesh gearbox sourced from a mid-80s Ford pickup, which directs power to a custom Ford 9-inch rear axle built with all new bearings and gears. The standard Model M suspension was restored and left virtually stock, preserving the car’s original character and excellent handling.

With the chassis dialed-in, the focus shifted to the coachwork. Inspiration for the distinctive boattail speedster body came directly from the Jones Stutz Special. Patrick Kelso of Pennsylvania created the body from aluminum and steel, and the superbly detailed form mimics the Jones Special’s signature cut-down cockpit and rounded streamlined tail treatment. To better suit the rigors of long-distance, open-road rallying, it features cycle fenders all around along with a folding top and windscreen. The restored wire wheels are wrapped in high-performance Excelsior black wall tires, providing the finishing touch for the purposeful and aggressive stance.

The quality of the craftsmanship is no more apparent than in the superb paintwork and interior. The radiant two-tone blue livery is finished to a very high standard and ideally suits the sporting character. The blue leather cockpit is also excellent, displaying minimal signs of use since its completion just a few years ago. Details like the canvas fender skirts, integrated trunk, and fully operational roadster top highlight the body’s thoughtful and well-planned construction. While the Stutz was built for competitive historic rallying, no corners were cut in making it a visually striking motorcar. As a testament to its quality, it won a Palmetto Award at the 2016 Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance shortly after its restoration.

This enormously charming and wholly unique Stutz Model M is perfect for entry into a wide variety of competitive and casual driving events, including The Great Race and more. With its myriad mechanical improvements, there is little doubt it will provide its next caretaker with countless miles of motoring excitement.


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