After the departure of Harry Stutz, and the demise of his famous Bearcat, the Stutz Motor Car Company changed direction. The Bearcat was maintained into the 1920s, but when European-born Frederick E Moskovics arrived in 1925 he steered Stutz towards the luxury market.
His beautiful new open and closed ‘Safety Stutz’ models offered improved handling and performance, setting the company’s new tone.
At the heart of the reshaped line was a new straight eight engine, which the company called the ‘Vertical Eight’ and continued to develop into the 1930s.
Moskovics departed in 1929, but the best was yet to come – the most sophisticated version of the Vertical Eight. This was the DV32 (as in ‘dual valve’) that came with a matching chassis, together forming the platform for Stutz’s finest cars.
But times were hard. A cheaper six-cylinder LA model was introduced in an attempt to resist the ravages of the Great Depression but this failed, leaving only top-end machines on offer at a time when the market was sluggish. Stutz cars were beautifully made and it was possible to choose from around 30 appealing custom body styles from all the great coachbuilders of the era – such as LeBaron, Fleetwood, Rollston, Weymann, Brunn, Waterhouse and Derham – but buyers remained thin on the ground.
Stutz didn’t go down without a fight, trying desperately to generate interest amongst potential customers. A well-proportioned Weymann Monte Carlo four-door sports sedan with aluminium body was created on the DV32 platform. Then the Bearcat name was revived in the form of a DV32 Super Bearcat short-chassis convertible coupe and boat-tailed speedster, both capable of outrunning the original. But it was all in vain. The DV32s may have been some of the best-built and most visually attractive cars of the 1930s, but they couldn’t prevent Sfutz’s slide into bankruptcy.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1931 (until 1936)
5.3 l (322 cid) Straight Eight
Super Bearcat version had a top speed over 100 mph (160 km/h) while sedans reached 90 mph (145 km/h)
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Despite the switch to luxury cars from the mid-1920s, Stutz still produced racers good enough to give Bentley a run for the money at Le Mans in 1928 and perform with distinction on the American stockcar circuit.