Harry Stutz and Henry Campbell started the Stutz Motor Company in 1911. Harry Stutz had a passion for automobiles. He worked in the automotive industry for several years before starting his own company. The company chose to operate from Indianapolis, Indiana. It was the same year as the first Indianapolis 500 automobile race. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was known as The Brickyard, since it was originally paved with bricks. The track had been built for testing as well as racing. Before the Indy 500, it was also used for other events.
Stutz Motor Company’s first car, the Stutz Bearcat, was introduced in 1912. It was a two-seater sports car that was designed to compete with European sports cars of the time. The Bearcat was powered by a four-cylinder engine that produced 60 horsepower. It could reach a top speed of 70 miles per hour. Some models used racing engines from Frontenac Motor Company. The Bearcat grew popular among wealthy Americans. It helped establish Stutz Motor Company as a maker of high-performance, high-quality automobiles.
The Stutz Bearcat is one of the most famous early automobiles in America. It was later associated with the Roaring Twenties and the 23 Skidoo crowd. However, it was unusual for a Bearcat to have a rumble seat. Many famous people owned one. They included Valentino, Pickford, Arbuckle, Jolson, and Swanson.
In 1916, Stutz introduced the Model H, a luxury car that was more spacious and comfortable than the Bearcat. The Model H was powered by a six-cylinder engine that produced 80 horsepower. It featured amenities such as electric lights, a starter, and a speedometer. The Model H was also the first car to feature safety glass in its windshield.
During World War I, Stutz produced aircraft engines for the U.S. military. After the war, Stutz returned to making automobiles. In 1921, the company introduced the Stutz Vertical Eight, which was powered by a new eight-cylinder engine. The Vertical Eight was a large luxury car that was designed to compete with other high-end American automobiles such as Cadillac and Packard.
In 1927, Stutz introduced the Blackhawk, a luxury car that was designed to compete with Rolls-Royce and other European luxury cars. The Blackhawk was powered by a powerful eight-cylinder engine that produced 115 horsepower. It featured a sleek, modern design that was ahead of its time.
The Stutz Motor Company was responsible for several mechanical innovations during its history. Here are a few examples:
Stutz Vertical Eight Engine: In 1926, Stutz introduced a new engine design called the Vertical Eight. It was one of the first mass-produced inline eight-cylinder engines, and it featured an overhead camshaft, hydraulic valve lifters, and a cross-flow cylinder head. The Vertical Eight was known for its smoothness, power, and durability, and it became a hallmark of Stutz’s engineering prowess.
The Stutz Supercharger: Stutz was one of the first American automakers to offer a factory-installed supercharger on its cars. The supercharger, which was developed in collaboration with centrifugal supercharger pioneer, George Selden, was first introduced on the Stutz DV-32 model in 1931. It boosted the engine’s power output from 156 to 185 horsepower and helped to establish the DV-32 as one of the most advanced and powerful cars of its time.
Four-Wheel Hydraulic Brakes: Stutz was an early adopter of four-wheel hydraulic brakes, which were first introduced on the Stutz Model AA in 1927. This was a significant advancement over the earlier mechanical braking systems, which were prone to fading and required frequent adjustment.
Depression and Fanning the Flame
During the 1930s, Stutz faced financial difficulties, and the company was eventually sold to E. L. Cord, who also owned Auburn and Duesenberg. Cord tried to revive the Stutz brand by introducing new models, but the Great Depression took its toll on the luxury car market, and Stutz was eventually forced to close its doors in 1935.
In the 1970s, a new Stutz Motor Company was founded, which produced limited-edition luxury cars based on existing GM platforms. However, this new incarnation of Stutz did not have the same success as the original company, and it eventually went out of business in the early 1990s.
Throughout the remainder of the Twentieth Century and even into the next, attempts were made to resurrect the Stutz name. None are still active.
- Year Started: 1911
- Year Ended: 1935
- Origin Of Name: Name of Founder
- Location Sales: Worldwide
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: Harry Stutz and Henry Campbell
- Owner While In Use: E. L. Cord
- Owner Successor: Several
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Porshe
- Naics Code: 336110
- Location Headquarters: Indianapolis, Indiana, USA