Stutz Motor Car of America Inc History
Stutz Motor Car of America was an American car brand, which produced from 1970 to 1988 so-called Revival Cars. The company revived the classic Stutz brand , which was successful before the Second World War , but had no legal or organizational relationship with its predecessor. The new vehicles called Stutz were more or less modified mass-produced vehicles that had a classic-looking design and were the most expensive American automobiles of their time.
Forerunner of the Stutz revival was the 1966 failed attempt to revive the brand Duesenberg . Stutz Motor Car of America was founded in 1968 by New York banker James O'Donnell.
As in the case of the Duesenberg project, the initiative was initiated by the designer Virgil Exner , who designed the Duesenberg Model D presented in 1966 had designed. Although the company in which August Duesenberg's son Fred was involved, failed due to lack of capital; Nonetheless, Exner continued to search for investors who could still finance a start of production. One of the potential financiers Exner addressed was New York investment banker James O'Donnell. He had the project explained and after a thorough investigation he refused the support of the company. Nevertheless, O'Donnell was fascinated by Exner's design, which he considered "the most beautiful car I have ever seen." A little later he contacted Exner again. Both agreed to build a similar car together. John De Lorean , then manager of the GM brandPontiac , was consulted. He endorsed the design and considered the project feasible; Finally he gave O'Donnell logistical support.
In August 1968, James O'Donnell founded the company Stutz Motor Car of America , which he headed for the next 20 years. The choice of the brand "Stutz" explained O'Donnell with a personal affinity to the well-known pre-war sports car, of which he wants to have driven in his youth. An equally equally important reason may have been the fact that the name Stutz - unlike other past brands such as Packard or Duesenberg - was no longer protected by trademark law, but as a public domain was available. In 1988 O'Donnell resigned from his position as President and CEO, but initially remained majority shareholder. In the early 1990s, he sold his shares, a little later Stutz closed the gates.
Between 1970 and 1988 Stutz sold about 600 vehicles. By far the most successful models were the respective base coupes with the name Blackhawk, followed by the four-door sedan on the regular wheelbase. All other models - convertibles and long-limousines - remained more or less unique pieces.
The cars were sold mainly in the United States , but also in the states of the Near and Middle East and in Brunei . In Europe, only a few cars were sold, even if the well-known luxury car dealer Auto Becker had temporarily taken over the representation for Central Europe.
The importance of the car is assessed very differently. More than other cars, the cultural background of the viewer is important. It is certainly true that the "new Stutz", as O'Donnell called his cars, was a very American vehicle. Correspondingly, in American publications the cars are often referred to as impressive cars, as "classics" or as "the most beautiful cars ever made". In Europe this is usually seen as more critical. The British journal Thoroughbred and Classic Carspositioned the Stutz Blackhawk of 1971 on its list of the 10 ugliest cars in the world.
Between 1970 and 1988, Stutz built a series of vehicles that - with the exception of the rare off-road vehicles Defender and Gazelle - always followed the same concept with all the differences in detail.
These were each luxurious and very expensive automobiles, which were based on American high-volume engineering and were provided with a crafted in Italy body "classic" style. O'Donnell emphasized that Stutz did not produce any engines or technical or electrical components. Rather, Stutz saw himself in the tradition of "coachbuilders", who only produced the bodywork and interior using technology provided. The sheet metal parts were attached to the unchanged base vehicle; Therefore, the newly manufactured parts had to correspond exactly to the specifications of the basic model in their dimensions. This concept later became known as "boutique car", which has a number of other manufacturers in the US and Europe (there, for exampleMonteverdi with the model Sierra ) further pursued. O'Donnell explained the benefits of this concept in a 1991 article as follows: "In 1969, more than $ 20,000 in the price segment offered exclusively foreign cars. Service and repairs were a big problem. The use of large-volume components from General Motors ensured that the cars could be maintained and fitted with spare parts all over the world. "
As the basis for the Coupes of Stutz served from 1969 - the year in which the first prototype was produced - to the third series (including) of each Pontiac Grand Prix . It should be noted, however, that Stutz traded a model change of the base vehicle usually with some delay, sometimes even two years later. For the fourth series Stutz used the two-door versions of the Pontiac Bonneville or after its setting of the Oldsmobile 88 ; the last series was finally based on the Pontiac Firebird, On the drive side, the standard engine of the Grand Prix was mostly used, but in individual cases deviating customer requirements could also be met. It is known that individual models of the third series were equipped with the 8.2-liter eight-cylinder Cadillac ; an American catalog note even wants to know about a coupe of the fourth series, which received a 5.7-liter diesel engine from Oldsmobile .
For the four-door sedans Oldsmobile Delta 88 vehicles were used as a basis, which were extended for the models Diplomatica and Royale to varying degrees.
The production of the car was carried out mainly at the Carrozzeria Saturn in Cavallermaggiore in Piedmont, Italy, O'Donnell had set up this workshop especially for his cars. Stutz received basic vehicles from General Motors, which were delivered by ship to Italy. There, about 10 Italian Sprengler handcrafted the new body parts and adapted them to the freed from their standard body base vehicles. The interior was made in Italy, finally, there was also the paint (with 20 layers of paint, the O'Donnell repeatedly proudly pointed). The fact that no technical changes were made to the base vehicles made itself repeatedly detrimental noticeable. For example, the magazine auto motor und sport notedin that the smaller radiator openings compared to the base vehicle quickly led to high thermal loads, which could bring considerable problems in city traffic. As another example, the door and hood hinges were invariably adopted by GM and were apparently too weak for the significantly heavier Stutz components.
The original design of the "new Stutz" was immediately a work of Virgil Exner. Like the 1966 Duesenberg, it was a retro-look vehicle that purposely imitated classic elements of 1930s automobile design without really presenting a serious copy. The Stutz took over many of the ideas that Exner had tried on the subject at Duesenberg Model D and added more. Unlike the Duesenberg, Exner design should, however, be realized on a large two-door coupe.
The Stutz Blackhawk
During the year 1969 the prototype was produced. Starting point was a Pontiac Grand Prix coupe of the model year 1969. The car was first measured in detail in a special operation in Detroit. Then Exner created a clay model of the Stutz in the scale 1: 1, which corresponded exactly with the dimensions of the Pontiac except for an extended wheelbase. From the clay model, a plastic cast was made, which was taken to the workshop in Cavallermaggiore, where the Italian artisans first created a wooden model on which the body parts should be made by hand in the future. In June 1969, the wooden model was realized.
At that time, the Cavallermaggiore plant was still under construction. The prototype of the Blackhawk was therefore manufactured by the Carrozzeria Ghia . He was completed in December 1969. On January 20, 1970, he was presented to the public in New York at an event at the Hotel Waldorf-Astoria . Then there was a whole series of advertising inserts, TV reports and of course test drives with journalists of the motor press.
The prototype corresponded optically largely the later production model. However, he had a windshield, which consisted of two parts and had a veritable center bar. The later production model took over the one-piece windshield of the Pontiac Grand Prix, on the subsequent - in a sense as a faux - a separating bridge was applied. This feature was eliminated from the second series.
Series 1 . The first series was produced from 1970 to 1971. Two-seater coupes were built, which bore the name Blackhawk; next to it was a single piece a four-door sedan called Duplex.
Series 2 . The second series, which was only produced in 1972, was completely redesigned. The Series 2 was made only as a Blackhawk coupe.
Series 3 . The third series was produced with various modifications the longest. It was on offer from 1973 to 1979 and was the most successful series with 300 vehicles produced. The basis for this model family was uniformly the Pontiac Grand Prix of the third series , which was introduced in the late summer of 1972.
Series 4 .The fourth series of coupes was manufactured from 1980 to 1986.
Stutz D'Italia .
The first version was created in 1977 based on a Blackhawk Series 3. It was a cabriolet without roll bar, which was presented under the name D'Italia . The D'Italia was offered for sale for $ 100,000. A factory brochure described the car as "The world's most expensive car".The D'Italia remained a one-off.
The Bearcat was realized between 1979 and 1985 in several versions: The audience's response to the Convertible D'Italia had shown that the clientele needed an open mind. O'Donnell responded with the Bearcat Convertible, a factory-open version of the Blackhawk Coupe. Unlike the D'Italia, the Bearcat, however, was not a full convertible. Rather, it followed the structure of the so-called safety cabriolets.
Stutz Bearcat II (Series 5)
The 1988 presented Stutz Bearcat II replaced the previous models Blackhawk and Bearcat. Its introduction represented the most radical model change in the company's history. The technical basis was now the compact Pontiac Firebird . Its chassis and drive technology were taken over unchanged. The body was made of plastic. Stutz called the material "Diamond Comp" A total of 12 vehicles Bearcat II type. At least eight of them were made in 1988, some probably earlier. From 1989 there is no more production. The sale of the vehicles, however, dragged on until the early 1990s. During the year 1995, a thirteenth vehicle is said to have been manufactured from spare parts.
The Stutz Duplex
In the first half of 1970, Officine Padane , which at the same time built the first three models of the Blackhawk, a four-door sedan, stylistically an extended version of the Blackhawk was. In a factory brochure from 1971 , only a few copys has been produced.
The Stutz IV Porte
The first production sedan was the model IV Porte, which was introduced in late 1978 and for a time parallel to the Blackhawk Series 3 was produced. In a short time, about 50 vehicles were created. One of the first buyers was the singer Kenny Rogers .
The Stutz Victoria
For model year 1981, the IV-Porte was replaced by the model Victoria. The Victoria was technically equivalent to its predecessor, but had been extended in the wheelbase by 10 centimeters. In total, about 20 Victoria sedans were produced in five years.
The Stutz Diplomatica
The Diplomatica, also known in a promotional leaflet as the Diplomatic Sedan, was presented in 1981 in New York as a pure chauffeured limousine. Technically, it was not an extended version of the IV Porte or Victoria, but an independent model based on a standard Cadillac Fleetwood 75 sedan.In the passenger compartment, a refrigerated bar, a TV set and some other amenities could be accommodated on request. By 1985, seven copies of the Diplomatica, six of which were delivered to Saudi Arabia .
The Stutz Royale
The Stutz Royale was a once again extended saloon. The vehicle was a total of 7.5 meters long and had a curb weight of more than three tons. It had spacers between the front and rear doors and between the rear doors and the rear axle, so in American usage was a double-stretched sedan .reports that in 1977 the prototype of a first long-limousine was built. The technical basis of the vehicle is unclear, and no photographs of the first prototype are available. The reports that the vehicle was delivered to the King of Saudi Arabia in 1978 .In 1979, another vehicle was manufactured, which now officially - and as a reference to the equally impressive Bugatti Royale - wore the name Stutz Royale. This vehicle was painted dark blue and equipped with blue velor. It was delivered to the Saudi Arabian royal family in late 1979.Finally, in 1980, another sedan, which was delivered to the President of Gabon , Omar Bongo . Remarkably, in a 1980 press release, the vehicle was not referred to as Stutz Royale - Stutz used this name only in relation to the second car delivered to Saudi Arabia - but as a Stutz sedan.
The extensive business relations O'Donell in the Arab world brought the company in the early 1980s, a lucrative mission in another field of activity: Several Arab countries had a need for specially designed, sometimes even armored SUVs for their armies or bodyguards. O'Donnell accepted this order and had 1984 in the Carrozzeria Saturn in Cavallermaggiore produce some peculiar vehicles that had no technical or stylistic relation to the other Stutz models:
Stutz Defender and Gazelle
The Defender and the identical gazelle were armored, visually unaltered versions of the Chevrolet Suburban , which were factory equipped with a large sunroof and a machine gun. The cars were sold mainly to Saudi Arabia .
The Stutz Bear, a large, four-door convertible. Also this model was based on the Chevrolet Suburban . The Bear was made in a total of 46 copies. Most of the cars went to the royal guard of Saudi Arabia.
Automotive manufacturer of United States from 1968 to 1970