The Stuts story, stop and go (Part 5) – zimo news


Today, we continue our Stutz series in early 1929. Stutz wasn’t at his best at the time: His vehicles, while remarkably luxurious, were slow to sell and were widely considered to be late for luxury. compete. Management steered the company’s advertising in a new direction in the second half of the 1920s, and was largely unaware of the company’s racing pedigree — which brought Stutz to fame.

There is no panda in the company’s lineup as products move further away from performance and closer Grace territory. Finally, in light of the company’s financial difficulties and recent lack of interest in motorsports, the board of directors ceased all support for motorsports in 1928. The only promising source of funding is the Pak-Age-Car dealership, which in Stutz’s showrooms saw delivery trucks sit alongside luxury sedans. As the Great Depression approached, things got worse.

In early 1929, Stutz lost a key member of his leadership. Frederick Moskowics, appointed by the two financiers who owned the company in 1923, resigned. Moskowics is responsible for reinvigorating Stutz’s lineup and transforming the company’s cars from road racers to safe and luxurious vehicles.

But that didn’t matter because senior company officials blamed him for the company’s slump in sales. Stutz’s fortunes were more due to market conditions, a lack of brand enthusiasm and a problem with hydraulic braking that tarnished its reputation, but the Muscovites still took the blame. Disappointed by the company’s new state of passive management, the quest for luxury above all else, and the abandonment of the company’s racing heritage, he left. Maybe he sees the future of the company.

That year, Stutz tried to gain more market share with a modified car with a slightly lower entry point. The company introduced the Model L, which is also known as the Blackhawk. This “new” car uses a chopped, less powerful version of the company’s standard vertical-eight engine, so it stands out from the flagship vertical-eight (Type M) car. The Model L is a smaller car with a wheelbase of 127.5 inches.

Despite its smaller size, the Model L is still an expensive and luxurious car. Like all expensive manufacturers, the Great Depression led to massive sales of Stutz. Between 1930 and 1933, almost no one in America bought luxury cars, so Stutz had to rely on the meager sales he could make and deliveries of Pak-Age-Car trucks to make ends meet.

Stutz sold the same eight-cylinder Vertical 8 cars from 1926 to 1930, varying in shape, size and series. Meanwhile, the luxury car competition is evolving: Packard, Lincoln and Cadillac have introduced more modern luxury cars with huge V12 and even V16 engines. Stutz couldn’t compete and didn’t have the funds to make a new engine elephant. Instead, they went the technical route and launched the DV32.

Essentially, the DV32 is a completely redesigned version of the old Vertical 8. The old version was a single overhead camshaft, which the company renamed to differentiate it from the new engine: the SV16. The DV32 uses a double overhead camshaft (DOHC), which makes the performance of the new vertical eight even more impressive. In addition to DOHC, the engine has four valves per cylinder (thus 32) and a hemispherical combustion chamber.

It’s a money-saving decision that keeps Stutz from looking outdated next to the competition. While other luxury brands offer more cylinders, they can’t match the technical sophistication of the DV32. The engine debuted at the New York Auto Show in December 1930. The company put all the money into developing the DV32 engine, so they installed it in the same vertical eight chassis they use.

This new engine merges the company’s product line into two: the low-cost SV16 with the older engine and the advanced DV32. Body styling is the same, but the DV32 costs an extra $1,000 ($17,843 adjusted) for the privilege. From a power standpoint, the difference between the two lines is significant. The SV16 promises 115 horsepower, while the DV32 hits the market with 156 horsepower. The inline-eight engine was so advanced that it nearly matched the performance of the 1930 Cadillac 452 V16 series that produced 165 horsepower.

The DV32 entered the production line at the end of the August 1931 model year. Along with the new engine, Stutz management dropped the legendary name of the past to lure customers to the brand: Bearcat. The new Bearcat (still a vertical eight chassis) is part of the DV32 series. Each prototype comes with a special certificate stating that the car was track tested at 100 miles per hour – a bragging right for the owner.

The new Bearcat has real doors, unlike the doorless, unfriendly Bearcats that preceded it. It was only offered as a small coupe and had spare tires on either side of its solid body. The Bearcat doesn’t have a roof, but there’s a new car for Stutz customers who want a more livable experience: the Super Bearcat.

The Super Bearcat has a real roof to protect it from the elements and is stronger than the standard Bearcat.Compared to the previous year’s smaller model L Blackhawks, the Bearcat is many Smaller, with a wheelbase of just 116 inches. The Bearcat’s body is a fabric made by the bankrupt Weymann Company to reduce weight. The performance of two Bearcats is no joke, but for $1,500 ($26,765 adjusted), it gets even hotter: For the money, Stutz put a supercharger on the engine. hold on.

However, shortly before the models were introduced in 1931, the company’s ownership changed. Charles Schwab bought a majority stake in the company in June and increased its stake to a majority stake. He then put his own money into the business and did some lightning-quick marketing. Three teams traveled across the country to host the Stutz auto show in an attempt to generate more interest in the brand. Schwab’s funding also helped to finalize the DV32 engine and put it into production. Schwab himself showed all the new Stutz cars at the New York Auto Show.

But all the DV32s, Bearcats, and aerial cameras in the world couldn’t insulate Stutz from the effects of the Great Depression. Sales of the new DV32 line were poor, and the company’s overall sales were minimal. 310 in 1931, 90 in 1933, six In 1934, fewer than 200 DV32-spec cars were produced.

Meanwhile, the Pak-Age-Car side has grown as Stutz limped into the Great Depression. In November 1932, Stutz looked at his handful of luxury car sales, then expanding into delivery trucks. Stutz acquired Pak-Age-Car and immediately closed and sold the company’s plant.

They moved Pak-Age-Car’s manufacturing plant to the Stutz factory in Indianapolis, where from March 1933 idle luxury car craftsmen assembled simple delivery trucks. It’s also slow: Over the entire history of the Pak-Age-Car company, about 3,500 examples have been made. One would suspect that the better built ones were built late in the game and in Indianapolis.

That doesn’t work for Stuts. The company is too small and has no money to count on inferior role models to help it out of the financial black hole created by the Great Depression.

And so, in January 1935, the hammer fell. Stutz publicly announced: “Continuing to manufacture and sell Stutz cars is not part of the current plan. The “plan” in this statement refers to the still bright future of Pak-Age-Car and its continued production. Car production ends in 1934 or early 1935 , as all manufacturing moved to delivery vans. In November 1935, Stutz posted another ad saying they were hiring new employees to meet anticipated demand for Pak-Age-Car.

The extra money went into the design of the truck, because in 1936 it was redesigned to be something like a delivery van. Fenders were added, and the front sloped slightly upwards, and a split windshield appeared. There’s also a new engine, a more modern one. Dubbed the Type 90, the new truck can handle more weight thanks to its more powerful engine and redesign. There’s even a long-wheelbase model with an optional driver’s seat!

But progress and change did not resume sales as expected, and in April 1937 Stutz filed for bankruptcy. Stutz argued they could emerge from bankruptcy intact because the company had 400 orders for Pak-Age-Cars. In this case, the assets exceeded the company’s liabilities, but this was not sufficient to convince the court of the company’s viability. Unable to agree on a restructuring plan, Stutz was shut down. Pak-Age-Car was briefly an independent company before being sold to Auburn, and Stutz went into full liquidation in April 1939. It was one of many businesses destroyed by the Great Depression.

But that’s not the end of Stutz’s story, as the company will make a comeback decades later as a very different car company. Neoclassical design, anyone? More about next time.

[Images: Stutz]

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