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Lot 315: Stutz "Bearcat" Special

The Scottsdale Sale, Bonhams & Butterfields (19 January 2012)

*360ci, Dual Valve G Series Motor *90 horsepower *Three-speed manual transmission *Tribute car built entirely from period Stutz Components *Desirable 'Bearcat' style bodywork *Long term ownership In the world of antique cars there are few names that resonate like Stutz Bearcat. No name evokes the heroic spirit of early American motoring in the same way. For the teens era there was no car that was as sought after and mythical. To this day other than perhaps a Ford Model T there is not another antique car as famous; the Bearcat even inspired an American television program of the same name! Scores of toys, models, liquor decanters and lamps were produced with the image of the famed Bearcat. One would think, given the celebrity status of the Bearcat that the cars would be abundant. However they certainly are not. The number of real surviving Bearcats of all eras is miniscule at last tally there were less than 20 accounted for. Real examples come to the market infrequently and consequently command a huge sum. The Stutz company and the Bearcat model were made famous from day one. Harry C. Stutz built his car and sent it to compete in the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911. The untested car did remarkably well, finishing the race and beating many established brands, earning the car the slogan "The Car That Made Good In A Day". During its production run from 1911-1923, the Bearcat evolved. Initially powered by a Wisconsin T-head engine, it was eventually replaced in 1918 by a Stutz-built, sixteen-valve, 4-cylinder model offered. Over the years it received more modern coachwork and in the mid twenties it became just a version of the standard roadster. The quintessential Bearcat is the early version. The sparse layout of two bucket seats, a big fuel tank and a couple of tires slung off the back are iconic. The pure utility of this design and its heroic, masculine look has made it one of the most desired early cars since it was new. Due to the scarcity and resulting price tag, a number of Stutz cars have been transformed into Bearcats. As the Bearcat shared most of its mechanical components with the other Stutz models, a conversion could be achieved with a bit of work. This car is one of those tributes to a legend. Made up nearly entirely of real Stutz parts the car is a good copy of the real thing on the outside. The body work was done well and authentically upholstered bucket seats. The body work is finished in the signature yellow color and equipped with proper early Stutz style lighting. One real advantage over the real thing from a driving standpoint is that instead of a standard 60hp Wisconsin engine this Bearcat is powered by the superb Stutz built dual-valve motor. Dating from 1919 this motor is a big step above the Wisconsin, producing nearly 90hp. The motor was a brilliant design and the first motor produced by Stutz. It took full advantage of the knowledge used in Stutz successful racing program by incorporating a four-valve per cylinder design. The much improved breathing along with 360ci displacement made for a wonderful motor with one of the finest exhaust notes. Driving one of these dual-valve Stutz is a real pleasure. They pull up hills superbly and race the car along in high gear with startling ease. Mechanically this 'Bearcat' is built with a variety of Stutz hardware. A proper Stutz three-speed transaxle is mounted to a later K series frame that has been modified to the earlier "dumb iron" type frame. A correct early type radiator and artillery wheels finish it off handsomely. The car is even equipped with a sporty set of old Firestone ribbed tires. Equipped with its original electric starter as well as electric lighting the car is simple and easy to use. The motor is equipped with a proper exhaust cut-out so the "music" made by the big four can be clearly heard. This is great car if you want to experience the thrill of early motoring and the performance capabilities of one of the great engines of the era. With the cost of a pure example in the seven figure range this represents a great opportunity to have a lot fun with a legendary machine for a fraction of the price.

Lot Details
Auction The Scottsdale Sale
Bonhams & Butterfields, Arizona, Scottsdale
Lot Number315
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$120000
Hammer Price (inc premium)$139000
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Chassis number
Engine numberG 3096
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Engine - cylinders
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