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Coachwork by Phillips
*Please note that this car is titled by BBC1BB86S.
Harry C. Stutz was just 35 years old when the first automobile that bore his name appeared at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1911. It was the first 500-mile race at the Brickyard and by finishing 11th with no mechanical problems, the Stutz quickly became known as “the car that made good in a day.”
Stutz race cars were commanded by the greats of the day: Barney Oldfield, Earl Cooper, “Cannonball” Baker, and Stutz’s factory driver Gil Anderson. The company’s production cars also moved fast, coming off the line in a steady stream and allowing Harry Stutz to live well with yachts, big houses, and plenty of diversions; but success was followed by failure. Stutz sold shares in the company to the public and New York promoter Allan A. Ryan was able to corner the market and gain control of the enterprise.
Ryan induced Charles Schwab, head of Bethlehem Steel and associates, to buy Stutz at a vastly inflated price. They installed new management but were unable to re-energize the company until they engaged Fred Moskovics to complete his design for a radical and advanced automobile as the new Stutz model in 1925.
The Model BB Moskovics brought on an experienced team of engineers to develop the Stutz Model BB. They turned his concept into reality in time for the 1926 New York Auto Salon, where the BB was introduced as the “Safety Stutz” with a double-dropped frame, worm-drive rear axle, four-wheel hydraulic brakes, central chassis lubrication, and an inline eight-cylinder singleoverhead camshaft engine. The dramatically lowered design of the Safety Stutz dropped the center of gravity for better and safer handling. More important, the car appeared sleeker and more streamlined – which, in fact, it was. It was a sensation and generated a flood of orders, 2,414 to be exact, just from the New York show.
The BB was built in the mold of Harry Stutz’s successful Bearcat road racers, and it would soon see competition including a 2nd place finish to a Bentley at Le Mans in 1928 – a result that might have been reversed if Frank Lockhart (killed earlier that year in a Stutz Black Hawk streamliner at Daytona) or Earl Cooper had been behind the wheel.
This Car The beautiful 1928 Stutz Model BB Cabriolet Coupe offered here is an esteemed and significant example of historic Stutz engineering and design. The car was discovered in 1987 by Jerry F. Hanauska “tucked neatly in the back corner of my friend Dave’s car storage building,” as he recalled in an article in the Stutz News. Mr. Hanauska acquired the car, drove it home, and began a comprehensive restoration that was finished in time for the 1993 show season. The Stutz was spotted by Lorin Tryon and invited to apply for that year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The application was successful, and the car won second in its class. More awards soon mounted up: Grand Sweepstakes winner at the Forest Grove Concours, a first place at the Bellevue, Washington, CCCA Grand Classic, and first place class awards in CCCA shows in 1995 and 1997, qualifying it for coveted Premier status.
It is readily apparent why this car has accumulated such honors. This Cabriolet Coupe body was built by Phillips on the short 131" wheelbase and is elegantly finished in a rich red with maroon fenders, tan leather interior, and matching top. The exterior is complemented by corresponding covers for the dual side mounts and luggage trunk. Six gleaming chrome wire wheels are fitted and the opening windshield has a discrete and attractive sun visor. The interior is luxuriously appointed with American walnut trim and a German silver instrument panel. The consignor notes that a set of tools accompanies the car.
The previous owner stored the Stutz, when not entered in competition, in a climate-controlled facility where it was carefully maintained. In 2004, it was purchased by the current owner who has continued to pamper the car, placing it in a private collector’s museum in Burlingame, California. The Stutz marque is highly respected in the classic-car world, and this sophisticated Model BB Cabriolet Coupe is a clear illustration why.