322ci DOHC Inline 8-Cylinder Engine
Single, Down Draft, Dual-Throat Stromberg EE-3 Carburetor
3-Speed Warner Transmission with Freewheeling
4-wheel, Vacuum Boosted Lockheed hydraulic brakes
*One of the most sensational American sports cars
*Weymann fabric coachwork with original covering
*Powerful and sophisticated engine
*One of the last examples not in a major collection
THE STUTZ DV-32 SUPER BEARCAT
If the 1930s was one of the most fruitful and memorable decades in the history of American cars, then most would agree that 1932 was the "Pinnacle" of the classic era. During this golden period, only few, true super sports cars were built. There were several boulevard sports models such as the Auburn Speedsters of course, but true, purpose-built from the ground up sports machines were exceedingly rare.
Stutz, perhaps the American manufacturer most consistently fascinated with sporting cars, would build what many consider to be the true American sports car of the decade. The Super Bearcat was born from a desire to showcase the full performance potential of the new technologically advanced and powerful DV-32 engine. This most exciting Stutz helped to attract the attention the firm desired in launching this new twin cam engine.
The Stutz "Vertical Eight" cars were the vision of Frederick Moskovics, who dreamed of creating the great American Gran Turismo car that could rival the best of the European performance machines. He broke with many conventions of American car design of the era to do this: his machines would employ overhead cam engines, four speed transmissions, very low chassis with worm drive axles and would be offered with European-style, fabric skinned coachwork.
Moskovics's dream became real in motorsports. The new Stutz Vertical Eight was immediately dominant in AAA stock car racing, winning the championship and every event in 1927. In 1928, a privately entered Stutz competed against the world's best at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The sole Stutz entrant led much of the race and only lost its' lead to one of the five factory-entered Bentleys in the final lap. It was a failed high gear that had caused the loss, although this showing would stand as America's best performance in the endurance race until the Ford GT40's victory nearly forty years later.
Although Stutz bowed out of factory-supported racing in the late 1920s, Stutz cars continued to be entered by privateers. The 24 Hours of Le Mans saw numerous Stutz cars competing until 1932.
As a result of the emerging "cylinder wars" of the early 30s, Stutz became aware of the need to create something new to attract attention. Stutz, being a small company that did not have the resources to develop a complex new 12- or 16-cylinder engine, did have great engineers and experience in motorsports, particularly with 4-valve engines which the company decided to use exclusively from 1917 till the early 20s. They decided that with the higher revving vertical Eight, the benefits from this valve arrangement would be far greater. Stutz adopted twin-overhead camshafts and a cross-flow design with near hemispherical combustion chambers. This design, save for the Duesenberg J, had not been seen on any American passenger cars.
The new DV-32 engine would boost power from around 125hp to nearly 160hp. Stutz was never as boldly optimistic in their power rating as Duesenberg. The resulting engine was noticeably more powerful than the excellent Vertical Eight. Along with a new cylinder head the engine received newly designed pistons, down draft dual-throat carburetion, and a new ignition design.
To celebrate their technological triumph, Stutz commissioned a new machine that would show off the power and charisma of the brand. Stutz had always offered racy models in their line-ups. The reputation was built on the Bearcat models from 1911-1924. The Blackhawk speedsters were wonderful sports cars for the original Vertical Eight models. The new DV-32 Super Bearcat would be the most exciting Stutz since the original Bearcat.
Stutz conceived the car on the model of a Mercedes SSK; a huge engine in the shortest possible chassis. The basis of the car was a 116-inch chassis – a dramatic comparison to the dual DV-32 that was offered in lengths up to 145 inches! This short chassis received the same excellent axles and big brakes of the standard DV-32.
The body was the real news on the Super Bearcat, and for this Stutz turned to Gordon Buehrig. Stutz and Buehrig both had a keen eye on the cars of Europe and would show their affection with this design. The car was built in the Weymann method with stretched fabric coachwork, but, perhaps to show his own flare, Buehrig designed the car as a full convertible coupe with proper roll up windows; no doubt influenced by the Mercedes SSK drop head coupe by Corsica. The two designs bear a striking resemblance.
Not since the heroic days of early motoring had an American manufacturer packed such a large and potent engine in such a small car – and this unfortunately resulted in a great cost. Priced at nearly $6000 in the midst of the depression, the car's price tag was a difficult sell. As a result, today it is believed that less than twenty of these remarkable machines were produced.
Fortunately, however, their charisma and appeal made those that do remain better survivors than most. It is believed that eight survive, only two which are fabric-bodied. Nearly all those extant are part of some of the finest collections in the country, making a Super Bearcat a very difficult car to get your hands on.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
This highly original and correct Super Bearcat is one of the finest in existence. It's remarkable, and perhaps unique for the fact that it still is clothed in its original Weymann fabric skin. Having been a well-known part of the old car hobby since the 1950s, the Bearcat has since been part of several major collections.
After passing through a few early collectors, the Stutz found its way into the hands of pioneering sports car collector and historian Dr. Frederick A. Simeone. Dr. Simeone, who assembled one of the finest collections of sporting Stutz cars in the country, only reluctantly sold this one so he could acquire the 1929 Stutz Supercharged Le Mans racing car present in his Museum today.
After that, the Bearcat would become part of noted collector and Stutz aficionado William Ruger Sr.'s collection. Well known for the Sturm, Ruger & Co. firearms company that bears his name, Mr. Ruger had a particular affection for the Stutz make, even manufacturing a pistol named the Super Bearcat. The Super Bearcat was a key member of his Stutz collection and was only sold after Mr. Ruger's passing.
For the last decade, the Stutz has been in the care of one of the most knowledgeable Stutz experts and engineers, and has been meticulously sorted throughout its ownership. Just about every aspect of the car has been gone through and perfected. A full brake system rebuild was completed, including a careful contouring of the brake shoes for maximum performance. To better take advantage of the powerful engine, custom high-ratio gearsets were fitted. A full stainless steel exhaust system has just been installed, producing a nice deep exhaust tone.
Because of the owners' extensive knowledge of Stutz cars you would be hard pressed to find anything out of place or incorrect on the car. The smallest details like the crank-hole cover and the running boards are all factory correct. Wherever possible, the cosmetics have been left original. It is evident that the body has never been dismantled for restoration and its skin has not been removed. The Stutz has been used regularly in present ownership, proven to be a reliable and excellent performing machine.
This Super Bearcat is a highly genuine and original example with meticulously prepared mechanicals. Because these models have been coveted as long as people have been collecting cars, today these cars are virtually impossible to separate from their owners. A chance to buy one as real and well prepared as this one is certainly a rare occurrence.