Stutz Model M Speedster by LeBaron

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Model M Speedster by LeBaron





In 1929, Stutz dispatched three of its new Model M chassis to Paris, to the firm of Hibbard & Darrin. Hibbard-Darrin also produced one-off bodies for Duesenberg, Hispano-Suiza, Mercedes-Benz and Packard. Tom Hibbard and Howard 'Dutch' Darrin had roots in the American coachbuilding community, but they met in Paris and set up a thriving business there in the mid-1920s. They took on Minerva and built many bodies for that marque but are most famous for their individual designs, such as this example with torpedo style fenders, or 'wheel pants' as they were called on racing aircraft.

The three Stutz models supplied to Hibbard & Darrin were to be fitted with unique coachwork. One of them, this car, was fitted with convertible Victoria coachwork, parabolic cycle-type fenders, dual rear-mounted spare tires and a unique extended hood that swept past the fire-wall to the base of the windshield. This design would become a styling trend among the vogue American coachbuilders in the years that followed.

Harry Stutz's marque, known for the legendary Bearcat, was also renowned for building performance automobiles. All Stutz's in 1929 were Model M's, and all were powered by a 322 cubic-inch, 113 horsepower overhead camshaft straight-eight engine installed on a 134.5 inch wheelbase chassis. The braking system consists of Lockheed vacuum-assisted, 4-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. It was the last year for Lovejoy dual hydraulic shock absorbers. Like many of its competitors, Stutz offered a vast array of models in an effort to compete in the luxury market.

The Stutz Series M coupe was introduced in 1929 and featured an auxiliary trunk, a rumble seat, and dual side-mount spare tires and wire wheels. Right above the front bumper are driving lights that turn in synchronization with the steering.

Before the Series M was the introduction of the Stutz Vertical Eight in 1926, which is considered to be ‘the most European of the US auto designs of the era'. The Stutz Model M Supercharged Coupe was dramatic, and featured a very low-slung, one-off coupe coachwork by Lancefield and is one of only 24 supercharged vehicles ever produced by Stutz. Stutz delivered 2,320 cars in 1929, but similar to many of its competitors, the Indianapolis firm became a victim of the Depression in 1934.

The new Eight-cylinder 'Safety Stutz' proved their potential on the racing circuit, for in 1928 their Stutz won every American Stock Car race entered and was declared World's Champion. Two custom Blackhawk Speedster bodies were penned by Le Baron to take full advantage of the performance. The four-passenger speedster body was designed and built so Stutz would have a car eligible for racing that required four seats.

The 24 Hours of LeMans was the most famous race requiring passenger cars with four seats and a top. At the time, this event was relatively unknown in America but was the highlight on the European racing calendar. A French Stutz agent entered the Stock Stutz Blackhawk Four-Passenger Speedster into the 1928 event. This was the only Stutz entered in the race, and it held the lead for much of the race, battling off an entire team of works Bentleys. Unfortunately, a loss of high gear late in the race forced the Stutz to finish second.

Featuring a rare supercharged engine, the Model M was spectacular in design and featured step plates, a sliding sunroof and cycle fenders that created a truly sporting appearance. Large Zeiss headlamps aided the vehicle in night driving. Originally the Lancefield body has been fabric-covered over wood; the Weymann body building method. The original advertisement was quoted as 'this striking motorcar holds the potential to become one of the premier entrants on the international concours d'elegance circuit.'

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