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DV-32 Dual Cowl Phaeton by LeBaron
Stutz was forced to raise money to fund his automobile production, eventually selling the company in 1919 after a falling out with the company's major stockholders, Allan A. Ryan, who then went bankrupt. In 1922, three Stutz investors, one of whom was Charles M. Schwab, gained control of the company. The new owners brought in Frederick Ewan Moskowics, formerly of Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft, Marmon, and Franklin, in 1923. Moskowics quickly refocused the company as a developer of safety cars, a recurring theme in the auto industry. In the case of Stutz, the car featured safety glass, a low center of gravity for better handling, and a hill-holding transmission called "Noback".
In the early part of 1929, Moskovics resigned and Edgar Gorrell assumed the duties of president. Many manufacturers were developing multi-cylinder cars which attracted a larger market share of the already small luxury car market. The Stutz Company was not in a financial position to develop an engine of this caliber. Instead, Stutz embarked on developing an inline eight cylinder engine with single overhead cams. The result was the SV16, representing the side-valve 16 meaning that one exhaust and one intake valve per cylinder was allocated for the eight cylinders. By using the name SV16, it gave the vehicle an allure of equal capacity to other nameplates such as the Cadillac and Marmon V16. The SV-16 came equipped with a windshield safety glass and hydrostatic brakes. The chassis sat lower than most of the competition giving it an advantage through turns. During its production run, around 100 examples were produced.
Following on the heels of the SV16 was the DV-32. The engine featured updraft Schebler carburetors and four valves per cylinder equaling 32 valves and dual overhead camshafts. The power-plant was capable of producing 156 horsepower. The vehicle sat atop of a 145 inch wheelbase and outfitted with Stutz 8 hubcaps. At $6,400 these vehicles were extremely expensive at the time. One notable advance was the 1931 DOHC 32-valve in-line 8 (designed by Fred Duesenberg), called the "DV32" (DV for 'dual valve'). This was during the so-called "cylinders race" of the early 1930s, when makers of expensive cars were rushing to produce multi-cylinder engines. While Stutz did not have the resources to design and tool a new engine, the DV32 was produced in larger numbers than any of its competitors, who were advertising 12- and 16-cylinder engines in their own cars.
Stutz’s DV-32 began with the original Stutz Vertical Eight that had debuted in 1926. As the company did not have the funds on hand to design a completely new engine, they had to make do with this mill for five years, continuously fine-tuning and upgrading it. The DV-32 featured the last iteration of the powerplant, which began as a 322-cubic inch former BB engine that had been redesigned by Charles “Pop” Greuter, the dean of the Stutz engineering department, to include dual overhead camshafts and angled valves above the hemispherical combustion chambers. It was this arrangement that gave the engine its lasting title: the “Dual-Valve 32,” for its four valves per cylinder, with 32 in total.
The upgraded engine produced some 156 horsepower, which was about the same horsepower-per-cubic-inch ratio of the Duesenberg Model J, and this was directed to the rear axle through a Warner three-speed transmission. With a lightweight body, as found on the example offered here, a DV-32 was swift, flexible, and capable of not only 90 mph but also outrunning just about everything but the inevitable.
Only about 200 examples of the DV-32 were delivered during Stutz’s waning days, which finally came to an end in 1935 after a valiant attempt at survival through light truck production. The survivors have long been held among the most valuable and desirable of Stutzes, and they are among the most pleasurable automobiles of their era to drive.
The DV-32 was offered with both factory-built and semi-custom bodies, among them “Chateau Line” offerings by Indianapolis’s Weymann American Body Company, American licensees of the French Weymann body-construction method. Charles Weymann’s design employed a hardwood inner structure, similar to other automobile bodies of the era but covered in layers of cotton batting and fabric, with an outer layer of colored Zapron synthetic leather rather than metal. This design was well suited to performance chassis such as the DV-32, as it was flexible and lightweight, with the bonus of being quiet and “squeakproof.” Perhaps the most dramatic Chateau Line offering was the Monte Carlo, a five-passenger sport sedan with an unusually low roofline and windows and a fully integrated luggage compartment within a smoothly curving tail.
The Monte Carlo was available on DV-32 chassis from 1931 through to 1933. Shortly after production began, a new variant was introduced: the availability of Monte Carlo bodies with more resilient aluminum, no doubt in response to the frustration caused by owners of Zapron-paneled cars over the need for constant repairs. According to the September 8, 1931, issue of The Safety Stutz, these bodies were “special custom built,” indicating that the aluminum paneling was available only to particular customer order.
The Stutz 8 was produced from 1926 through 1935. The engine produced just over 90 horsepower. Within a few years, horsepower had been incrased to over 115.
The 1927 Black Hawk Speedster was the modern successor to the legendary Stutz Bearcat of the Brass Era, and it was the first “boattail” speedster to be produced by a major American manufacturer. With its powerful straight-eight engine, which was fed by dual Zenith carburetors, and a strong chassis with underslung worm drive and lightweight Robbins bodywork, it was able to capture the Stevens Trophy Cup at Indianapolis, as well as the AAA Stock Car Championship. It was, simply put, America’s fastest production car, but with power and sensual style to spare.These sports cars were affordable, competitive, and compact; outfitted with a powerful engines.
The new single overhead camshaft eight-cylinder engine was joined by hydraulic brakes, safety glass, a lower ride height, and more. Continual development brought Lockheed hydraulic brakes for 1927 and displacement and power increased for the Series BB of 1928. That was the same year Stutz contested the 24 Hours of LeMans, where Stutz led much of the race and finished second only to Bentley.
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