The beautiful car shown in this article is the 1929 Stutz M Le Baron Phaeton.
One of the more interesting early American automaker story is that of Harry C. Stutz and his Stutz Motor Car Company. Stutz was an engineer and became involved with automobiles right after the turn of the century in 1903. Interestingly enough, the first company Stutz founded in 1910 was the Stutz Auto Parts Company. Shortly afterwards the company got into auto building and the Stutz Motor Car Company was founded.
Born at the Indianapolis 500
One of the more interesting facts regarding the Stutz Motor Car Company was that it's very first automobile was built specifically for the 1911 Indianapolis 500 Race. The first Stutz car was built in just five weeks and upon completion was taken immediately to Indianapolis for the first running of this historic race. The car finished in first place which led to the Stutz slogan, "The car that made good in a day". Speed and reliability were the goals of the company and they certainly went on to achieve those goals.
During the 1929 model year the Stutz Motor Car Company sold a little over 2,300 automobiles. This of course was prior to the Great Depression and as we have pointed out in several other articles, the Great Depression took it's toll on most automakers one way or another. In the case of the Stutz Motor Car Company, it went out of business in 1934 in the middle of the depression. As an example of the weakness caused by the bad economy, in 1930 Stutz sold only around 1,500 cars compared to the 2,300+ in 1929. Things continued downhill and tough from there.
The most popular and most remembered car from the Stutz Motor Car Company was the "Bearcat" that stayed in production until 1925. The Bearcat was essentially considered a race car.
While the Bearcat didn't have interior amenities you'd expect in a high priced automobile, the relatively light weight car coupled with it's power made it quite popular with racers. After the Bearcat went out of production inn 1925, the Stutz aim was to replace the racers with luxurious automobiles. What the Bearcat did surely achieve was to give Harry Stutz a permanent place in automotive history.
The Stutz Le Baron Phaeton
The chassis design of the Stutz attracted the attention of custom coach builders who easily recognized that its low profile and great power gave them greater options in design, construction and execution than its competitors.
It was because of this that a coachbuilder such as LeBaron's company, while mostly known for their construction of sporting and boattail bodies on Stutz chassis, elected to build this amazing Open Drive Town Car on the 1929 Model M chassis.
LeBaron used the long wheelbase chassis, powered with the race proven Vertical Eight engine, to create a simple yet eye catching Town Car that is entirely coach built in its appearance. Founded in Bridgeport Connecticut in 1920, Le Baron was considered a prominent coach builder during the 1920's.
Links to two additional AutoMuseumOnline photo articles you'll find interesting include the:
1929 Stutz M Le Baron Phaeton Specs
All Stutz automobiles in 1929 were Model M's. Every one was also powered with a 322 cid, 185 horsepower overhead camshaft straight-eight engine.
The 1929 Model M wheelbase was 134.5 inches. The braking system was composed of Lockheed vacuum-assisted, 4-wheel hydraulic drum brakes and the vehicle had Lovejoy dual hydraulic shock absorbers.
The Stutz Motor Car Company's 1929 M Series Le Baron models featured an auxiliary trunk, a rumble seat, and dual side-mount spare tires and wire wheels. This was a fancy car and looked terrific. The 1929 Stutz Model M Le Baron had performance, style and quality.
A Great Collector's Car
First of all, by the very fact that so few Stutz automobiles were produced as compared to many of it's competitors, the cars are rare. Beautifully restored Stutz models are even rarer. A finely restored 1929 Stutz Model M Le Baron could obtain around $300,000 to $500,000 plus at auction.
(Photos from author's collection)