1929 Stutz Model M Le Baron Phaeton

 

1929 Stutz Model M Le Baron Phaeton

1929 Stutz Model M Le Baron Phaeton

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.

1929 Stutz Model M Series

1929 Stutz Model M Series

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.

1929 Stutz Coupe interior

1929 Stutz Coupe interior

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.

1929 Stutz M Series Le baron front end grille

1929 Stutz M Series Le baron front end grille

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:

1933 Duesenberg Model J and the 1929 Cord L-29.

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)

1939 Chrysler C-24 Custom Parade Phaeton

 

In many ways, the very rare car shown in this article, the Chrysler C-24 Custom Parade Phaeton, was all about the 1939 World's Fair held in New York City. In fact, it's said that the car was created for the World's Fair.

1939 Chrysler Custom Parade Phaeton

1939 Chrysler Custom Parade Phaeton

The Derham Body Company

The Chrysler C-24 Phaeton was a seven passenger limousine. The coach builder was Derham. Three different cars were built on the C-24 frame. These were the Convertible Town Car, the Convertible Sedan and the Turing Phaeton such as the one shown here. The Derham Body Company was founded in 1887 in the western Philadelphia suburbs by Joseph Derham, an immigrant from Ireland. His first custom car body however wasn't built until 1907, some twenty years later. Some of his very first customers were wealthy residents of north Philadelphia.

Derham Body Company had such a great reputation for quality that they even built auto bodies for some of their competitors. Derham's popular slogan was "Your choices are limited only by your imaginations and desires. What you want, we will build."

1939 Chrysler C-24 Phaeton Limousine

1939 Chrysler C-24 Phaeton Limousine

Chrysler and the 1939 World's Fair

The Transportation Zone at the fair was a popular area. As with all commercial exhibitors at the fair, one goal was to sell the company's products. Another aim was to introduce potential customers to new methods of production as well as new materials used. Automakers utilized the 1939 World's Fair as both a selling and educational venue.

Chrysler was very involved and noticed at the 1939 World's Fair in New York. Remember, this was the tenth year after the infamous 1929 stock market crash. The country was limping through the 1930's with high unemployment and various civilian government work programs. Chrysler, for it's part, survived the toughest of the Great depression years by doing a good job selling it's lower cost Dodge and Plymouth models.The Chrysler models were perceived as mid-size automobiles which competed against Cadillac.

1939 Chrsyler C-24 Limousine

1939 Chrsyler C-24 Limousine

Several automakers had elaborate exhibits at the 1939 World's Fair. General Motors had a 36,000 square foot pavilion called "Futurama" . Here visitors were taken over a large diorama of part of the U.S. which highlighted highways, towns and homes, all in miniature. The Ford Pavilion featured race car drivers on a figure eight track on the building's roof top. The driving went on continuously.

Chrysler embraced the World's Fair with several unique exhibits. One was a 3-D film requiring the viewers to wear the special 3-D glasses. It was estimated that some one and one-half million people saw the film that was titled, "In Tune With Tomorrow". The special eyeglasses were in the shape of a Plymouth automobile. The film was recognized as the first time that a mass audience was exposed to a 3-D film. Viewers of Chrysler's film were also sitting in air conditioning which was rather new for the time.

1939 Chrysler Phaeton Limousine front end grille work

1939 Chrysler Phaeton Limousine front end grille work

The 1939 Chrysler Custom Phaeton shown here was on display at the World's Fair at the Chrysler Pavilion. Total Chrysler production for the 1939 model year was 67,749 units. Out of this number there were 117 limousine sedans built. 95 seven passenger sedans and only one of the C-24 Custom Phaeton Limousines which is the one shown in this article. The most popular selling model during Chrysler's 1939 model year was the six cylinder Royal 6. More than 50,000 of these were built. The average Windsor Royal 6 sold new for between $1,000 and $1,300 depending upon options. Manual transmissions were standard equipment. The six cylinder engines provided 100 horsepower.

Chrysler C-24 Limousine side view

Chrysler C-24 Limousine side view

1939 Chrysler C-24 Phaeton Limousine Specs

The 1939 C-24 Chrysler Custom Imperials had essentially the same trim lines as the C-23's. The car was powered by a 324 CID L-Head Inline Eight Cylinder Engine. This produced 132 horsepower. The engine had a total of sixteen valves, two per cylinder. The transmission was a three speed Fluid Drive and the brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum. The C-24's had larger tires than the C-23's and also had better inside trims and features.

The 1939 C-24 had a wheelbase of 144 inches.

The Chrysler limousine's weight was about 4,600 lbs.

Links to two additional AutoMuseumOnline photo articles you'll be interested in are the 1939 Chevrolet Master Deluxe Business Coupe and the 1933 Duesenberg Model J.

(Photos from author's collection)

 

1959 Edsel Corsair Convertible

 

1959 Edsel Corsair

1959 Edsel Corsair

Ford Motor Company's 1959 Edsel line of cars were centered around the Corsair, Ranger and wagons.

The year 1959 was the second of three years for the Edsel line. All Edsel's were built at either Ford or Mercury plants. There never were dedicated Edsel factories. This fact in itself caused some concern at the plants since every so often when an Edsel rolled down the line things like trim, wiring , etc had to be switched.

The beautifully restored car shown in this article is the 1959 Edsel Corsair Convertible. There was a bit of restyling from the 1958 models. Most of this involved a more unified grille, restyled taillights and a redesign of the side trim. Many said that the 59's were a bit more chromier than the 58 models.

Classic Edesl grille

Classic Edesl grille

A Car Named After Edsel Ford

The Edsel line of cars from 1958 to 1960 were named after Edsel Ford. Many will remember two things about  Edsel Ford. One was that he prodded his father, Henry Ford, to make changes and modernization updates to his automobiles, often after quite a struggle. The senior Ford had a reputation of resisting change, even after smart competitive changes were already in place at his competitors. The hydraulic braking system is just one example. Edsel Ford is credited with pushing modernization at Ford Motor after becoming president of the company. Some might say that without Edsel's insistence on more modernization  Ford Motor Company may have fell prey to General Motors or Chrysler.

The second thing people may remember about Edsel Ford was his premature death in May 1943 at the age of 49. Ford died after contracting a fever after stomach cancer surgery,

Edsel Corsair Convertible side trim

Edsel Corsair Convertible side trim

The Short Life of the Edsel

In many ways the failure of the Edsel line has been overdone. Most point out that any new car line which had a life span of only three years was nothing short of a disaster. Financially it was a sort of disaster for Ford since they reportedly invested some $250 million in the car. This was $250 million in 1958 money. Many say that the failure of Edsel almost bankrupted Ford.

So what happened with the Edsel? The target buyer for the car according to Ford Motor was the young professional who may have outgrown the regular Ford line but not enough so to be able to get into a Mercury. The plan was that the Edsel would keep them in a Ford built vehicle while they waited for the money to be able to purchase a higher end Mercury and thus keeping from losing them to Chrysler or General Motors in the meantime. Doesn't sound like a bad plan.

Edsel Corsair front seat and dashboard

Edsel Corsair front seat and dashboard

Ford Motor Company spent a great deal of money on marketing research before designing the Edsel. The feedback received from the target buyer group essentially said that they wanted something aviation looking which was in vogue during the mid 50's. They also desired a hood and grille that brought back images of pre World War Two automobiles.

Links to additional interesting late 1950's photo articles on AutoMuseumOnline include the 1959 Ford Fairlane Retractable Hardtop and the 1957 Pontiac Star Chief Convertible.

1959 Edsel Specs

The 1959 Edsel had a length of 210.9 inches. The wheelbase was 120.0 inches. The vehicles weight was about 3,700 lbs and the new car price was between $2,800 and $3,100. The costliest model in the line was the Corsair Convertible like the one shown here at about $3,100.

Standard in the 1959 Edsel Corsairs were Ford's 332 cid V-8 engine. Optional was the 361 cid.

Edsel name on 1959 Corsair side trim

Edsel name on 1959 Corsair side trim

To give you an idea of Edsel car production figures, during the 1958 model year, which was Edsel's first, there were a total of a little over 60,000 units  built. A total of about 2,800 units were convertibles. These were Pacer and Citation convertibles. During the 1959 model year, Ford built a total of 47,300 Edsels out of which about 1,300 were Corsair Convertibles. This of course makes the 1959 Edsel Corsair Convertible a rare find today. During the 1960 model year, Edsel's last, the company built only about 2,800 Edsel units with about 75 of them being convertibles. So ends the story of the Edsel line of automobiles.

(Photos from author's private collection)