Stutz Model M Vertical Eight Town Car
The Stutz’s attributes naturally attracted the attention of custom coachbuilders who were quick to recognize that its chassis’ low profile and ample power gave them greater latitude in design, construction and execution than its contemporaries. It was on account of these natural refinements that coachbuilder LeBaron, while mostly known for their construction of sporting and boattail bodies on Stutz chassis, chose to execute this stunning Open Drive Town Car on the 1929 Model M chassis. LeBaron utilized the long wheelbase chassis, powered with the race proven Vertical Eight engine, to create a simple yet striking Town Car that is entirely coachbuilt in its appearance.
Formerly owned by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Kughn, this LeBaron Open Drive Town Car is widely recognized by both Stutz enthusiasts and marque specialists as likely being the only remaining example from 1929 with this specific coachwork. It is also thought, though not for certain, that this particular example was owned from new by noted actor Raymond Massey. Massey, along with his brother Vincent, who in his own right rose to great prominence as the Governor General of Canada, were members of the famed Canadian Massey/Harris agricultural and farm equipment manufacturer family. Raymond Massey, while defying the will of his parents following his matriculation from Oxford University in England, went off to Hollywood as an aspiring actor. He rose to the upper echelon of the film industry, rapidly landing his first talking role in The Speckled Band as Sherlock Holmes. Massey continued to enjoy stardom as an actor with leading roles in films like The Old Dark House, The Scarlet Pimpernal and Abe Lincoln in Illinois, for which his stellar performance earned him a Pulitzer Prize.
It is unknown how long the Stutz was owned by Massey, and unfortunately, its ensuing history is also not recorded. However, as this car was the only known example like it, further investigation into its history may prove rewarding for the next owner. Mr. and Mrs. Kughn purchased the Stutz in 1985 and subsequently restored the car to concours condition.
The Stutz also seems to possess many of its original parts, though now restored, including items like the data tags and instrumentation. The car is finished in black with a black roof, black leather driver’s compartment and a lovely beige cloth rear compartment appointed with lavish amenities. The car has a Waltham Eight Day Clock and Stewart Warner speedometer.
It is a stunning and expansive car when viewed in person, as it seems to strike a chord with many Classic Era fans at concours and events across the country, including Meadow Brook where it was awarded “Most Elegant Car” in 1993. Photos of the Stutz prior to and during the restoration show what a thorough job was performed and that the car was a truly complete, correct and original example. This 1929 Stutz Open Drive Town Car would be a suitable entry in many concours events across the country and is a desirable and rare Full Classic from the thoroughbred Stutz marque.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2010 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.
115 bhp, 322 cu. in. single overhead camshaft inline eight-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, front and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs, independent four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 145"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel