1915 STUTZ MODEL 4F BEARCAT
Chassis No. 4F2548
Engine No. A12380
Dark red with black fenders and black leather interior
Engine: four cylinder, in-line, T-head, 390 ci., 50 bhp; Gearbox: three speed manual; Suspension: semi-elliptic leaf springs, front and rear; Brakes: mechanical, internal expanding. Right hand drive.
In the century long roll call of American automobiles, there have been few more memorably named than the Stutz Bearcat. It conjurs up a stirring, hell-for-leather vision of a big roaring roadster, open to the elements and belting down a country road at a highly illegal rate of speed. Elemental in itself, the Stutz Bearcat is equipped with two basic bucket seats, a big round bolster tank, a trunk bolted down in back and no-nonsense mudguards.
Harry Clayton Stutz conceived the audacious plan of taking the very first car to bear his name to the inaugural Indianapolis 500 to prove its worth! He did just that, using a rugged and powerful Wisconsin T-head engine mated to his own transaxle. Despite a devilish amount of tire failures, the new car managed to place a quite respectable 11th against some very fast purpose-built race cars. To celebrate this showing, Stutz coined the famous slogan The Car That Made Good in a Day.
A year later the splendid Bearcat came along, giving the reigning sportscar of the day, the quick and nimble Mercer Raceabout, a worthy rival on both the track and the highway. The first series T-head Bearcats were among the few true sportscars offered to the public for dual purpose high speed road or race use. The Bearcat was based on Harry Stutz's first Indy race car and was similarly fitted with a powerful T-head, Wisconsin built engine and the Stutz three speed transaxle, with sparse but attractive coachwork and fenders added. These wonderful machines had a look and a bellowing sound that could stir the heart on any sporting enthusiast.
In the spring of 1915, Erwin G. 'Cannonball' Baker took a stock Bearcat (similar to the car offered here) minus its fenders and drove it solo from San Diego to New York City in 11 days, 7 hours and 15 minutes, breaking every existing cross country record. The 'roads' of the day were in horrendous condition and the fact that the Stutz finished with only one broken shock absorber is a testament to the quality and durability of the Bearcat.
Mr. Lassiter's beautifully finished Bearcat was purchased in 1989 from a private collector in the North East. Very few genuine T-head Bearcats have survived and a few authorities believe that this car originally left the factory in touring car form. If it was converted outside of the factory, the work was supremely well executed. In December 1982 this Stutz Bearcat was the featured cover car for The Bulb Horn, the publication of the Veteran Motor Car Club of America. In recent years this Stutz has successfully participated in the Deadhorse Hillclimb at Worcester, MA. It has also been featured in a few vintage car calendars as a premiere example of the famous Bearcat model. As a 1915 example, it is eligible for all Horseless Cariage Club events, as well as the many tours, rallies and other driving events geared to early high performance sports cars.