The ex-William G. Lassiter, Jr.
1931 STUTZ DV32 'SPECIAL' SPEEDSTER
Chassis No. DV-28-1285
Engine No. DV-33076
Orange with brown fenders and trim with tan leather interior
Engine: straight-eight, twin overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, 322ci, 156bhp at 3,900rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Suspension: beam axle to front, live axle to rear, half elliptic leaf springs all around; Brakes: vacuum servo-assisted, hydraulically operated drums all around. Left hand drive.
The Stutz Vertical Eight was the product of Frederich Moskovics' conviction that it was time for a new type of luxury car, an automobile bringing together the best attributes of the traditional American quality car with those of thoroughbred European machines. The Vertical Eight made its debut at the 1928 New York Salon and was a show-stopper. Its advanced overhead camshaft, straight eight engine was installed in a double drop chassis of unusual rigidity and low center of gravity, helped by a worm drive rear axle. On such a chassis even conventional sedans and phaeton bodies looked very sleek, enabling Moskovics to develop his plan of providing chassis powerful and stable enough to give sports car performance even to sedans.
As the boom years of the 1920s gave way to the harder times of the 1930s, the Stutzs remained essentially unchanged but greatly improved in detail. Stutzs raced and broke records throughout the U.S., as well as at the Le Mans Grand Prix d'Endurance, where a Stutz finished a very impressive second in 1928. Faced with fierce competition, Stutz unveiled the superlative DV32 in 1931 in an attempt to secure a place in the swiftly dwindling luxury car market. The engine and chassis remained as before, but now there were twin overhead camshafts with four inclined valves for each cylinder. The results were startling as power leapt from 113bhp to 156bhp, and the torque went to a lusty 300lbs/ft. Fully equipped, a Stutz sedan was capable of 80mph - the more sporty, open versions were capable of 105mph.
This Stutz was restored by the well-known Stutz collector, William A. 'Bill' Johnson of Woodbury, New Jersey. At the time, he owned a similar Bearcat Speedster with badly deteriorating coachwork, so he opted to build a new body for the Bearcat. He commisioned specialist, Larry Amsley, to build the body and at the same time he had two additional bodies produced. One was sold to another noted Stutz authority, Ernie Toth. The second spare body was fitted by Bill Johnson to this Stutz chassis and was powered by the desirable DV32 engine. The DV32 was sold to another noted collector in the Northeast who in turn sold the car to William Lassiter in 1990. Mr. Lassiter drove the car sparingly and kept it well-maintained. In 1994 the Stutz DV32 had a complete mechanical overhaul and refurbishment. The brake system, Shebler carburetor and fuel system were all completely disassembled and rebuilt. The engine bay and motor show average road wear, as if this car had registered a number of touring miles. The exterior paint, wire wheels and brightwork also show some wear. The tan top and tan leather interior are both presentable. This DV32 is fitted with attractive Pilot Ray driving lights, European-style yellow bezel fog lamps and dual horns. While the Stutz conforms and passes State vehicle inspection requirements, it should be noted that the lights are disconnected at the moment. This example also comes complete with dual side mount whitewall spare tires and spare mounted side mirrors. The current owner purchased the car in March 1999 from Christie's auction of the William G. Lassiter, Jr. Collection and has used it very little since.
This DV32 Bearcat Speedster would be an excellent candidate for long range touring, as its powerful engine and keen handling make it an attractive driver for the true open touring enthusiast.