One Stutz that garnishes more attention than most others is this Lancefield Coupe. Not only is this one of the most striking body and interior designs on a Stutz, but the chassis is one of a few surviving supercharged models. In its time, this supercar must have had very little comparable competition.
In 1926, Frederick D. Moshovicks revived Stutz by launching new eight cylinder cars and this 1929 Model M represents the pinnacle of this rebirth. Before this time, Harry C. Stutz had built a good reputation racing at the Indy 500 and producing some of America’s first sports cars.
Over 2300 Model M chassis were made and each shared the same SOHC Straight Eight engine which powered the company’s first finish at LeMans. Like the LeMans car, our feature Stutz uses a supercharger which was originally ordered on only 24 road-going cars. This $1500 option used a Roots-type supercharger that was driven directly from the crankshaft. Engaged by a clutch and controlled by a knob on the dashboard, this unit raised pressure to 4bar and offered 10 to 17% more horsepower according to The Motor. But what really sets this car apart from most other Stutzs is its body style.
When new, chassis number 31312 was shipped to The Lancefield Coachworks in London to receive one of the most sinister of all prewar bodies. This was probably commissioned by Warwick Wright Ltd. who originally sold the car. The result included a chopped roofline, prominent hood and clean lines which must have made quite a sight at the Warwick Wright showroom in London. Most of the design traits found in Lancefield’s body later became popularized by a generation of hot rodders.
It should be no surprise then, that this car was part of the most dedicated collection of Stutzs in the world. A.K. Miller was the collector who included this car with a stable of thirty other unrestored Stutzs along with countless spares and literature in Vermont. When it came time to part the A.K. Miller collection, the Lancefield Coupe was in need of much work, but still managed to fetch $151,000 USD at Christie’s auction in 1996. It was then comprehensively restored back to its original configuration minus the Weyman-type fabric which originally covered the body.
During restoration, all the great details of 31312 had to be refurbished and upon completion areas such as the exquisitely appointed interior with its adjustable seats and lavish woodwork could again be appreciated. Once back together the Stutz was used at the 1997 Peking to Paris Rally. Later it was shown at Pebble Beach and awarded a Best in Class. Not long afterward it was sold at RM Auctions’ Auto Salon & Auction in New York City on September 23, 2000 for $348,000 USD to Skip Barber. He had Holman Engineering in Springfield, Massachusetts ensure the car was in 100% running condition.
In Skip’s hands the Lancefield Stutz saw limited use, but he did win Best of Show at the 2006 Greenwich Concours dElegance before offering it at auction only months later. It was sold again on August 6th by RM Auctions at the Meadow Brook Concours dElegance and described as ”Faster than a Speed Six Bentley and better looking than any closed Hispano Suiza H6C, this astonishing stutz provides a very tempting alternative to those classic sporting cars.” With an estimate of $500,000 – $700,000 it sold for $715,000 USD.
In the summer of 2006, the Stutz joined the private collection of the late Mr. John O’Quinn. A unique classic and a true thoroughbred indeed, the Lancefield Coupe remains virtually flawless and equally welcome at international concours, tours and vintage rallies. Its spectacular body design, powerful supercharged engine, rarity and careful ownership make it perhaps the most significant Stutz motor car in existence, as well as an unparalleled object of pure desire.
As the description in the 1996 A.K. Miller auction catalog correctly predicted, “This striking motor car holds the potential to become one of the premier entrants on the international Concours d’Elegance circuit.” Now that the restoration is complete, the Pebble Beach prizes have been won and the mechanicals have been expertly sorted, those words still ring true today