1918 Stutz Bearcat Rumble-Seat Roadster

Courtesy of Bonhams

Built in just five weeks, Harry Clayton Stutz’s first car did sufficiently well at the 1911 Indianapolis 500, finishing 11th, despite numerous stops for fresh tires, to prompt its creator to set up the Ideal Motor Car Company to manufacture the Stutz.

The first production models were closely based on the successful Indianapolis car and featured proprietary Wisconsin engines and Stutz’s own rear 3-speed transaxle. The Bearcat remained a fixture of the range until the end of the 1924 season, when the installation of Frederick E. Moskovics as company president marked a change of emphasis: From now on, Stutz cars would be aimed at the luxury end of the market.

This car was completed in 1918 at the Stutz factory in Indianapolis, IN, before delivery to the first owner, who is believed by the Stutz Club to be Harry Stutz’s first cousin, Charles Elsworth Stutz. The rare dickey seat and engine-mounting modifications to the crankcase were, reportedly, made after his racing successes with the “Special Bearcat.”

The Stutz comes with a good history file containing sundry restoration invoices, copies of the handbook and technical papers, a V5C document and Stutz Club correspondence. This is a wonderful, powerful, and imposing vintage automobile — and it is ready to use.

Carl Bomstead

Carl Bomstead - SCM Senior Auction Analyst

Carl has been writing for SCM for 19 years. His first article appeared in the February 1997 issue, and at least one of his articles has appeared in every issue since. When he’s not writing, he serves as a National Director for the Classic Car Club of America and tends to his extensive collection of automobilia. He has been a judge at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for the past 20 years, and he also judges at Amelia Island and other major concours. An extensive number of collector cars have passed through his garage, and a 1947 Cadillac 62 Series convertible and a 1968 Intermeccanica Italia are current residents.

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