1932 Stutz SV-16 Derham Convertible

Harry C. Stutz was born in Ohio in 1876 where he grew up caring for and repairing agricultural machinery on the family farm. Fascinated by gasoline engines, he built his first car in 1897 followed by a second effort using an engine of his own design and manufacture.

By 1925 the Stutz Motor Car Company was under the stewardship of Frederick Moskovics, who had left Franklin to become Stutz’s new president. Moskovics was responsible for the new Vertical Eight engine in a car that created a sensation among dealers and the public. With eight cylinders and an overhead camshaft, hydrostatic brakes and windshield safety glass, the new model was unlike any other American car of the time. The chassis was just as radical and the cars were noticeably lower than the competition, making them an immediate hit. The SV-16 engine was eventually superceded by the DV-32 with its dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. Whatever engine was chosen, a Stutz was elegant, exclusive and less overpowering than the opulence of some other marques.

The Derham Body Co. was established in 1887 in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, initially catering to the horse-drawn carriage trade. In 1905 Derham turned to motor car coachwork and became particularly well known for catering to the requirements of their wealthy Philadelphia-area clientele. One of their trademarks seems to have been fitting low and raked windshields to their designs, thus giving their cars a truly sporting appearance.

The prefix MB on the chassis number of this car would denote that it is an M model with long wheelbase of 145 inches. The engine number followed by HC refers to it being a high-compression motor. Information from respected Stutz owners in the US suggests that a Mr. Kingsleigh in Pennsylvania owned it in the 1960s. Apparently he used the car regularly and was active in club events. Further research indicates that only a handful-possibly five-of these cars were built with this style body, thereby making them exceedingly rare. This car was displayed at the Hershey meet in the US a number of years ago and joined the present collection in 1990.

This Stutz is now in need of some restoration work to bring it up to par, although the body remains sound with good panel fit. The eye-catching paint scheme has flattened over time, although it would no doubt respond to a good polish, and there are various paint chips. The chromework has pitted with age. We are told the rear brakes are seized due to protracted storage and thus the car has not been run recently. Power steering was fitted at some stage to assist driving.