<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354

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Lot 139
Offered from the Clem and Mary Lange Collection
1912 Stutz Bearcat

Sold for US$ 643,000 inc. premium
1912 Stutz Bear Cat
Chassis no. A163
Engine no. A354
389ci Wisconsin T-Head 8-Valve 4-Cylinder Engine
Single Updraft Carburetor
60bhp (Tested)
3-Speed Manual Transaxle
Front and Rear Leaf Spring Suspension
Rear-Wheel Drum Brakes

* The earliest known extant Stutz automobile
*Known history back to the 1940s
*Well-maintained, exhaustively researched restoration
*Well-known in the Stutz community


THE STUTZ BEARCAT

Henry C. Stutz's nascent company "Made Good in A Day," as its slogan claimed, when the prototype completed the first Indianapolis 500, a rigorous test that devoured many more proven automobiles. Stutz's well-known engineering prowess, combined with that success, soon made the company's products popular with wealthy customers who enjoyed the power of the T-head four-cylinder engine. Most iconic was the company's sporting model, the Bear Cat, later known as the Bearcat beginning in 1913. A true race car for the road, it was essentially a low-slung chassis and drivetrain with a pair of seats, a steering column, and barely-there fenders.

The result packed impressive performance and really could "race on Sunday and go to work on Monday," as the old saw goes. In 1912, Stutz won 25 out of 30 competitions entered thanks to the Bear Cat. To use a cliche, it really was a legend in its own time, developing a fabled rivalry with the Mercer Raceabout.

Today, like the Mercer, this model is widely considered one of the ultimate Americans automobiles of the Brass Era – and justly so. Examples figure into some of the world's prominent and selective collections, and they still deliver to their owners a driving experience unlike anything else, with wind in the face, T-head four throbbing, and exhaust burbling.

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

The provenance of many of the surviving Bearcats is mysterious as best. Not so with the example offered here, serial no. A163; reportedly built in the autumn of 1911, it is considered by the Stutz Club to be the earliest surviving example of the marque. Longtime Club member Judge Raymond L. Drake first spotted it in somewhat tired, incomplete but original condition in the California collection of Jack Wadsworth in 1960. Inquiring about the car, Judge Drake was informed that the Bear Cat had been acquired in the 1940s from Addison Brown, said to have been the nephew of the first Los Angeles Stutz dealer. Mr. Wadsworth further noted that the younger Brown had owned several Bearcats and raced them during the Teens and Twenties. At the time, the car's owner believed that, because of its numerous mechanical differences from the 1913 Bearcats he had known, the car was likely to have been a prototype for the model. He listed his automobile in the Antique Automobile Club of America's 1961 roster.

Judge Drake was enthralled by the car and began researching the early Bear Cats, and in doing so ascertained to his satisfaction that the car was likely an early 1912 Series A, which indeed boasted numerous small differences from the later examples. These included a Wisconsin engine finished in black, with jugs of a slightly different design and an oil indicator on the left rear of the oil pan; a smaller, lighter transaxle; Dorian 25-inch wheels; a unique steering wheel with different spark and throttle quadrants; and, as-original, no electric starter. These cars were also originally delivered with flat hood sides.

In 2001 the Stutz resurfaced, two owners after Mr. Wadsworth, and Judge Drake acquired it with the assistance of noted Stutz authority Paul Freehill. Beginning in 2007 an exhaustive restoration effort began, incorporating many hundreds of hours of research, spent digging deep into automotive libraries and analyzing as many original photos of early Bear Cats as could possibly be found. This allowed for the recreation of features such as the 5/8-in. rod running between the ends of the front frame irons, unique to early Stutzes, and a correct interior with button-tufted seats. Unique but apparently authentic features such as a band-type Warner clutch, present on the car as long as anyone remembers, were kept intact, and a correct taillamp was sourced at Hershey. Mr. Drake's history with the car is well-discussed in his article in the April-June 2011 issue of the Stutz News, a copy of which is included in the history file.

Restoration of the Bear Cat was completed in 2008. Afterward the car joined the impressive private museum of the Clem and Mary Lange in 2009. It has been shown at several Concours d'Elegance, including at the Louisville Concours in 2009, at Amelia Island in 2012 where it received the Chubb Trophy for Most Historically Significant Stutz and Keels & Wheels in 2013 where it achieved Best of Show. Significantly it was also one of the cars chosen to appear at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's 100th anniversary Celebration of Automobiles in 2011. It is evident that this was a much-loved automobile and that great joy was taken in sharing it with others.

Still in wonderful overall condition, this Bear Cat, recognized by the Stutz Club as being the earliest known Stutz automobile, exhibits only minor signs of age and use – and all look appropriate, as it has been used and enjoyed as its namesake intended. A recent test drive by a Bonhams specialist demonstrated the car to start quickly and easily and run smoothly, providing plenty of driving pleasure on that occasion! It is a special machine indeed, still radiating the power and glory of its youth, likely spent tearing around Southern California with a raccoon-coated young sport behind the wheel. There is nothing else quite like it.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note this vehicle is titled under its engine no. A354
Contacts
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
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<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
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<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
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<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
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<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
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<b>1912 Stutz Bear Cat  </b><br />Chassis no. A163 <br />Engine no. A354
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Buyers' Premium and Charges

Please Note the Buyer's Premium for this auction is as follows:

The final bid (hammer) price of each lot will be subject to a buyer's premium. For MOTOR VEHICLE property the premium is 12% on the first $250,000 of the bid price and 10% on any amount of the bid price exceeding $250,000. For AUTOMOBILIA and other non-motor vehicle property, the premium is 27.5% on the first $12,500 of the bid price, 25% on the amount above $12,500 up to and including $600,000, 20% on the amount above $600,000 up to and including $6,000,000, and 14.5% of any amount which exceeds $6,000,000.

Bonhams will not charge a Buyer's Premium on Benefit Lots 92 to 95.

Payment Notices

Payment for AUTOMOBILIA and BENEFIT Lots may be made by (a) cashier's check or money order, (b) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (c) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, (d) cash payment up to $10,000, or (e) by credit card.

Payment for MOTORCAR purchases may be made in or by (a) cashier's check or money order, (b) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (c) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer. Please note that cash and credit card payments are not accepted for MOTORCAR lots.

Bonhams encourages contactless payment of invoices prior to collection.

Shipping Notices

For Automobilia shipments, please contact Client Services to receive a quote for post auction shipment, [email protected].

For information and estimates on domestic and international Motorcar transport as well as export licenses please contact the Motorcar Department at [email protected].

Special Car Dealer Notices

, number VI/1087220/1

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Uplift and storage charges

£30 + VAT uplift and storage at £6 + VAT per lot per day.

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