The Golden Era of American Automotive History: The 1930s and the Stutz Super Bearcat

The 1930s stand out as a remarkable era in American automotive history, with 1932 often hailed as its pinnacle. During this golden age, true super sports cars were a rarity, often overshadowed by boulevard sports models like the Auburn Speedsters. Yet, amidst this landscape, Stutz, driven by a passion for sporting cars, crafted what many consider the quintessential American sports car of the decade: the Super Bearcat.

A Visionary’s Ambition: The Birth of the Super Bearcat

Stutz’s creation of the Super Bearcat was fueled by the ambition to showcase the full potential of their innovative DV-32 engine. This remarkable car captured the attention Stutz sought, marking a significant departure from conventional American car design. Frederick Moskovics, the visionary behind Stutz’s “Vertical Eight” cars, aimed to create a formidable American Gran Turismo car to rival European counterparts.

Innovative Design and Engineering

Breaking the norms of the era, Moskovics incorporated several advanced features into the Super Bearcat:

  • Overhead Cam Engines: Pioneering the use of overhead camshaft technology in American sports cars.
  • Four-Speed Transmissions: Offering more versatility and performance.
  • Low Chassis with Worm-Drive Axles: Enhancing stability and handling.
  • European-Style Coachwork: Bringing a touch of European elegance and sophistication to American roads.

Dominance in Motorsports

Stutz’s motorsport endeavors further solidified its reputation. The company dominated AAA stock car racing in 1927 and made a significant impression at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1928, showcasing its engineering prowess. In response to the evolving automotive landscape, Stutz developed the DV-32 engine, which featured twin-overhead camshafts and a cross-flow design, significantly boosting power.

The Legacy of the DV-32 Engine

Despite Stutz’s withdrawal from factory-supported racing, privateer entries continued to compete with Stutz cars at Le Mans until 1932. The DV-32 engine epitomized Stutz’s commitment to innovation and propelled American automotive engineering forward during a transformative period.

The 1930s and the Stutz Super Bearcat represent a golden age in American automotive history, characterized by innovation, ambition, and a passion for performance. Stutz’s legacy continues to inspire automotive enthusiasts and serves as a testament to the era’s remarkable achievements.


Source: Bonhams

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