Sports & Classics of Monterey

12-14 August 2010


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Lot 356

1930 Stutz Model M Supercharged Coupe

Sold for $660,000

Est. 185 bhp, 325 cu. in. inline eight-cylinder engine with single overhead camshaft and supercharger, four-speed manual gearbox, semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 134.5"

- From the estate of Mr. John M. O'Quinn

- One of just two supercharged Stutz motor cars known to exist

- Owned long-term by famed Stutz collector A.K. Miller

- Comprehensively sorted by prior owner Skip Barber

- Multiple award-winner, including Best in Class at Pebble Beach

Stutz’s racing and sales successes continued through World War I, but by 1919, Harry C. Stutz lost control of his company to a Wall Street syndicate whose financial machinations ultimately led to the de-listing of Stutz from the New York Stock Exchange. Harry Schwab of Bethlehem Steel, whose mismanagement nearly led to the marque’s demise, then acquired the company.

Salvation came with the arrival of Hungarian-born Frederick E. Moskovics, a veteran of Daimler, Franklin and Marmon. He had, as the saying goes, gasoline in his veins and proved it with the introduction in 1926 of the Stutz Vertical Eight, an engineering and stylistic tour de force that included a SOHC inline eight-cylinder engine, hydrostatic brakes, safety glass and worm drive for a lower overall profile. It was the progenitor of the Model M, surely the most European of US automotive designs of the era.

This particular Stutz is even more European than most, having been originally sold by the company’s main UK dealer, Warwick Wright Ltd. of London, who also supplied the supercharged cars for Stutz’s famed assault on the Le Mans 24-hour race in 1929. It is also one of just two supercharged Stutz motor cars known to exist. This car’s one-off, dramatic coachwork is by Lancefield of London, with design trademarks including low and streamlined “gun-turret” tops, “helmet” wings, teardrop step-plates instead of running boards and many lovely louvers along the lower-body chassis covers.

A perfect period image of the Lancefield Coupe was rendered in the November 22nd, 1929 edition of the renowned UK motoring magazine, The Autocar. The earliest owner(s) of this stunning example is unfortunately not known, however the Lancefield Coupe was an important part of the astonishing Vermont-based Stutz collection of the late A.K. Miller and remained unrestored for decades while in his ownership.

At the estate auction, a well-known West Coast collector became the Lancefield Coupe’s new owner. An exceptional restoration ensued, and the Stutz was refinished in the attractive original color scheme of black with red. The owner then entered it in the 1997 Beijing-Paris Motor Challenge, a grueling 45-day event. The restoration was literally hours old with no test miles registered on the odometer when the car was shipped to China. Nonetheless, the Stutz performed valiantly until a lack of critical spare electrical parts forced a reluctant withdrawal from the event.

Next, the Lancefield Coupe was invited to the 50th Anniversary edition of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where its stunning style and rakish appearance attracted great attention. There, it was so well prepared that the judges awarded it Best in Class, along with the Briggs Cunningham Award for the most exciting car present, as chosen by a special committee of judges.

Following that, it was consigned to RM’s Auto Salon & Auction held in New York City on September 23rd, 2000, where noted collector Skip Barber of Connecticut acquired it. As a former racing driver and the operator of the race driving school that bears his name, Mr. Barber drives his cars regularly on the challenging secondary roads of northern Connecticut. When he first took delivery of the car, it looked and, in fact, was concours-level in its appearance, but Barber subjected the car to a thorough mechanical sorting to ensure that its driving dynamics matched its stunning appearance.

The gearbox, clutch, steering, starter motor, electrical system and other items were identified for rectification after many of Barber’s test drives. Accordingly, the car was sent to Holman Engineering in Springfield, Massachusetts during 2003. George Holman, a mechanical engineer, is a well-known Stutz expert and has raced a Stutz Black Hawk Speedster in VSCCA events. The supercharger was completely rebuilt with modern internals and fitted with a rebuilt proper carburetor. The remainder of the mechanical work was completed by Holman between 2003 and 2005, with the car now performing strongly, exactly as it should. The Lancefield Coupe continued its winning ways in 2006, with the car earning Best of Show at the Greenwich Concours.

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.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more