Sports & Classics of Monterey

12-14 August 2010


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Lot 356

1930 Stutz Model M Supercharged Coupe

  • Chassis no. 31312

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.

Alain Squindo

Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Sotheby's in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in Histo... read more

Alex Classick

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Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

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Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby's in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born ... read more

Annette Abaci

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With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Barney Ruprecht graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a degree in Hospitality Administration. In ... read more

Dan Warrener

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Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

David Swig

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David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a car specialist in May 2015. He is a lifelong automobile enthusiast and g... read more

Don Rose

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Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

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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

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Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Sotheby's in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in ... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

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Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a restoration shop as a teenag... read more

Max Girardo

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Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby's, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Gra... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

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

Peter Wallman

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United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

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Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

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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

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a car specialist. A... read more