The lone Stutz vintage car in the country, one of the earliest racing cars manufactured by the US-based Stutz company between 1913 and 1938, has found a new home in the capital.Delhi-based vintage automobile collector Diljeet Titus purchased the race car of 1929 make from a collector in Godhra, Gujarat. The sleek automobile, under renovation now, will be ready to hit the vintage auto rally and exhibition trail in September.
"The car originally belonged to the former ruler of Baria in Gujarat, who was passionate about fast cars. He visited a salon in New York in 1929, saw the Stutz in the top league of cars and ordered one. The car had a right-hand drive. It was shipped to him in 1930," Titus told IANS.
The king (or the mahrol as he was known) had sold it to a friend in Godhra, who wrote in his diary that if the custody of the car was ever to pass on after his death, his kin should approach Manvendra Singh of the erstwhile royal family of Barwani in Madhya Pradesh, an automobile historian, car collector and author of the book "Automobiles of the Maharajas".
"After the collector's death, his son sought out Manvendra Singh, who put me on to the car," Titus said.
The four-passenger speedster, a Senior Stutz belonging to the 'M' series, is essentially a race-car prototype adapted for everyday use. Toned cigarette yellow and black, it was one of the early American automobiles characterised by advanced engineering, low centre of weight and an Excelsior racing engine, similar to that used by the Deusenberg car, another racing automobile. The 115 hp Stutz can rev up to 90 miles per hour.
"I am restoring the car now. I have bought all the literature associated with it, including vintage advertisements and company brochures from ebay to know more about the car and its make," Titus said.
The Stutz that was sold by the company under the catch line "The Car That Made Good in a Day" has an interesting history.
According to the June 1956 issue of the automobile magazine "Road & Track", the first car that the company built in 1911 as a pilot model was placed 11th in the 500-mile Indianapolis car race. Since then, the car came to be known as a racing car. Only 345 Stutz models survive across the world.
The Stutz company was owned by Charles M Schwab. HC Stutz was its first president.