The Stutz Bearcat was known as the sportiest car of its day. Harry Stutz was the designer and builder of his first car in 1912, which raced in the inaugural Indianapolis 500. The car finished 11th in the race and thus earned the reputation of "The Car That Made Good In A Day."
This exceptional 1920 Stutz Bearcat Series H represents the culmination of the growing design excellence of the Bearcat through the years. Note that the ingress and egress are via the passenger side running board with a step plate, i.e. there are no doors. This motor car sports Stutz's fabulous 360 inch, 16 valve four-cylinder engine, producing 83 horsepower.
Harry Stutz was one of the industry's great automotive pioneers who designed and built automobiles of enduring value. Their beauty and design created great demand for their cars 100 years ago and that demand still exists today.
This beautiful vehicle is brought to us by the generosity of owners, Mr. & Mrs. Robert S. Jepson,Jr. of Savannah, Georgia.
As the son of a farmer, Harry C. Stutz grew up tinkering with mechanical objects. Prior to the turn of the twentieth century, young Stutz was repairing and improving implements on his family farm and he soon became enthralled with the burgeoning world of motorized transport. He left home to pursue an engineering education, and in 1897, built his first motorcar, following that with a second that was powered by an engine of his own design and manufacture! He quickly earned a stellar reputation for his talents and was known as a driven, creative, innovator. Stutz landed a job with the American Motor Car Company where he was charged with designing an engine for their most famous model, the Underslung. After a brief spell with American, Harry Stutz formed his own company called “Ideal Motor Car Company” based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The first Stutz automobile, the Model A, which served as the basis for the Bearcat, was built in just five weeks in 1911, and delivered across town to compete in the inaugural Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. An 11th place finish with Gil Anderson behind the wheel earned the slogan: “The Car That Made Good in a Day.” Later that summer, manufacture of the Stutz Model A, a road-going duplicate of the proven Indy racer, began in earnest. Stutz was keen to take advantage of marketing opportunities, with a Stutz Bearcat roadster serving as the pace car at the 1912 Indianapolis 500.
The Ideal Motor Car Company was reorganized into the Stutz Motor Company and the Model A evolved into the Bearcat for 1912. The first series Bearcat was a pared down racer-for-the-road with a light body, monocle windscreen and a pair of bucket seats; in the same ilk as its fierce competitor, the Mercer Race-about. Early cars were powered by a massive T-Head four-cylinder engine supplied by Wisconsin Engines, but later cars received an advanced four-cylinder, sixteen valve engine of Stutz’s own design. This new 360 cubic inch engine, which was derived from that of the White Squadron racers, necessitated an all new chassis to cope with the additional power. The Bearcat’s redesigned chassis was stronger than before, yet still relatively light and quite short at just 120”. Clothing the new framework and engine was an updated, stylish body that was more in keeping with the times. Still overtly sporty, with a single rear mounted spare and no doors, Stutz now offered the Bearcat with reasonable weather equipment and full road trim. The Bearcat came to define Stutz as a brand as well as a car that personified “The Roaring Twenties”, evoking images of young men in raccoon coats flying Ivy League pennants on their prized sports cars. Today they remain massively collectible as few survived the flogging they often received at the hands of their enthusiastic, blue-blooded young owners.
This exceptional 1920 Stutz Bearcat Series H has been treated to a very high-quality restoration and presents in outstanding order. It wears a fabulous color scheme of a dark red main body over black fenders highlighted by a bright red chassis and elephant gray Buffalo wire wheels. The 2003 restoration has been well documented with many photos included. It has since been meticulously maintained and remains in beautiful order. Included documents show it was once owned by a General Motors executive and also spent a great deal of time in the hands of Raymond Katzell, author of the definitive marque reference, “The Splendid Stutz”. The paint work is excellent with very straight panels and very high-quality fit and finish. Originally, the Bearcat was unadorned with heavy brightwork and this example is correctly presented with a black painted radiator shell, polished nickel rings and black-painted barrels on the Stutz headlamps, and a period correct nickel spot lamp on the driver’s side. A Stutz-branded Moto Meter sits atop the radiator and the gated shifter and handbrake lever are mounted outside the cockpit for the ultimate road-racer feel.
The cozy two-place cockpit is trimmed in black leather which remains in excellent order. Ingress and egress are via the passenger side running board and a secondary step plate, which cleverly features an embossed leather pad to protect the body from scuffs when climbing aboard. Compared to earlier models, the series H did have reasonable weather equipment with a full width windscreen and a folding canvas top, and the fitment is exemplary on this Bearcat.
Impressive detailing and presentation continue under the bonnet. Stutz’s fabulous 360 cubic inch, 16-valve four-cylinder produces 83 horsepower and is undoubtedly the centerpiece of this wonderful automobile. Our fine example is correctly finished with a green cylinder block, bare alloy crankcase and plenty of beautifully polished brass and alloy. It presents in exceptionally good condition, runs beautifully, and while it is showing some signs of use since the restoration was completed, it remains incredibly attractive. The chassis and undercarriage are similarly detailed, showing in beautiful condition, reflective of the quality of restoration and careful use this Bearcat has received since.
Harry C. Stutz is one of the great automotive pioneers who should be considered among the greats alongside Ettore Bugatti, Harry Miller and the Duesenberg Brothers. His passion was reflected in the exquisite quality and performance of the cars that bore his name. This outstanding example of one of the most desirable models in Stutz history remains in showable condition and would certainly be an outstanding touring companion given its performance and gorgeous presentation.
Owners: Mr & Mrs. Robert "Bob" Jepson
Robert S. "Bob" Jepson Jr. (from Wikipedia) is a Georgia-based philanthropist and businessman. He founded the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at University of Richmond, and is the current chair of the Georgia Ports Authority.
He is the chair and chief executive officer of Jepson Associates Inc., a private-equity firm and was the founding chair and CEO of The Jepson Corporation.
Mr. Jepson served as chairman of the Board of Curators for the Georgia Historical Society and in 2015, the Georgia Historical Society's Jepson House Education Center was founded, named in honor of Robert and his wife Alice, who made the project possible. The Jepson House serves as the Georgia Historical Society's hub for history-based education around the state.
Mr. Jepson is a former trustee of the University of Richmond and one of its largest financial supporters.
Mr. Jepson has been named a Georgia Trustee by the Georgia Historical Society which governed the Georgia colony from 1732 to 1752. He is married to Alice Andrews Jepson.
Born in 1931, Noel Bangert had a penchant for design – and people noticed. Upon graduation from high school he had planned to go into the ministry, but in his early twenties he changed direction to his other passion – car design.
In the early 1950s, designing your own sports car was all the rage. Magazines showed how to use fiberglass to build bodies and books promoted how to take a concept from two dimensions to full-size prototypes. And believe it or not – people did it. John Bond, owner of Road & Track magazine in the 1950s was quoted as saying that nearly 1,000 or perhaps more hand-built low-production “specials” were constructed in America during that time.
Few Bangert sports cars exist today. No examples of the Bangert Stag have been found and just four examples of his Manta Ray are known to exist. Two of these are race cars and two are sports cars. As for the third and final sports car that Bangert designed and released to the public, that’s for a future story which we’re looking forward to sharing with you soon.
Industrial designer Henry Covington, of St. Petersburg, Florida, set forth to build a car based on the aerodynamic principles of Dr. Augustus Raspet - a noted aerodynamicist. Covington collaborated with fiberglass expert Glenn Gums of Glenn Industries to build his prototype. Six coupes were produced by Caccicraft of Tampa, Florida. Sadly, Henry Covington passed away in May, 1962, and production of the coupes ceased. Glenn Gums moved ahead producing the Tiburon, but with several modifications. He changed the coupe body into a roadster, added doors, and exposed the headlights. Six roadsters were produced between 1962 thru 1965. Both the Tiburon coupe and roadster were designed to take full advantage of contemporary aerodynamic knowledge, and included a belly pan nearly as large as the car. Ultimately, this design led Road & Track magazine in 1966 to recognize Henry Covington’s Tiburon sports car as the most streamlined car in the world.
Voisins were known for their unique body styling done by Gabriel Voisin. These vehicles make use of lightweight materials like aluminum and light alloys. The engine is a 4-cylinder, 1551cc Knight Sleeve Valve Engine. The engine is virtually silent.
Paint and interior done at Tampa Bay Automobile Museum. Vehicle still has the original waxed fabric on the body from 1927. Excellently maintained over the years.