Class Sponsor

Year: 1927

Manufacturer: Stutz

Model: AA

Country: USA

Owner(s):
Jim Callahan

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1927 Stutz AA

The original owner of this 1927 Stutz AA sedan was Paul Sloane, a lawyer who worked for PG&E and lived in the Upper Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland, California (where the current owner lives today). He was stationed in France after WWI and married a French woman – when they came to live in Oakland he built a modest but elegant house that featured barrel vaulted ceilings and built-in gumwood file cabinets and bookcases in his office. A steep driveway led down to a garage under the house where the Stutz was kept.

Late in his life Mr Sloane and the Stutz had made their way across the Bay and were living in San Francisco. As the story goes, around 1980 Mr. Sloane walked to a local business but couldn’t remember where he lived or how to get home. A good samaritan helped him find his house and discovered the Stutz in the garage, trapped there by a water heater that had been installed blocking the car’s exit.

The samaritan hastily negotiated the purchase of the car, called a plumber to unplumb the water heater and hauled the car to his workshop back in Oakland. He immediately began plans for restoration but thankfully these never progressed beyond the acquisition of materials, and the car ended up sitting nearly two more decades before the current owner purchased it in 1997 with 38,000 miles on the odometer.

Getting the Stutz roadworthy was quite a challenge. After replacing the distributor and the 16 spark plugs the SOHC engine roared to life with minimal tinkering, but the car retained its original “water brakes” – an early hydraulic four-wheel brake system utilizing rubber bladders on each wheel that were inflated by a water/alchohol mixture to activate the brake shoes.

The current owner was reliably informed by Stutz experts that he’d be taking his life in his hands if he took to the road with this braking system even if it was working perfectly (Stutz had replaced the system at no charge for most owners in the years immediately following manufacture). After much searching he was able to secure conventional Lockheed brakes as used by Stutz in 1928 and fit them to the car.

The Stutz was ready for the road again in 1999 and has since been driven about 6000 miles since then, including a round trip from Oakland to Los Angeles and well as several Modoc tours in Northern California and Oregon. In Modoc the Stutz was a favourite of the late Phil Hill who after an extended drive commented, “nothing drives like an original car”.

Today the Stutz remains completely original and unrestored inside and out, having covered about 44,000 miles since new. The engine has never been apart and although it burns a fair amount of oil it still has plenty of power and can maintain highway speeds for hours. The original paint shows lots of “patina” and the upholstery has had its share of moth damage but it has a great look and feel and the owner says he’ll never change it.

I’ve included one photo that shows my 1927 AA sedan with my other two unrestored Stutz automobiles: 1928 model BB Rumble Seat Coupe (all original, 8000 miles, first in class Pebble Beach pre-war preservation 2007) and 1932 DV-32 sport sedan, LeBaron (all original, 22000 miles, first in class Pebble Beach pre-war preservation 2012). The two Pebble Beach winners have since been sold, and the 1927 AA sedan is the owner’s last Stutz!

Gallery

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