We return to our protection of the reborn and neoclassically-targeted Stutz Motor Company now, at a level of sizeable change in the company’s product portfolio. “Portfolio” might be a bit generous, but for a couple years the company did generate a handful of different designs.
Due to the fact Stutz was relaunched in 1970 its major giving was the Blackhawk coupe, in both its initial 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix basis and downsized B-body Pontiac Bonneville basis. But Stutz CEO James O’Donnell generally desired a real convertible in the Stutz lineup. That would like was finally understood with the Bearcat II.
O’Donnell very first experimented with a convertible in the canceled d’Italia prototype, and then produced a similar car a fact with the introduction of the 1979 Bearcat convertible. Like the up to date Blackhawk, the new Bearcat was primarily based on the outdated Grand Prix for accurately one 12 months. Then it switched to turn out to be a B-human body Bonneville like its coupe sibling.
Not a real convertible, the Bearcat bowed to US rollover regulation and had a fixed targa bar. It was a really costly and really constrained manufacturing auto, and it is complicated to obtain video clips or usable images of the B-physique Bearcat right now. But it lived in its original structure by circa 1986, when the two Blackhawk and Bearcat creation trickled into nothingness.
As we uncovered in our final entry, in 1987 the Bearcat manufactured the leap to the F-body system and shrunk even further as it turned the most high-class Pontiac Firebird at any time created. A true Stutz convertible, O’Donnell’s topless desire was at last realized in the Bearcat II. But it also meant a new course for what was now the company’s only presenting.
And the course was general performance. By the mid-Eighties, the individual luxurious coupe segment was on its downward slide. The big-block V8 was a factor of the previous, and neoclassical styling was on its way out far too. The Stutz customers from 1970 to 1975 who lived in Hollywood and lined up to buy an insanely high-priced Blackhawk had moved on (probable to European steel) or ended up useless.
The Bearcat II followed the styling of the B-body Blackhawk and Bearcat as finest it could presented its downsizing, regulation prerequisites, and the point that it was a convertible and not a targa. At the front close, the very pleased chromed Stutz schnoz trapped out about as significantly as it did earlier as an extension of the hood. Perched aside it ended up the quad freestanding headlamps and driving lamps. They persisted as 1 of the most noteworthy attributes of the Stutz, and the most Exner-like facet of the car that remained.
Offered the placement of the indicator lenses, it would seem Stutz carried around the aged B-body Bearcat bumper on to the Bearcat II. In its new sportier application it missing 50 percent its chrome trim and was primarily black. It also experienced a extended cap on the corner that wrapped close to the front fender and towards the wheel.
The overhang on the Bearcat II was far more noteworthy than its predecessor presented the car’s shorter wheelbase, and the simple fact that the overhangs on a Firebird were not usually as substantial as individuals on a rear-push Bonneville. For the to start with time on a Stutz coupe, the fender indicator lens migrated into the bumper.
In front of the grille, the double chrome hoops that connected the two sections of the bumper ended up turned into a far more angular solitary bar. In the middle of the grille, the earlier chromed vertical split was generally gold on the Bearcat II.
Certainly gold was a new exterior concept for the II: The shade appeared on the centers and wheel lugs of wheels that were now a shade-matched lace structure (or at times gold). Onlookers would spot them right away as a painted Firebird Trans Am wheel, but the outdated Bearcat’s serious wires wouldn’t have slice it on a sporty coupe in 1987.
A chrome trim strip together the human body began just where it did on the outdated Bearcat, suitable beside the grille. It produced its way all-around the hood and followed the driving lamp awnings that built up the fender. Then it flowed down the aspect of the physique. In a revisit to the 1970 Blackhawk’s style and design, the trim strip lay atop a protruding character line (recall the B-human body variation was easy).
At the rear wheel, the line kicked upward all over the tire and nevertheless existed as an extension from the physique. It followed around to a new rear conclude that was an amalgam of the first and next-era Blackhawk. The 6 circular brake and indicator lamps carried in excess of from the latter Blackhawk, but the spare tire returned to its exposed condition and protruded from the back of the vehicle like the first Exner design.
It was all a lesser scale, as the F-human body was narrower than the B-physique and essential much less of a cut-out for its smaller tire. Moreover, regulation necessary the CHMSL to keep exactly where GM put it. Stutz acquired about this with the development of a ridge earlier mentioned the trunk spot, form of like a porch move. This ridge light into the leather-based tonneau address for the prime when it was saved away, and created a wedge shape driving the travellers.
Rear bumpers have been a mirror impression of those at the front, which assisted for parts sharing. Other trim features integrated the much more formal and absolutely free-standing aspect mirrors from a C-body Cadillac Fleetwood and a thick chrome bar together the lessen doorway sill. The chrome bar was only for design purposes and was as beneficial as the holdout chromed aspect exhausts. Said exhausts were being capped on the Bearcat II with red to really show how pointless they were being.
Inside, the F-body Bearcat II was not as distanced from its roots as the outdated B-overall body Bearcat and Blackhawk. For the initial time, Stutz ditched its Seventies centre console edit and went for the Coat Every little thing in Wood and Leather-based tactic. The initial action was a thick slathering of wooden that replaced the low-cost GM plastic of the Firebird. The wooden trim was authentic and appeared to be a dim walnut. In the heart of the sprint was golden script that go through “Stutz Blackhawk II,” but there was no longer an engraved ownership plate on the glove box lid.
Stutz eradicated the stepped appear of the Firebird sprint and created a clean floor for the II, with a ongoing piece of wooden that ran across the cabin. Vents were being round rather of the squares on the Pontiac and ringed in gold. Gauges were backed in a white gold color but have been normally Pontiac gauges.
The very same went for the HVAC and stereo, which were being regular GM fare with new mild gold experience plates on them. Wood trim continued above the center stack and about the heart console. The console by itself was trimmed in good leather that prolonged up and all around the perimeter of the sprint. These edits did make a variance, as the Firebird’s inside in 1987 was not all that incredibly hot. Thick wooden slabs had been inserted at the tops of the doors, and doorway panels ended up covered in thoroughly ruched leather-based.
Ruching continued onto the leather-based seats but was not as plentiful. Talking of seating, the Bearcat II took immediately after the OG early 1900s Bearcat and was a two-seater. The spot driving the entrance seats was included in color-matched leather to the relaxation of the interior. Not just a parcel shelf, Stutz additional two pull-out drawers for storage. On the shelf space, two pieces of customized leather luggage rested on a finely grained stretch of leather.
The trunk of the Bearcat II was not exceptionally valuable, as Stutz took the presently modest cargo place of a Firebird, additional a trunk lid, and then utilised most of the house for the flamboyantly mounted spare tire. The minimal house that remained was covered in thick shag carpeting that matched the car’s exterior somewhat than the inside.
So did the at last realized convertible convert the company’s fortunes all over? No. As the Bearcat II entered generation, the relaxation of the Stutz empire was on a steep downward decline. And by the time it went on sale the corporation had a new owner and a product portfolio of a person car or truck. Extra on that upcoming time.
[Images: Stutz, YouTube]
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