Cruisin Style — Issue 154
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79 Stutz Bearcat
Dan Wuff

The Stutz Blackhawk was an American luxury car produced from 1971 through 1987. The Stutz Motor Company had been revived by James O’Donnell and Virgil Exner-The designed car was prototyped by Ghia. It debuted in January of 1970 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The prototype cost more than $300,000. The production Blackhawk used Pontiac Grand Prix hardware and Pontiac’s V8 engine.

Exner designed the 1971 Stutz as he thought it would look like if the original Stutz Motor company had stayed in business, and after his design pictures were viewed they thought if it was actually manufactured this car would sell.

Exner’s design included a spare tire that protruded through the trunk lid and separate headlights. The interior included gold plated trim and Birdseye maple. All early Blackhawk’s were coupes, but rare convertibles were produced later and were called Bearcats.

The fi rst production car was purchased by Elvis Presley (who later bought four more), with many other famous owners including Sammy Davis Jr., Evel Knievel, Robert Goulet, Larry Holmes, Willy Nelson, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Lucille Ball, Billy Joel, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Al Pacino, Wayne Newton, and H.B. Halicki. Frank Sinatra vied with Elvis for the fi rst car, but upon losing he never bought one. Many of the cars included a dash plaque naming its original owner. The price for 1972 was $23,000 but spiked to $43,000 the next year.

Jim Milliken now owns 5 Stutz Blackhawk cars (one of each style produced) but his 1979 Stutz Bearcat is the pride of his collection as it is one of only about 6 Bearcat convertibles ever produced. His Bearcat was purchased for an astounding sum of $110,000 by a wealthy Japanese car collector and spent about 20 years in Japan. He recently purchased this car that had been re-painted and had all new upholstery installed after spending many years of neglect parked outside. The biggest improvement Jim has done since his purchase is having every thing re-chrome plated with show chrome from Advanced Plating.

He really enjoys when the general public sees his car at a show as it really brings about the crowds looking and asking many questions as most people have never seen a Stutz Blackhawk or the more rarer T-top convertible Bearcat. I hope you enjoy the pictures I took of this rare Stutz and if you are ever in south Florida and see his Stutz Bearcat at a show stop by as Jim is always glad to answer any questions you might have.