Amelia Island | Lot 281
1928 Stutz Model BB Four-Passenger Speedster by Philips
$156,800 USD | Sold
| Amelia Island, Florida
9 March 2019
- Commissioned by the government of Finland
- Believed to be a unique example built by Philips Custom Body Co.
- Recent mechanical freshening by Classic Auto Services and Holman Engineering
- Less than 71,000 kilometers, believed original
- Known ownership history from new
- Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
Harry Clayton Stutz’s marque would always be known for building performance-driven automobiles. The firm introduced its 1928 line of automobiles at The Splendid Stutz Convention in Indianapolis, 12–14 December 1927. The car differed sufficiently from its predecessor to earn a new designation and was named Series BB.
The Vertical 8 engine in the Series BB, albeit with many improvements, was introduced during 1927. This was the engine that earned Stutz the AAA title of Stock Car Champion in 1927. With 115 hp advertised and gobs of torque, this was among the fastest American cars in 1928. Despite the accolades, production and sales were only about 2,500 units for the model year.
This unique 1928 Stutz Speedster was commissioned by the government of Finland and custom-built by Philips Custom Body Co. of Warren, Ohio. Philips was contracted by Stutz to build 25 convertible coupes and closed sedans that year. As evidenced by the coachbuilder’s badges, this Stutz appears to be the only known phaeton produced by Philips in 1928 and is likely a one-off example. It was delivered new to Finland and used as a dignitary transport vehicle and parade car until 1960. The original flag holders remain, and the odometer reads just under 71,000 kilometers, believed to be since new.
The Stutz was then sold to Heikki Vilamo of Finland in 1960 who entered it in vintage races across Finland, Sweden, and Germany from 1965–1967. Vilamo put the Stutz in storage in 1969 where it remained until it was purchased in 1994 by U.S. businessman Roy Malool from the family of Vilamo. Malool shipped it back to the U.S. and drove it once, placing the car in climate-controlled storage in New Hampshire, where it remained until acquired by the consignor in February 2016.
A complete mechanical sorting was undertaken by Bob Waller at Classic Auto Services in New Hampshire, including engine and cooling systems flushing, removal and cleaning of the oil pan, and brake reconditioning, including rebuilding the original master cylinder and brake cylinders. Furthermore, the original water jackets were removed, the internal engine cavity thoroughly cleaned/flushed, and new stainless-steel water jackets were fabricated along with fitting correct new gaskets. The original muffler was replaced by an NOS muffler (in its original crate) that accompanied the car when shipped new to Finland! The vacuum fuel pump has been rebuilt and a reproduction aluminum Zenith carburetor based on the original was built by John Gruner. Reclaimed jets were fitted and tuned by George Holman at Holman Engineering, who also manufactured and installed a new water pump spindle.
According to the consignor, it is thought that the car was repainted prior to Malool’s ownership, but otherwise the body has never been off the frame. The convertible top was replaced in 1965 and was recently re-stretched. One of the wooden top bows was found to be cracked and both sides at the stress points have received Dutchman repairs. A current New Hampshire inspection sticker evidences the roadability of this unusual and unique Stutz.