alsancle

Stearns Knight

Recommended Posts

Here is the full description. http://www.rmsothebys.com/hf17/hershey/lots/1929-stearns-knight-j-8-90-seven-passenger-touring/1705347

 

  • Formerly owned and restored by Knight engine guru Al Giddings
  • One of 11 surviving examples of the ultimate Knight-engined American car
  • “The car that Stearns should have built,” on an original J-8-90 chassis
  • Featured in the January–February 2014 issue of Antique Automobile magazine
  • Among the rarest Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classics


Some of the greatest American Full Classics are the least-known today. Among them are the grand final products of the F.B. Stearns Company of Cleveland, Ohio, one of America’s finest automakers since 1903, and since 1912, its foremost proponent of the Knight engine design, with its mechanically actuated “sleeve valves.” The Knight engine was complex but remarkably smooth and silent. In its ultimate Stearns iteration, the J-8-90 of 1928-29, it produced 112 quiet hp from 385 cu. in., and was mounted on an incredibly overbuilt, partially boxed frame with superbly constructed coachwork. The result, in its quality and engineering, was every bit the equal of a Packard or Lincoln of the time.

In two years, just 388 of the J-8-90 were manufactured, and only 11 of them remain in existence, mostly in museums.

The car offered here, one of those fabulous rarities, resided for many years in Southern California, later passing through the hands of Knight enthusiasts Richard Hamilton, Ken Lane, and Peter Woyen and Mark Young. By the time that Woyen and Young acquired the J-8-90 it had deteriorated for many years, and its original sedan bodywork was beyond saving. Accordingly, it was decided to restore the Stearns as a seven-passenger touring, a factory body style of which no original examples have survived.

The project came to fruition under the ownership of renowned cinematographer, engineer, and passionate Knight enthusiast, Al Giddings, who saw the coachwork recreated to original factory designs and drawings, resulting in superior quality and accuracy. Because of the similarities between Stearns’ sedan and touring bodies, original sheet metal from the beltline down could be used, with a modified original cowl. Mr. Giddings rebuilt the engine and transmission himself, while the chassis and body were finished by Patrick Kelso and David DeJon, with paint by Kevin VanLaarhoven. The late Knight enthusiasts Patterson Barnes and Art Aseltine provided considerable help and support as well.

The result is an Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) National Award nominee, among many other prizes won all over the country, and has been exhibited at the AACA Museum here in Hershey. It is certainly one of the finest restored Stearns-Knights in the world, and would likely be the rarest Full Classic in whatever collection it enters. Pride of ownership is evident in every nut and bolt.

 

StearnsKnight-Touring.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/13/2017 at 11:28 PM, alsancle said:

29 Stearns-Knight under restoration.  No model given.  

 

http://www.gassmanautomotive.com/restorations/1929-stearns-knight/

 

 

 

So this looks like an 8-90 as they have some engine shots and the body is now back on the chassis.   Mike Gassman and I grew up together but I haven't seen him in 35 years.  It looks like he's doing a great job on the Stearns.

StearnsVictoria.jpg

StearnsVictoria3.jpg

StearnsVictoria2.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That would certainly be a huge improvement but I'd still be badly put off by the chrome yellow. Outside Hollywood (never known for good taste), I find it hard to believe any of the great Classics (i.e., with a capital C) were painted outrageous colors... at least not very often. I do know of a couple, invariably the property of narcissists with lots of money desperate to be noticed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/8/2017 at 9:34 PM, JV Puleo said:

That would certainly be a huge improvement but I'd still be badly put off by the chrome yellow. Outside Hollywood (never known for good taste), I find it hard to believe any of the great Classics (i.e., with a capital C) were painted outrageous colors... at least not very often. I do know of a couple, invariably the property of narcissists with lots of money desperate to be noticed.

 

I've heard stories from old timers who said that some of the show cars were indeed painted quite wildly in order to capture attention. However, many of them had to be painted "normal" before anyone would buy them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Royale built for the 31 NY Auto Salon was documented in period as being "Tomato red" and when the chassis was finally stripped that was red also.   Lots of Red. There is a V16 Caddy like that too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When restoring 1930 Franklin Dietrich Speedster Convertible Sedan (an auto show car) the car was originally lemon yellow - frame, body, all what would traditionally be black on engine, and ... - do not know color of wheels (they had been sandblasted at some point) and every single nut, bolt, washer, lockwasher was chrome plated (and as a result we had to break nearly every one of them when restoring car).  On top of the yellow paint was a host of other colors (apparently they repainted car between auto shows and then reported it as having been sold at each).  We chose I believe its third set of colors - mulberry maroon and satan red.

 

One of our 1931 Cadillacs was originally dark blue with a bright orange undercarriage and black wire wheel - pinstripe was ivory.

 

I

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, alsancle said:

An 8-90 Cabriolet?  I thought there was only one.  From the waynesboro-stauntonregion aaca website.  Displayed at the Augusta County fair.

 

IMG_2163-640x385.jpg

Nope. It's an M6-80. Possibly owned by the same person restoring the 5-passenger coupe above, since they're both in Virginia. However, Gassman Automotive's website is down now.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now