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A. K. Miller Stutz hoard


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  • 3 years later...

I first met A.K. Miler in 1954 at his home in Vermont. My father owed a 1930 Stutz Model M speedster with cut down doors that I found in a barn in Ashfield, MA in 1953, when I was 15. My father paid the princely sum of $350.00 for the car. He and I (gopher) spent the better part of a year restoring the car. It was all there with only a few minor dents. Back to A.K. He was generous enough to show us the primary barn. That's where I first saw the supercharged Stutz coupe now recognized as the Lansfield Coupe. I made a comment to him stating there were no known supercharged Stutz cars left. His comment to me that no one had asked him. I dreamed about that car for 60+ years and was thrilled that it surfaced. 

 

One day when I was at home in Greenfield, MA lo and behold A.K. and his wife pulled up into our driveway in 1929 or so Packard coupe loaded with suitcases and crates. It was straight out of MA and Pa Kettle. He had come to do some business with my dad and stopped by on his way to Georgia to buy another Stutz. He concluded his business and went on his way.

 

The last time I saw was around 1985 or so. My wife and I were in Massachusetts so I thought I'd see if he was still there. Now if you've never been to to East Orange, VT it is just this side of BF Egypt. A dirt road in and out. Anyway he and he wife had just returned from a trip and we had a brief conversation. He invited to come back the next day to see the cars again, but I was finishing my leave from the Army and had to get home. We corresponded for a while. 

 

I found him to an interesting man and felt privileged to know him and to share in the myth of A.K. Miller. Be glad he bought all those Stutz cars and the parts from the factory in Indianapolis, other wise the world would have lost a lot of history about Stutz, the car that made good in a day. 

 

Robert Spencer

North Little Rock

April 7, 2019.

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There are only a few known with the cut down doors, the three I can think of are, the one with the rear spare in Michigan now, the one that was in Florida and then Ohio and was yellow, and the one other was also yellow, and for a short time in the 90’s was up in Maine. Shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.

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  • 1 year later...

A 1919 Series G that was in the Miller auction is open for bidding right now.

 

https://rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/mt20/the-mitosinka-collection/lots/r0003-1919-stutz-series-g-close-coupled-touring/919127

 

$30,000 - $40,000

Offered Without Reserve

RM | Online Only - THE MITOSINKA COLLECTION 16 - 25 SEPTEMBER 2020 - Auction Closes on 25 September 2020

Serial No.
Engine No.
3658
G-3462
 
  • Formerly of the renowned A.K. Miller Collection
  • Still preserved in its Miller finishes and patina
  • Charming features including Derco luggage trunk
  • Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
  • Fabulous character!

This Stutz Series G is significant as one of the cars from the famed Stutz hoard of A.K. Miller, who began assembling a barn full of Indianapolis’s finest during the late 1930s and continued for decades, acquiring some of the most significant surviving Stutzes. Mr. Miller often quickly repainted the cars in a brush-finished “house livery” of red with black fenders, and such is still worn by this Series G today.

The car was sold at the Miller estate auction of 1996 to David Reeder of Fort Smith, Arkansas. It later passed in 2007 to Gary Kuck of Lincoln, Nebraska, from whom Dennis Mitosinka purchased it ten years later.

Aside from having been returned to running and driving order, the car is still much as it left the Miller barns. It is still wearing a functional later upholstery job, “protected” by the remnants of long-used summer covers, and still overseen by the same weathered black top with its beveled backlight. The radiator shell and headlamps were re-plated many years ago, before or during Mr. Miller’s ownership. The car retains the Stutz oil change plaque on the dashboard, which is original and well-preserved, and the doors still close well. Underneath, much patina can be found, as is to be expected, but overall the car remains in solid shape and would be a shame to restore. In his ownership, Mr. Mitosinka replaced several small hardware pieces and installed a correct carburetor. A charming addition is a period Derco luggage trunk on the running board, while the Rudge-Whitworth wire wheels and dual spotlights add an elegant accent. At the time of cataloguing, the car had recorded 53,674 miles.

Every Stutz enthusiast knows the legend of A.K. Miller, and offered here is the opportunity to acquire a car very much as it left his famous Vermont “Stutz Mews.”

 

https://rmsothebys-cache.azureedge.net/1/3/4/d/3/8/134d3817483faac72b2974d68587f92fef5cc647.jpg

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Interesting car.......I would think it would hit 65-75 easy, though the estimate is much lower. Not often I predict the auction number is low............nice honest car.

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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

Interesting car.......I would think it would hit 65-75 easy, though the estimate is much lower. Not often I predict the auction number is low............nice honest car.

 

Sold for 24K back in 1996.

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  • gwells changed the title to A. K. Miller Stutz hoard

I seem to think Dave Reeder also purchased a Bulldog and perhaps 3 in total.  I cannot remember.  Will be interesting to see where the pricing goes on this 1919.  Recent auctions for many 1920s makes this year as been more beneficial to buyers.

Keith

Edited by kmstrade (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, John_Mereness said:

It just has to do with their bidding program and who chimes in post first bid. 

 

I think they actually started everything at around 50 bucks. Don't expect a lot of activity until the last few hours.

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I hope that Stutz goes for somewhat more than $30K. I will be very upset if it doesn't. I know there is NO way I could buy something like that at this time, but it is so very much a car I would like to have. I missed on a rare opportunity to be able to get a Stutz Bearcat about twenty-five years ago. There were four Stutz automobiles at a major auction that was otherwise mostly other types collectable cars. A good friend of mine (that already had three nice Stutz automobiles) went, and brought home the Bulldog touring (a great tour car!) and one ('21?) Bearcat (even though he already had a really nice one!). The other two Bearcats (1919 to '22?) went really cheap. The worst one (a solid running car) went for under $30K. He was shocked at the time how cheap they all went for. He was interested in one of them, bought the other simply because they were both so cheap (at the time). If I had had some warning, a bit of time to scrape the money together? At that time, I could have done it.

The Bearcat that went at auction then for under $30K? About a year later, and after some detailing and minor sorting, was sold again for about $80K.

 

If this one goes for under $30K? That would just hurt a bit. A second time, no Stutz for me. At this time? I couldn't do it in six months if my life depended on it! If my circumstances with family changes enough? Maybe in a year or two, it could be possible again.

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I also hope to possibly own one one day. I somehow doubt it will go for less than $30 K but you never know.  That would still put it in about the $50 K Canadian zone after all the border dust settles  and therefore well beyond me, But hope springs eternal.

 

Greg

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I met AK and his wife in the late 1970's. He had responded with a penny postcard to an ad I had placed somewhere looking for old woodworking tools. I went up to East Orange to see him and after lunch we three discussed the merits of boiled vs baked rice pudding. He had grown up with boiled and his wife, baked...or the other way around.  I spent most of the day there with him, showing me his cars stored all over the place as well as his gyro copter in one of the barns.  He and his wife seemed to live quite frugally, but their time was their own and they enjoyed visiting. 

He wouldn't sell me the things I wanted, and I wouldn't buy what he wanted to sell, but that's not unusual and it didn't matter all that much. He gave me a package to drop off to someone on my way home, some Stutz connecting rods headed for Australia. 

I was taking a bicycle ride up in that area years later and asked after him at a gas station. They guy said A.K. fell off a ladder painting his house and later died from his injury. Didn't want to see a doctor. It wasn't until I read about the auction that I learned about all the gold bullion he had stashed around the property and other eccentricities.  

It's good to meet someone like him once in a while. He wasn't a kook or a nut. He lived the life he wanted to and enjoyed it.  

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9 hours ago, wayne sheldon said:

I hope that Stutz goes for somewhat more than $30K. I will be very upset if it doesn't. I know there is NO way I could buy something like that at this time, but it is so very much a car I would like to have. I missed on a rare opportunity to be able to get a Stutz Bearcat about twenty-five years ago. There were four Stutz automobiles at a major auction that was otherwise mostly other types collectable cars. A good friend of mine (that already had three nice Stutz automobiles) went, and brought home the Bulldog touring (a great tour car!) and one ('21?) Bearcat (even though he already had a really nice one!). The other two Bearcats (1919 to '22?) went really cheap. The worst one (a solid running car) went for under $30K. He was shocked at the time how cheap they all went for. He was interested in one of them, bought the other simply because they were both so cheap (at the time). If I had had some warning, a bit of time to scrape the money together? At that time, I could have done it.

The Bearcat that went at auction then for under $30K? About a year later, and after some detailing and minor sorting, was sold again for about $80K.

 

If this one goes for under $30K? That would just hurt a bit. A second time, no Stutz for me. At this time? I couldn't do it in six months if my life depended on it! If my circumstances with family changes enough? Maybe in a year or two, it could be possible again.


I would be shocked if it doesn’t sell for more than 30k.  Honest cars with history like this one always do well.   Plus, anytime I notice something at auction it usually means 10 other guys did too.  Good taste and all 😀

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The late model Bearcat cars have been trading in the 150 range the last few years, I saw two private sales of nice, decent 90 point cars. If I thought that car would sell under 50 I would register to bid..........and I’m not going to bother. If I didn’t have my new White and other new car, I would register for the sale. I have worked on a bunch of very cool Stutz cars over the years, and would have owned one by now.......probably a DV-32 closed car.........since AJ has one........I figure when I feel the need I will just borrow his. That’s the great thing about car clubs..........friends letting friends borrow cars. I have been fortunate over the years to have friends loan me cars when I need one. It’s more common than you think among  the hard core car guys. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Regardless of market conditions, two place Stutz automobiles will always out perform the general car market......the only “inexpensive” Stutz you will ever see are the early eights with box like coachwork. And then, they are not a great platform with their steering box.

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7 hours ago, edinmass said:

...I figure when I feel the need I will just borrow his. That’s the great thing about car clubs..........friends letting friends borrow cars. I have been fortunate over the years to have friends loan me cars when I need one. It’s more common than you think among  the hard core car guys. 

 

Oh I know they do. I have been on many tours when cars were being driven by friends of the owners. One of my long-time best friends has driven many cars belonging to clients of his on tours. A fellow I know that collects Pierce Arrows sometimes has employees of his driving one of his cars on tours while he drives another. I can recall probably twenty specific times over the years that I have seen this. I sometimes have wondered how many times it was being done and I didn't know the person or car?

 

Me? I am a bit funny about that. I don't really like driving other people's cars very much. Just an odd quirk of mine. I have had many offers to drive cars on tours. I do drive them on occasion, usually for just a few minutes. Sometimes when they are sorting out a problem and want another opinion. I have turned down opportunities to drive a Stanley Steamer, Pope Portola roadster, a few horseless carriage era Packards, dozens of others. I did drive a Rolls Royce once. It was at a car show and needed to be moved. We had permission, and somebody had to move it. I went about thirty feet.

 

Just me.

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A cute little side story to add.

The one of my long-time best friends did a lot of work for a family that had a very impressive collection of automobiles. Quite some time ago, there was a very large annual car showing in the area that almost everybody would go to. Hundreds of cars and thousands of lookers. My friend happened to be between running cars that year, so he was offered the use of a beautiful 1921 Pierce Arrow sedan. The family son (about the same age as my friend and I, and also a good friend) wasn't sure what car he wanted to take. So, at the last minute, in the early hours the day of the show, he grabs the nearest model T and shows up!

 

There was a lot of ribbing and joking at the show that day!

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3 minutes ago, edinmass said:

Passing on the Portola Roadster ........now that’s a hard thing to do!

 

I did get a good long ride in it! And got to follow it on a Horseless Carriage Club tour once. On the tour, I was driving the '15 Studebaker six I had then. On a long winding hill, which the Studebaker took with ease, the Pope passed me and kept pulling onward into the distance! What a wonderful throaty sound it made!

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1 hour ago, wayne sheldon said:

 

Oh I know they do. I have been on many tours when cars were being driven by friends of the owners. One of my long-time best friends has driven many cars belonging to clients of his on tours. A fellow I know that collects Pierce Arrows sometimes has employees of his driving one of his cars on tours while he drives another. I can recall probably twenty specific times over the years that I have seen this. I sometimes have wondered how many times it was being done and I didn't know the person or car?

 

Me? I am a bit funny about that. I don't really like driving other people's cars very much. Just an odd quirk of mine. I have had many offers to drive cars on tours. I do drive them on occasion, usually for just a few minutes. Sometimes when they are sorting out a problem and want another opinion. I have turned down opportunities to drive a Stanley Steamer, Pope Portola roadster, a few horseless carriage era Packards, dozens of others. I did drive a Rolls Royce once. It was at a car show and needed to be moved. We had permission, and somebody had to move it. I went about thirty feet.

 

Just me.

 

 

Glad I'm not alone! I never really understood how some people will hop in a friends Vintage Car and drive it like a POS work truck. On and off a trailer is fine with me, never want to be behind the wheel when it brakes. Driving them does nothing for their looks. 

 

Bob 

Edited by 1937hd45 (see edit history)
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I decided to torture myself a bit more, looked at the RM Sotheby's site. I was curious if the aforementioned L-29 Cord was doing better. It is, a bit. Up to over $20K now. This Stutz is still sitting at $15K. I am sure (and hoping) it takes a good climb on the last day. What really shocked me, was there was another '18 Stutz! Same body style, I won't comment too much about its "restoration". If it stayed that low? I could maybe scrape up a single grand? Might miss a mortgage payment? I do hope it goes higher also, however suspect it will end up cheaper than the car above. And it would still hurt if it did go too cheap. Although, if by some wild twist of fate I did end up with the second Stutz? I don't know WHAT I would do about those fenders?!

 

https://rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/mt20/the-mitosinka-collection/lots/r0001-1918-stutz-series-s-close-coupled-touring/919122

 

I did find it interesting.

 

A lot of good automobilia, and a few good other cars. Most sitting low waiting for the mad frenzy on the last day (which varies by lot). I did like the Locomobile roadster.

Edited by wayne sheldon
spotted a typo :( (see edit history)
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Don't worry Wayne,  even during the current "market adjustment" nice cars at a high end auction that are no reserve will always do ok.    That Stutz will shoot up in the last couple hours.

 

The Locomobile is interesting because it is a later body swap, the question is just when did that happen?

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8 hours ago, alsancle said:

The Locomobile is interesting because it is a later body swap, the question is just when did that happen?

 

I thought that was a later body. I remember Jack Passey had a late '10s Locomobile Gunboat roadster. It didn't look like that.

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1 minute ago, wayne sheldon said:

 

I thought that was a later body. I remember Jack Passey had a late '10s Locomobile Gunboat roadster. It didn't look like that.


The body has Lebaron tags and would date to the later 20s.  What would be interesting to know is when it found its way on to that chassis.

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The "Designed By LeBaron" tag would be from the years before Bridgeport Body Co. was acquired when LeBaron's Hibbard and Dietrich were "automotive architects" whose body designs were built by other established coachbuilders.   Someone far more knowledgeable should chime in but I seriously doubt any custom coachbuilder would have driven three screws through the coachbuilder tag as did whoever mounted this one.

'19 Locomobile 48 Designed by Lebaron.jpg

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A lot of chassis were rebodied throughout the Classic era. And in turn, we often wonder if a rebody was done in a timely manner, or something slipped in later.

One of my long-time best friends has a P-1 Springfield Rolls Royce. I did not say what year? Its known history is that a new divider window limousine was purchased in 1925. Whether it was one of the last Silver Ghosts, or one of the first P-1s is not known for certain. The very next year, the owner of that car went back to Rolls Royce and said he instead wanted a sporty open car (I don't know if it was a touring or roadster?). So his barely a year old chassis was rebodied. This left Rolls Royce with an enclosed drive limousine body less than a year old. So their body shops reworked the entire body. The divider window was removed, front seat reshaped, all the upholstery replaced. The now slightly over a year old body was then placed on a new P-1 chassis. The car was offered and sold. I don't know if any of the rework was custom ordered, or all done first then sold.

So the car has been called a '25, a '26, as well as a '27. He has 1926 YOM plates on it some times, but I have also seen it with '27 plates. Whatever one wants to call the year, it has the distinction of being a "re-chassised body"!

 

Unfortunately, after a good cosmetic restoration, some bone-brain in a stolen car hit the Rolls while it was parked in front of his home. The idiot was doing something near 70, but he somehow managed to get away and was never found. The stolen car was almost destroyed and left behind. He left deep knee impressions in the steel dash of his car and some blood behind, so he must have been desperate to escape!). Although the extensive damage exceeded the insurance and value of the car, my friend refused to let the car die. They acquired a replacement frame and transmission, along with a matched pair of front fenders. Most of the rest of the car was reparable. He used up the insurance settlement (almost fifty thousand about thirty years ago!), then paid a bunch more out of his pocket to get the car completely re-restored.

An interesting side-note. During the first restoration, he, with help from the Rolls Royce owners community, had chosen an appropriate material to reupholster the car with. During the re-restoration, some damage to the body needed to be addressed. When they dug in deep enough, they found remnants of the original upholstery from when the body was a limousine on its first chassis. The original first upholstery sample was an almost perfect match to what he had had the interior done in during the first restoration! 

I have ridden with them in the Rolls a few times (and was offered a chance to drive it however being silly me I declined to drive it). We went to a New Year's Eve party at the Faimont Hotel in San Francisco one year. He knew bandleader Turk Murphy quite well, and it was one of Turk's last New Years shows before he died. One of the things in my life that I do like to brag about, not only did I know Turk Murphy, but Turk knew me and often called me by name. That was a really special night. New years, Turk Murphy, the Fairmont hotel, and went in a Rolls Royce!

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Turk Murphy had an old Rolls-Royce. Maybe 1930 or so. It has been at least 60 years since I saw it, but I think it was two tones of blue. Somehow or other, Bob Clark's, (Bob who owned a gorgeous white 3 1/2 liter SS100), son ended up with it in Seattle for a while. Some scandalous event took place, and Turk got his Rolls-Royce back.

 

Back then, as we know, a middle class worker could have a fairly exotic "collector" or Classic car or two. I got in on the tail end of those late lamented times. 120 and 140 Jags, a Maserati 3500. Daily drivers. I had no "practical" car at all. I figured might as well have fun with my transportation. The big real Classic Cars from the real, but brief, real Classic Period of automotive evolution  were just beyond my means of acquisition. Would not have justified daily driving a V16 Cadillac, or other such extravagant toys. 

 

I do enjoy various forms of jazz, and am a life member of the Puget Sound Traditional Jazz Society. Long ago performances have included the super famous Louis Armstrong, and the superb but fairly obscure stride piano player Clifford Jackson with his powerful left hand. I had hoped back then to hear Turk Murphy, but it never happened. However, I did see his Rolls-Royce.    -    Carl 

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I never saw his Rolls. He had a "Jaguar", 1939 as I recall. It had some special distinction of being one of the first something or other in the Jag line. We discussed it many times. He had come to the conclusion that he was not going to get around to restoring it, and was trying to decide what to do with it.

I can still close my eyes when it is quiet, and remember the sounds, and smells of Earthquake Magoon's. All the members of the band in the '60s and '70s were wonderful to be around.

Edited by wayne sheldon (see edit history)
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10 hours ago, John_Mereness said:

Interesting Stutz in a hillclimb

 

 

That's a brilliant film! It's at the Rob Roy hill-climb, which isn't too far from me. There are a few cars there that I recognise that are still around today.  That Stutz coupe was a well-known car here, I do know that at one stage it was owned by a traveling circus.  If Ivan reads this, he could tell you a lot more about the car.

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Shifting back ( ?!!)  to the title of this topic A.K. Miller - I had some correspondence with him decades ago - as mentioned postcards were his form of communication

I had some Stutz paperwork ( company issued newspaper/newsletter ) that Miller wanted but only wanted to add to his collection for his price/his offer which was a little above what one could get for the $ offered at the near by bulk paper recycling place. He went on to pester me until his demise about those Stutz factory publications ( which I still have and use for research when needed) .

Edited by Walt G
spelling mistake (see edit history)
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On 9/16/2020 at 6:03 PM, edinmass said:

Interesting car.......I would think it would hit 65-75 easy, though the estimate is much lower. Not often I predict the auction number is low............nice honest car.

Well it sold for $43,000.  Just over the high end of the estimate.  

 

image.png.636b7c5c94f1efea9105ccd11e2ad5f5.png

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I feel a bit better now. This one at 45K, and the 1918 went for $30,000. I think a fair price, but still way beyond my current hopes and dreams. The '18 had VERY wrong fenders, and a bad paint job, but otherwise looked pretty nice.

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