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Stutz M8 Chassis numbers


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Stutz ID number: M8-28-SY84B.

 

I have been reliably told that the ‘8’ in the ‘SY84B’ indicates the car was somewhere between the 800th and 899th car built in 1929. With a total 1929 model-year production of 2,320 cars, that would put it as June-July 1929.

On the back of the chassis, at a bumper fixing point, the stamping is 8447. Could this mean that the chassis is the 844th made, and that it was produced in the 7th month?

 

Your views on the topic would be much appreciated.

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According to the Splendid Stutz I'm not seeing any 4 digit chassis numbers.  They are all 5 digit.  The 29-31 M are 3001 & up for short wheel base and 40001 & up for long wheelbase.

 

The only chassis numbers that start with an 8 are AA & BB of 27/28 but those are 5 digits also. 

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M8-28-SY84B translates into a "Two-Passenger Speed Car (134 1/2 wheelbase)" with a serial number of 30848. I don't have a 1929 Stutz Model M catalog to see what a "Speed Car" looks like but the serial number is a 1929 number.

 

Steve

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1926 through 30 should be 5 digits. 1931 & up should be 4 digits with the 4 digit number matching the car number on the firewall tag. 1930 was the last year for the FEDCO system.

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Thank you everyone for replying! You are more than kind.

 

The chassis is 134.5, so it isn't an AA or a BB. As for the numbers - they were lightly stamped, have been touched with corrosion, and then smothered in thick paint. There probably is a 5th digit in there somewhere, there is certainly room, and the spacing would suggest one, but it isn't immediately visible. I'll have to get out the sandpaper to try and find it.

 

Thank you again!

 

Here is why I'm trying to nail down the actual production date:

 

On page 309 of the Splendid Stutz there is a small picture of the front of the car, taken as it was being prepared for the 1930 Indy 500. If one looks very closely there is some sort of hole at the back of the cam cover. There is a much better version of the picture in the Stutz News of January/March 2013 (I don't own the copyright, so I don't feel comfortable posting it). 

 

A glance at the motor of the Simone Foundation 1929 Le Mans Stutz shows an identical hole in the back of the cam cover - it is the pick-up point for the mechanical fuel pump. On production supercharged cars the mechanical pump has been moved to the front of the cam cover.

 

So, some time before May 1930 SY84B is wearing a Le Mans type cam cover.

 

I do have a matching shot of the Jones Stutz, taken from the rear during race-prep, and there is a boost gauge on the car's dash. I've already posted it in a thread on this forum, asking for confirmation. (Thank you again for that!). 

 

My point here, is that I suspect that SY84B was built in June/July 1929 as the prototype production supercharged car, and as a factory demonstrator. Jones later bought it to race and then found that Rickenbacker had changed the Indy rules for 1930: Riding mechanics were back and superchargers were no longer allowed. That's why the blower was being stripped off when the race-prep pictures were taken.

 

One further thing in the Splendid Stutz points to this: On page 188 there is a quote from a June 7th ('29) letter written by a Stutz engineer to the Murdock Pump Company. In it an order for a single supercharger is cancelled, only to be replaced by an order for a throw-out fork. This component could not be for the Le Mans cars because by Friday, June 7th they were already in Europe. Scruteenering would have been on Tuesday, June 11th, the race was June 15/16, and sailing time between N.Y. and France was 5 plus days. 

 

The throw-out fork must have been for the prototype supercharged road car.

 A blower wasn't required because the unit that had been on the '28 Pikes Peak car was used for bench tests in December 1928 and was still sitting in the factory. Mind you, it was built as a direct-drive supercharger, so a throw-out fork mechanism was needed.

 

One final point: If you are going to build a blown demonstrator, one would use the raciest body available.

In '29 catalogue, that was the Torpedo Speedster. I suspect that SY84B was also the first Torpedo body that was built. The pictures of the front of the motor show bits of bodywork between the hood and the chassis that do not appear on subsequent cars. They were also removed before the Indy 500 race, and a full hood used, to improve access to the motor. In other words, they didn't help anything, so out they went when the rest of the cars were made.

 

Thanks again for all the replies!

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I'm curious, which windshield do you have for the car now? The fold down type the car came with originally, or that one piece non folding one that was installed when the car was 1st restored in the 1960's and painted red with silver bolt on wheels.

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In that photo it still has the correct windshield. It was replaced with a higher one piece non folding windshield in the 50's or 60's. The photo above was taken outside the Akron Rubber Bowl football stadium in 1947. I'll post a photo of it with the different windshield tonight.

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OK, here's a photo of what I believe is the same car.   This is from a 1976 Automotive Quarterly calendar.  Al Rodway of Cleveland owned it in the late 1960's.  So I'm assuming it was restored to this configuration sometime in the 1960's.   There are some differences though. It got back it's correct radiator shell & headlight that were switched out in the 1947 photo, but the cowl lights are now missing.  It also now has 20" 6 lug wheels which were common on 1930 & 31 Stutz cars.  Why someone would remove the buffalo wire wheels is beyond me.  They had to replace the brake drum hubs as well to make this wheel switch.  The windshield here has been changed to a more raked one that does not fold.  The Packard front bumper is gone as well and replaced with a more correct looking one.  One thing that strikes me though is the molding that goes from one side of the cowl to the other at the top.  This is clear in the 1947 photo AJ posted, but it is not there in the original race car photos, or the 1976 photo.   I wonder if it was just a stripe painted on and not an actual molding.  One easy way to always tell if a photo is of the Jones Special is if it has the gas filler on the drivers side coming up through the body between the rear fender & the bobtail. This was done when they installed a custom larger gas tank.  All the production Stutz cars had the gas filler on the passenger side coming up between two of the frame cross members.  Unfortunately we can't see it in the side profile picture I posted.  If the 1976 photo is indeed the Jones Special (which I think it is ), then when it was restored yet again in the 1990's to race car configuration, the correct buffalo wire wheels were reinstalled at that time.

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One other comment I'll make is in regards to whether the Jones Special was the first car with the bobtail body or not.  This body style is illustrated in the regular 1929 Stutz sales brochure.  Assuming these were printed in early 1929, or even late 1928, one would think perhaps at least a couple had been built already.  Does your body have the LeBaron body tag on it sill?  It would be located somewhere by the passenger side sill by the front floor board.  The one on my roadster has 2 sets of numbers on it.  No one has really deciphered these yet, but I assume one number is a style number, and the other number is the body number.             

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Many thanks for all the replies!

 

There are two torpedo Speedsters being confused in this thread. The red car with black fenders is a different car. It was in the Paul Sterns collection between ’62 and ’75. Oddly enough, there is a thread in this section of the AAC, started by a restorer when he was looking for information on the windshield for a Tapertail (Torpedo Speedster?). I think he might have been writing about the red car.

 

http://forums.aaca.org/topic/43303-1930-stutz-model-m-tapertail-speedster/?hl=tapertail

 

Attached is a 2000 picture of the Jones Special being turned from a road car into its current form, which is a recreation of a racecar. If one looks on the wall behind, one can see a poster of the red car. The Jones Special was painted white from at least 1938 to 2000; it was only red for the Indy race, so it can’t be the same car.

 

On September 18th, 1973 Ernie Toth Sr. wrote to the then-owner of the Jones Special asking if he could borrow the windscreen frame to make a pattern, so I think it had its original folding windscreen at the time. It still does have a folding job, albeit in bits, in a box. I’ve had a look and the parts are cast brass and weigh a ton. It looks like the same windscreen that was on the car in the 1947 picture, posted above by Alsancle.

 

I would agree that at least one Torpedo Speedster should have already been built before SY84B. Six were supposed to have been made in ‘29, two with cycle fenders, four with the swept-fender design. As K8096 rightly pointed out, it was in the catalogue from the start of the year (picture attached). Having said that, attached is a newspaper clipping, dated Wednesday, 28th August, 1929, announcing the Torpedo Speedster as a new model. Personally, I would take the clipping with a grain of salt. The cars were not moving, so say SOMETHING to get them out the door. Let’s face it, who is really going to introduce a car with a bad roof and no windows, 5 days before Labour Day?

Mind you, if Torpedo Speedsters were already being built, why does SY84B have a non-standard hood arrangement in the early ’30 pictures, and a standard hood by mid-May?

 

Le Baron numbers: I have not yet found any, but I’m still pooching about.

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Thanks for clarifying that for me. One thing though, you say Paul Sterns owned the red car from 1962 - 75. I'm sure it was owned by Al Rodway of Cleveland for at least a few years in the late 60's. He had a large collection of cars, all restored, that he all bought in the mid to late 60's, and then sold them all by the early 70's as he moved onto other interests. The calendar photo I posted of the red car even says "formerly of the Al Rodway collection" and was copyrighted in 1976. The reason I thought they were the same car was because the Jones Special was in the Cleveland/Akron area in the 1930's, and then Rodway of Cleveland had the red car which is very similar. I understand your hypothesis on the car with the different hood and splash aprons being your car, but perhaps it is a different car. We may never know 100% for sure. So let me ask you, do you have any photos of your car after the race when it was put back into street car form, but before the modifications were made on it with the different grille & headlights? I think you mentioned to me a couple months ago you were going to restore it to street car form so it can be used again. You also mentioned 1938 as a year you know it was painted white. Do you have a photo of it from 1938?

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Attached is something I gleaned from the Internet: A picture of the red car when it went up for auction (a while ago) and the description. That's where I got the date for the Paul Sterns collection. If it is wrong, then I'm sorry! (Who would have thought that something on the Internet could be wrong! I'm shocked! I'll write to Al Gore immediately, after all, didn't he invent it??)

 

As for the car in the Stutz factory becoming the Indy car, becoming a white car, becoming the car I have….

 

Attached is a section from a 1930 picture taken at the factory. You can see that the gas tank has been removed; the car is waiting for the larger, race tank. The photographer, Kirkpatrick, took the shot of the motor (which is in the Splendid Stutz as the race car's motor) walked to the back of the car, and took this picture. He numbered all his shots, and the numbers on these two are consecutive.

 

Also attached is a section of a picture, albeit not a very clear one, of Tom Wolf in 1938. He is sitting in a white Stutz, and as you can just see from the detail, there is a gas cap on the driver's side of the car - the unique Indy filler, that has already been mentioned in this thread.

 

The next picture is a detail of the strange body line that runs behind the windshield. In 2000, when the car was being converted from a road car into a display item, it was pulled off. It was made out of a curved and painted strip of brass. Beneath the brass were the holes for the Indy deflector, and the holes used to attach the brass itself. The next picture is of the cowling, minus the brass strip. You can see the holes.

 

The final shot was also taken in 2000. The paint is being removed. If one looks, one can see the white top coat, a dark red, a very pale grey, and then the body-in-white. I rather wish that a section had been left, but then, if wishes were fishes, no one would ever be hungry.

 

The white top coat, probably re-sprayed a time or two, dates back from at least Tom Wolf's ownership between '38 and '72. The red is the colour from it's days at Indy, and the grey (silver?) is its original colour, and the colour it was when Kirkpatrick too his B&W pictures in 1930.

 

You know, if they made a million Torpedo Speedsters between '29 and '30 I might have my doubts, but they didn't, and I don't think any other car has better proofs.

 

Finding a supercharger (and a carb!). I'm hoping technology will help me here. All I need to do is rent one for a day, dissemble, scan the components, put it back together and return. It will never leave the owner's workshop. There is a place that will print a sand mold from a scan; it mostly produces old aircraft components, and the quality is great. Given that high-carbon steel shrinks 4% from a liquid to a solid, one just prints up a 104% mold.  The carb? Bronze shrinks about 2.5%.

 

Well, that's the plan. Reality sometimes intrudes….

 

Cheers,

Mark

 

 

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Oh, you don't have to apologize Greg, since when are auction catalogs correct anyway?  I just pulled out my 1967 CCCA directory, and yes Al Rodway of Cleveland is listed with a 1930 Stutz SV 16 boattail speedster.   In the same 1967 directory Paul Stern is listed with about 10 cars, but no Stutz.  So he must have sold the red car to Rodway prior to 1967.   Rodway sold all his cars around 1970/71, so perhaps Gottlieb bought it then from Rodway.  That's great you have the photos of the car with the restorer stripping the paint and removing the molding on the cowl.  Hopefully you're be able to put it back.  I think the Stutz News only printed the 3/4 front view of the car, not the 3/4 rear view, so yes I'd agree it certainly seems to be the same car with the gas tank removed awaiting the larger one to be installed.  The hole hasn't been put in the body for the filler yet because the tank wasn't done yet.  The car doesn't seem brand new in the photo, as the paint is worn/chipped on the frame & rear axle so it appears to have some miles on it already.  Like you said, perhaps a factory test car for the supercharger.  That's also great you have a photo of it in street car form after the Indy 500 race and before it was modified.  I assume this is the configuration you're going to restore it to.  I have a pleasant surprise for you.   I was in an antique shop in Akron, OH a couple months ago, and bought this photo of your car.  This is obviously your car as it has the gas tank filler neck on the drivers side coming up through the rear deck (you can't see it in the picture I took of the picture, but it's there on the original print).  It appears to be the grey color you mentioned before, and now you know what the side curtains are supposed to look like.   I can't read the year on the license plate in the original photo, but I've narrowed it down to the following years based on the light background and dark numbers:  It could be Ohio 1931 (grey background with black numbers), 1936 (white background with blue numbers), 1937 (white background with red numbers), or 1939 (white background with blue numbers).  All the other years of the 1930's through 1941 have dark backgrounds, and 1938 has more writting on the bottom that isn't on this plate, so that rules them out.  Enjoy!

 

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In a word: WOW!

 

Thank you Jason!

 

What are the chances of that?? Amazing.

 

I think that this is one of the first pictures of the car that Tom Wolf, or rather his sister Rose, took. Here is why: Whomsoever put up the top didn't have a clue how it went together! Attached is a slightly later shot that shows the framing bar had been figured out so that the roof no longer looks like a rolling Hooverville. 

 

The back of the attached picture was dated by Tom Wolf as May 30th, 1938, and he comments that he has recently the car. If you look at the trees in your shot, they have leaves, but they are not yet wearing their full summer foliage, so April seems about right. I suspect that the extra writing on the '38 plate isn't that noticeable at a distance. It couldn't be much later, because Tom put new tires on the car, and then he bought a radio with a huge whip antenna that is easy to spot.  

 

Thank you so much for posting the picture.

 

Cheers,

Mark

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I'm sure you know Jones died in a crash at Indy while practicing in May, 1932.   I wonder who had the car from that time until Wolfe got it in 1938?  Do we know where in the Cleveland/Akron area Wolfe lived in the late 30's?  It's interesting that in my photo the side of the hood is perfectly clean with no oil seeping out the seams.  Below is link to a good write up on Milton Jones.  I'm sure you've already seen this.     

 

http://harrymillerclub.com/storyc69a.html?aid=11  

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Many thanks for the link, but to tell the truth, the website's view of Milton and his times is not entirely accurate in a few places. (Here we go again!)

 

The writer tends to opinion on evidence with the certainty of a stockbroker, which is usually the sign of light research.

 

My views, for what they are worth, differ from those expressed in the article. Here is why:

 

1)    “For the 1930 race the rules for the Indianapolis 500, in deference to the tight national economy, were altered to cut the cost of owning and operating a racing car”

 

The ‘Junk’ formula had nothing to do with the depression. Eddie Rickenbacker, the President of the Speedway, applied to have the rules changed in ’28. The Contest Board passed them in January 1929, when the economy was roaring ever upwards.

Rickenbacker felt that racing was becoming too divorced from motoring, and it was time to make the racecars more like a road car. That’s why racing mechanics were re-introduced, the grid expanded, and superchargers on four-stroke engines were banned.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1930_Indianapolis_500#Rules_changes_and_the_.22Junk.22_formula

 

2)    “An enterprising enthusiast from Cleveland, Ohio named Milton Jones..”

 

Who was Milton Jones? The original source tells us that he was an employee of the Prospect Auto Top and Painting Company, which was situated in Cleveland, Ohio. The article blandly dismisses the factual source and contends that he could have owned the shop. It then mentions his home address at Cleveland Heights, and while it agrees that it wasn’t the top-end of town, it still places him as a man of wealth, who didn’t have to go into debt to buy his Stutz.

 

Let's look at what is known, the location all this took place, and what was happening at the time.

 

·      Cleveland, Ohio, is a lake width away from Canada.

·      Jones worked at a paint and upholstery shop, 

·      The paint shop had different cars and trucks, from all over the state, rolling in and out, every day.

·      Prohibition was in place, and, by ’29, booze running was a massive industry. (I seem to remember the number of a $2 billion turnover for 1930.)

·      Jones (obviously) thought he could out-drive anyone.

·      He was married, and it is not uncommon for a spouse to want the best house one can afford.

·      His home address indicated that he didn’t have great wealth.

·      He wasn’t in the social columns, alone or by his wife’s side.

·      It wasn’t ‘shrewd’ judgment, Jones made an error in buying the Stutz – he had to have the supercharger stripped off so that it could run in the race.

·      He also made an error thinking he could just turn up and drive at the Indy 500. Contrary to some history, Milton had never driven at Indy before. A boat racer, also called M. Jones, and also born in Wales, had raced in 1925, but he is not our man.  Our Milton had to hire a professional driver and a professional ‘racing mechanic’, for at 36 and overweight and he simply wasn’t up to the job of going flat out for five and a half hours. I dare say that a couple of laps in practice gave him the message, loud and clear, for although he probably was a strong man, he didn’t look very fit.

 

3)    “Corum drove the race with Jones in the right hand seat..”

 

No, Fred Patterson was hanging onto the grab-handle for dear life, mile after mile after grinding mile.

Not Milton.

L.L. Corum stopped for 90 seconds, to take on gas and to chug water. No new tires (!). No oil. No sandwich. No one else spent so little time in the pits.  I think that the result that was achieved that day is 99% due to L.L., who must have been made out of iron. I also admire Patterson, who looked like a mal-nourished jockey on hard times, yet must have had the grip and tenacity of loan collector on commission. Don’t forget, Fred was on the outside of each and every turn, in a car with a low-cut passenger door, a flat seat, and very little floor to brace against. Rickenbacker might have been going for a better show, but his rules, which included an expanded grid, more than doubled the number of men who risked being maimed or killed during that race.

 

Summation: I suspect that Milton Jones was part of a booze operation. The business took in Canadian product from across the lake and cut it with de-natured alcohol, which could be 'fixed' and which the shop could legally acquire in bulk. The paint shop probably also served as a distribution hub, supplying cars and trucks that rolled in from all over the state with the finished product. Perhaps an occasional fixed fender, or a new seat cushion, was thrown in to the deal, just to make it real. Milton probably started off as a driver.

Illegal businesses are often highly profitable, and this one gave an employee, Milton, the cash needed to buy a very expensive Stutz, and run with it in the big-time, in the Indy 500.

 

One thing is for certain. After the race SY84B was re-painted, this time in white, and the wind deflector was removed. The quality of the workmanship was extraordinary, and not in a good way either. Rather than fill in the holes used to anchor the deflector, a curved strip of brass was screwed into the body to cover them, doing nothing for car, other than later helping to identify it. That work alone would suggest that the Prospect Auto Top and Painting Company were focused on something other than their advertised métier. I’ll drink to them for their efforts, and not with the denatured stuff either.

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Interesting theory.  I've driven by Jones' house in Cleveland Heights.  It's a nice average sized 1920's house in a decent middle class to almost upper middle class neighborhood of the time.   It had a yard and a 2 car garage in the back.   Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights were the two eastern most suburbs of Cleveland at the time.  Past them was nothing but fields and farm land (it got built up after the war).   It was considered something to live in one of those suburbs at the time, that you had have become somewhat successful.  Maybe I'll try to drive by it again sometime & snap a picture for you.  

 

I've also tried to find the building of the Prospect Auto Top & Painting Co. a couple years ago, but it's long gone, replaced by a modern bank building.  It's very close to the central downtown business district.  In the 1920 & 30's, there were dozens of automotive dealers (new and used) and "jobber shops" on both Carnegie & Prospect Ave.  Both streets branch right off of the downtown area and parallel each other with one block separating them.  The Stutz agency in Cleveland was at 6921 Carnegie I believe.  One thing I can do sometime is go to the Cleveland library and look in their historical photo section that's organized by street to see if there's any pictures of the original building there.        

 

I agree a guy pounding out dents in fenders for a living wouldn't be able to afford a new Stutz or a nice house in Cleveland Heights at the time.  He would have to at the very least been one of the owners of the business.  I think we'd need a little more proof though before accepting it as fact that he was a booze runner.  It's certainly plausible, but maybe he had a rich uncle who died and that's where he got the money.  Or perhaps the wife's family had money and bankrolled the car and bought them the house.  You never know.  One other thing we can do it look through the Cleveland business directories year by year to see when the Prospect Auto Top & Painting Co ceased to be listed.  If it were 1933 when prohibition ended, or shortly there after, that would support your theory, but then again, 1933/34  was also the trough of the depression and people weren't getting their cars repainted as much either.  It wasn't a priority.     

 

One thing that did strike me though, was the racing schedule he participated in the article mentioned (if it's true).  He wasn't home very much that year as he was on the road a lot for the races.  If he were just an employee of the body shop, how could he get all that time off?  His age would support your theory.  A man in his early 20's when prohibition began, took some risks when younger and they paid off, now in his late 30's when he bought the Stutz, he had made his money and had time to have fun.  Perhaps he had worked his way up the organization and didn't do any of the grunt work anymore.   It's too bad Jones had such a common last name.   If it were a unique name, we could search out others in Northern Ohio with the same name & try to find a relative.           

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A bit of sandpaper, and the mystery of the weird chassis number is solved.

 

Attached are two pictures of part of the chassis number. As you can see, the first digit is an '8'.

 

No, it isn't!

 

The apprentice turned the stamp upside down before he whacked it with a hammer. That '8' is on closer examination, a head-over-heels '3' which is what you would expect with a 341.5 chassis. If you look at the second picture, you can see where the curves of the '3' end.

 

Guess it was a Monday morning...

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I've had a closer look at the picture that Jason posted. I think it was taken in March of 1938, by the outskirts of Massillon, Ohio. Tom Wolf bought the car in Akron that month.

 

I think both pictures were taken with the same house in the background, only in Jason's picture, one can see the back. In the better known photo, one can see the front of the dwelling. The larger house, which dominates in Jason's picture, is mostly hidden by trees in the second picture, but one can still make it out.

 

Thank you again, and thank you also for your local knowledge.

 

All that I know about Milton Jones, apart from his racing career, is that he once worked as a dare-devil rider at a fair. He rode the 'wall of death' on a motorbike, sometimes with his wife, Molly, sitting on the handle bars. They once crashed, with Molly flying over the wall in one direction, the bike flying off into a tent in another, and Milton falling in a heap at the centre of the 'wall'. The newspaper said that no one was drastically hurt, and I hope that included the folk in the tent, who were probably queueing to see the bearded lady, or buy snake oil, and didn't expect a red-hot, flying motorcycle to interrupt the entertainment. 

 

I think Milton was also a Freemason, but that's more from the mark on his burial plaque than from any recorded history.

 

On a final note, my chassis does have five numbers, albeit lightly stamped.

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Went to a friends house today and we looked at my photo of your car under a powerful magnifying glass.  The rear license plate is definitely 1937.   But, that doesn't rule out your Spring of 1938 time setting theory.  Back then, Ohio license plates were renewed once a year in the spring, regardless of when your birthday was.   Everyone renewed at the same time.  I don't think they went to the birthday renewal system until the 1970's.  The plate number by the way is C 365 T.  It's quite possible Wolf just took a license plate off another car too, as that sort of thing was common before the 1980's and computers.   I think the photo might have been taken a little later than March though.  I agree it's not June or summer as the trees don't have all their leaves, but around here trees don't usually start getting their leaves until mid April.  I just looked at a photo I took on April 8th of this year and there are no leaves at all on any trees.  So I'm thinking more like late April on the photo time frame.   There is no writing on the back of my picture.  One other interesting thing I made out upon magnifying my picture is that the buffalo hubs do not have the small Stutz cloisonne emblems on them, but rather the hex of the buffalo hub casting was painted a light color, probably silver to match the body.  The spare tire is a Goodrich brand as it can be seen on the whitewall upon magnification.                 

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Thank you Jason, both for taking the time to look at the photo, and for posting.

 

Attached are Tom Wolf's notes from the back of one of his original pictures (already posted). I think you must be right, and that it is a '37 plate, carried over from another car. 

 

Either way, there is no doubt that a torpedo speedster that was made in mid-1929, had, in early'30, a Le Mans-type cam cover and a boost gauge. It is also certain that the same car was modified by the Stutz factory into the Indy 500 car. There is also no doubt that the same car was bought by Tom Wolf, who held it until '72. 

 

I found out a bit of trivia the other day. L.L. Corum was the first driver to qualify for the '30 Indy. On the first day of qualifying he went out, just after 11:00 am, did four laps, stuck up his hand, and went for it, flat out. 

 

I guess he had a plan:

If the car blew up, he had the best part of a week to find another ride.

If the car got in, but the engine was damaged, they boys had a week to fix it.

If the Stutz was too slow and didn't qualify, then, again, he had the best part of a week to find another ride.

 

He got in the race.

 

Trivia: If you are the first to qualify, then you have the provisional pole.

 

Therefore, Stutz, albeit briefly (minutes?), had a production car on pole for the Indy 500 in 1930.

 

L.L. knew the bumps and windings of the brickyard like the back of his hand. He had not only raced in the 500 over the years, but he had also done endurance work for Stutz, running for hours on that track, day after day.

 

There is a YouTube clip, showing the car during the race: 

 

One can see it between 20 to 22 seconds (the film has a time stamp running on the bottom right). It is banging about on the bumps, and one can see Fred Patterson, the riding mechanic, hanging on. Good man!

How they got 500 miles out of one set of tires I don't know. That was (and is) a heavy car.

 

I think that the car was fitted with an AC tachometer for the race. It was to the left of the steering wheel, below the brake pressure adjuster.

Does anyone know anything about AC, the manufacturer, or if any source is a good place for old dials and gauges?

 

Thanks again!

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Edited by Smile (see edit history)
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Wow, I've never seen that footage before.   That's great!   Those Millers must have run circles around the "junk" formula cars that day.  They're so much lower to the ground and must have handled much better.   How old was Corum in 1930?  One would think he would have preferred to drive a Miller race car rather than one of the junk formula cars.  He had to know the Millers had a distinct advantage.   He's really hugging the inside of the track in the film.  Did they have any type of seat belt to keep them in the car?            

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You know, there's another photo of your car at the track with the number 27 obviously penciled in by the photographer after the photo was taken. I assume they didn't actually paint the number on the car until it qualified, and that the photo was from qualifying day.   Am I correct in my thinking?    

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You know, there's another photo of your car at the track with the number 27 obviously penciled in by the photographer after the photo was taken. I assume they didn't actually paint the number on the car until it qualified, and that the photo was from qualifying day.   Am I correct in my thinking?    

Well done - you are right about the '27', it was etched into the negative, it wasn't painted on the car (detail attached). One can see how the white outline of the number doesn't quite follow the vents in the hood.

 

I think the shot, which has Milton in the car, was taken in very early May, before there was any thrashing about the track, and not when the car qualified. If you look behind Milt, there is no grab handle.

 

In the over-the-shoulder shot, Milton has been replaced by Fred, and a grab handle has been added. Surgical tape has been wrapped around the handle, to give better grip, and it is black from use. Furthermore, the rope beneath the tape has been pulled so hard it the weave has tightened at one end and bunched up at the other, indicating that Fred had been hanging onto that handle, literally for dear life.

At a guess, I'd say that the second picture was taken after the car had qualified.

 

Thank you for the screen shot! 

I've fiddled about with the aspect ratio of another frame - and you can see Patterson hanging on!

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I just figured out something else new today.  In the photos, your car has two extra hood side vents for additional airflow through the engine compartment.  Vertical ones, on either side of the normal horizontal louvers for a model M Stutz.  Does your car still have these?   One has to wonder if this was something added just for the race, or if it were planned for all the supercharged cars.  Of the two original supercharged cars that do exist (Lancefield coupe and Derham conv.) - I don't believe either of them have these extra vents.    And yes, you can see that extra gauge right above the steering column in the one photo.  As you know, stock model M Stutz cars did not have a tach.   The drive would have been off the camshaft and come out the back of the cam cover.  Does your cam cover have a hole that was patched in the back of it?   You know, if you look at the gauge in the picture, it kind of looks like a standard drum type speedometer with the drum at the top, the total miles accumulated in the middle, and the trip mileage at the bottom.     

Edited by K8096 (see edit history)
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I just figured out something else new today.  In the photos, your car has two extra hood side vents for additional airflow through the engine compartment.  Vertical ones, on either side of the normal horizontal louvers for a model M Stutz.  Does your car still have these?   One has to wonder if this was something added just for the race, or if it were planned for all the supercharged cars.  Of the two original supercharged cars that do exist (Lancefield coupe and Derham conv.) - I don't believe either of them have these extra vents.    And yes, you can see that extra gauge right above the steering column in the one photo.  As you know, stock modle M Stutz cars did not have a tach.   The drive would have been off the camshaft and come out the back of the cam cover.  Does your cam cover have a hole that was patched in the back of it?   You know, if you look at the gauge in the picture, it kind of looks like a standard drum type speedometer with the drum at the top, the total miles accumulated in the middle, and the trip mileage at the bottom.     

 

Many thanks for your post Jason.

 

The car came to Tom Wolfe with the vertical vents in the hood. It was sold with that hood in '73, in fact Ernie Toth Sr. wrote about the vents at that time. It still has the same hood. The vents were cut by the factory to give extra cooling to the motor for the 1930 race, they are not standard for blown cars. 

 

As for the tach:

 

1) From personal experience, if one is going to race a car, it has to have a tach.

2) SY84B was built as a supercharged car, the motor used the same sort of components as the Le Mans cars.

3) Looking at the Simone car, and a contemporary illustration, the Le Mans cars used AC tachometers which ran anti-clockwise and had an 'at rest' position for the needle of 11:00 am (1st picture).

4) Looking at the Corum/Patterson shot, one can just see the edge of a chrome bezel at the left of the dash (2nd shot).

5) Looking at a Tom Wolfe picture, one can see there is a dial in that place (3rd shot).

6) Looking at a 1940 picture of the car one can see a dial. One can just make out a needle that is positioned at 11:00 am (4th shot). The dial is the same size as the one in the Simone car.

 

Thus I'm looking for an anti-clockwise tach made by AC. Can anyone tell me anything about the company, or point me in the direction of a good place for old gauges?

 

Thanks!

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In the third dash above (the close up), what the round thing to the right of the brake adjuster and above the the steering column support screws?   It looks like a gauge.  Or is an optical allusion/reflection of something?  I agree with you on the tach located on the far left.   

 

LL Corum has his own wikipedia page.  

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lora_L._Corum

 

He was 31 the year of the 1930 race.  Per the link, he hadn't raced at Indy since 1926, so maybe he was chomping at the bit & would drive anything to get in again.  The Jones Special's 10th place finish was 52 minutes behind the winner.  Out of the 38 cars to start the 1930 Indy 500 only 10 finished the 500 miles (the Jones Special being the last) and 4 cars were still running when the race was called.  So 24 out of the 38 entrants had mechanical failures or crashed.  Corum died at age 50 in 1949.  Corum isn't that common of a name.   Maybe we could find a relative in Indiana who has some old photos never seen before?        

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Many thanks for the replies!

 

Lora Corum is an unusual name - for a man. There are a few of them, most are probably women. Attached is a  picture from Ancestry.com's page. It would seem that someone who was married once can still have eight divorces!

 

He did compete in the '28 Indy, only he had a bender just before the race, so he was a non-starter.

I suspect that he was starting to look a bit 'old' by '29 and '30. Racing is a cruel game, rather like acting. There is always someone new (who will do the job for less money) arriving, and he doesn't mind the risk of dying in a really badly prepared car, so long as he is given a chance to shine. As the concept of car racing was less than a generation old, in the late '20s youth must have been valued far more than experience.

 

The pictures I'm really looking for are of SY84B before the race, when it was supercharged, and while one never knows what will turn up, I'm not holding my breath. Jason's find is something that already wildly beats the odds.

 

Following some thought about ownership, I'm attaching just a small section of a picture of SY84B, taken when it was being prepared for the Indy race, along with part of the engine in the Simone's Le Mans Stutz. As one can see, the mechanical fuel pump pick-up is the same in both cars, only in SY84B the pump itself, along with the special pressurized fuel system, has been removed.

 

As for the earlier picture of the dash, the sort-of-gauge-thing to the right of the steering column bolts is just the curved edge of the standard instrument package.

 

The good news is that I've found the sort of tachometer I need. I've have to re-number the dial, and have a 2:1 reduction in the gearing, and it should be fine. Picture attached.

 

Thanks again for all the replies.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

One other comment I'll make is in regards to whether the Jones Special was the first car with the bobtail body or not.  This body style is illustrated in the regular 1929 Stutz sales brochure.  Assuming these were printed in early 1929, or even late 1928, one would think perhaps at least a couple had been built already.  Does your body have the LeBaron body tag on it sill?  It would be located somewhere by the passenger side sill by the front floor board.  The one on my roadster has 2 sets of numbers on it.  No one has really deciphered these yet, but I assume one number is a style number, and the other number is the body number.             

 

You, sir, are correct!

 

I have spoken with the owner of another '29 Torpedo Speedster, and his chassis number would indicate that his car was built at least a month before mine.

 

So, I guess the plug in the paper was P.R. hogwash, rather than fact.

 

Fooled me!

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  • 3 weeks later...

That's interesting 96 mph was the top speed in qualifying.  That's stripped down with a larger carburetor on a closed track.  The stock version must have had trouble getting up to 85.   Have you looked at the rear axle ratio?   It's usually stamped on the side of the housing on the right side.  I'm guessing you have a 4:1 as that was the best stock ratio Stutz had.  

 

That's great you figured out the color.  I always thought it was red.  What color are you going to paint it?      

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