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Stutz M8 Chassis numbers

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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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Edited by Smile (see edit history)

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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.                 

Edited by K8096 (see edit history)

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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?        

Edited by K8096 (see edit history)

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Lora Lawrence Corum is certainly not a common name.  I'll bet you can track some stuff down through genealogy websites or newspaper obituaries.

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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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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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There has always been some argument over the colour of the car when it was raced.

 

It was 'tan'.

 

See the attached.

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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?      

Edited by K8096 (see edit history)

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Milton Jones was a hobbiest / local race car driver, mechanic along with his son & my late grandfather, Milton Ronald Jones, of Los Altos, Ca that moved from Akron, Oh to become an Airline Pilot for American Airlines.  His father, did own a paint & body shop in addition to a string of food & burger establishments in the area.  His profession and / or relative affluence as suggested herein was not related to illegal activities during prohibition era.  

 

Many years ago I had an opportunity to purchase the car @ the Blackhawk Car auction at Pebble Beach and regrettably  did not, as encouraged by my past employer/partner and car collector, John Mozart.  Other than hearing my grandfather’s racing memories, I did not know the car existed nor have time to thoroughly research the car.  In retrospect I wish I had purchased the car.  My grandfather worked on the car with his father @ 17 years old and attended the Indianapolis race with his father.

 

My mother passed very early and after she did, our communication with her brother (Milton’s great grandson) sadly & gradually deteriorated.  His son may have in possession photos or other items that may help you & I’m happy to provide his name & his last known contact information.  Please email me privately for that.

 

Best wishes.

Christian

Edited by Christian_K (see edit history)
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On 2/27/2019 at 7:13 AM, Christian_K said:

Milton Jones was a hobbiest / local race car driver, mechanic along with his son & my late grandfather, Milton Ronald Jones, of Los Altos, Ca that moved from Akron, Oh to become an Airline Pilot for American Airlines.  His father, did own a paint & body shop in addition to a string of food & burger establishments in the area.  His profession and / or relative affluence as suggested herein was not related to illegal activities during prohibition era.  

 

Many years ago I had an opportunity to purchase the car @ the Blackhawk Car auction at Pebble Beach and regrettably  did not, as encouraged by my past employer/partner and car collector, John Mozart.  Other than hearing my grandfather’s racing memories, I did not know the car existed nor have time to thoroughly research the car.  In retrospect I wish I had purchased the car.  My grandfather worked on the car with his father @ 17 years old and attended the Indianapolis race with his father.

 

My mother passed very early and after she did, our communication with her brother (Milton’s great grandson) sadly & gradually deteriorated.  His son may have in possession photos or other items that may help you & I’m happy to provide his name & his last known contact information.  Please email me privately for that.

 

Best wishes.

Christian

Christian,

I just saw your post today - wonderful to hear from you. I've PM-ed you and hope it gets through. 

Fascinating! Thank you so much for posting. I would email you but I don't have an address.

Cheers,

Mark

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