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What is a Bearcat versus Roadster?


scott12180
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You caught me on this one! I shot from the hip and blew the mission.

The master parts book and sales catalogs show that the left front door was added to Bearcat bodies in 1920 with the series H. From the right side a Bearcat is easily distinguished by outside shift levers and no door. Left side would not be so easy, wheelbase is shorter at 120" while the Roadster shares the 130" chassis with the other body styles, styling is the distinguishing issue with the top of the door curving up at the front on Bearcat and straight along its length on the Roadster. The windshield is different on the body styles. The above holds on both H and K series ( 1920 thru 1924).

kbear.jpgkroad.jpg

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Thanks for the explanation and great photos. That explains the 1920-1922 Bearcat.

But the 1923 Stutz was now left hand drive. Four cylinder still offered on the 130 inch wheelbase, though, but the Bearcat was also up to a 130 inch wheelbase.

Perhaps the better question is "was there a Bearcat offered in 1923"? Or by then was the two-seater ONLY called the "Roadster"?

It is confusing because if the valuations stated in Bev Kimes book are at all realistic, there is a teriffic difference in value between the 1923 Stutz Bearcat and the 1923 Stutz Roadster.

So that's why I'd like to know if you are looking at a 1923, how can you tell the Bearcat from the Roadster?

--Scott

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  • 5 years later...

Bill Greer had a 22 Bearcat, he sold it a few years back.

According to The Splended Stutz....

In 1923, the Bearcat had a 4 cyl engine and a 130" wb; the roadster came with a six and a 120" wb, priced at $1995.

"....a Bearcat at $2765 was now listed in pace of of the Speedway roadster. The Bearcat label was revived for an LHD roadster having doors and a double spare wheels mounted to the rear. A flat trunk was fitted on top of the rear deck in the area where the spare was located in the regular roadster."

"The Speedway four line used the larger, more powerfukl 88 hp KLDH engine; all body styles were on a 130" wb. These features help explain why the 4-cylinder line was generally priced higher than the new Stutz Six."

An ad for the Bearcat mentions its standard equipment...a trunk large enough for two suitcases, twin spares, cowl and parking lights, bumper, rear view mirror, etc...which also explains the price difference.

There are photos of the two and the Bearcat does indeed have a flat rear deckwith with a flat trunk and two rear mounted spares. It's shown from the right so Ican't tell if it has outside gear levers...but IIRC, outside gear levers went away when LHD arrived.

A photo of a Six Roadster shows a similar looking car with a flat section in back of the cabin. and no visable trunks..possibly an integral trunk? The one in the photo shows a sidemount spare on the right side, to keep the top of the spare below the belt line, part of the running board is cut away leaving the right front fender looking rather like a "cycle" fender. I can't tell if there is a spare on the left side.

Again, the book says Strutz made only 2373 cars in 1923...of which only 427 were four cylinder cars in six body styles, so the Bearcat would have been very rare at that time.

The ad shown for the Bearcat calls it the "Stutz Bearcat Roadster"...so the use of the Bearcat name may have been a minor marketing point at the time.

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1916 Bearcats and below had no doors, not sure about 1917, but 1918, 19, 20 bearcats only had a door on the passenger side. Anyone know what other years had one door? Howabout what years had two. I think the super Bearcats of 1930 + had 2 doors and I recall one was a cloth body and the other metal. Am I all wrong here regarding the DV32?

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1916 Bearcats and below had no doors, not sure about 1917, but 1918, 19, 20 bearcats only had a door on the passenger side. Anyone know what other years had one door? Howabout what years had two. I think the super Bearcats of 1930 + had 2 doors and I recall one was a cloth body and the other metal. Am I all wrong here regarding the DV32?

From looking at photos in The Spendid Stutz, and online (and my memories of getting in-out of Bill Greer's 22) the 17-22 had no doors, just step over sides.

The factory photos in the book all show only the right side of the car,. but if you do an online photo search for a 22 Bearcat and you'll find photos of Mr. Greer's old car....without door.

They did have a step as Layden B mentioned above. (BTW: the photo he posted gives you a good idea of what the rear deck of a 23 looked like...just imagine a flat trunk where the spare tires are, and spares hanging off the back).

The 1923s had two doors.

The Super Bearcats had two and you're correct, fabric bodies.

Edited by JohnBoyle (see edit history)
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I am not sure, but isn’t it possible that the 1919 designation in that picture is incorrect? It appears to me to be a 16 or maybe early 1917 Bearcat. I own a 1920 Roadster and mine is right hand drive and I didn’t think that the steering changed until 23 or 24, and then steering was moved over to the left side. Also, the rear of the frame looks like a 16/17 in design to me. ???? But I am not expert by a long shot….

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I am not sure, but isn’t it possible that the 1919 designation in that picture is incorrect? It appears to me to be a 16 or maybe early 1917 Bearcat. I own a 1920 Roadster and mine is right hand drive and I didn’t think that the steering changed until 23 or 24, and then steering was moved over to the left side. Also, the rear of the frame looks like a 16/17 in design to me. ???? But I am not expert by a long shot….

Are you referring to Layden's photo above???

It shows RHD.

The 16 is nothing like the 17. The 16 has open bucket seats...like the 12-15 cars.

The 17-22s were all similar in having step over sides...like Layden's photo above. .

You're right, the 23 is the first year of a Bearcat with LHD.

Edited by JohnBoyle (see edit history)
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Rear of the frame..see the frame side rail channel sections in my picture, they extend almost to the rear of the rear spring, the " dumb iron" connecting the frame to the spring is only about 6" long. This was a new feature for 1917. 1916 and earlier cars all have a long dumb iron the goes all the way forward to the frame rear crossmember, the frame side rail channels stop at the rear crossmember.

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I see that, and now that I look at it again I fully agree. I don't know who started this conversation, but it is jogging my memory, which is good.

I have my own question. I bought a 1920 Stutz Roadster from a man 35 plus years ago, and when I bought it he said he bought it with the shifter next to the door on the right side and he later moved it to the center because it had been difficult to shift. I may have it all wrong….but I recall he said there was several Stutz’s that were between the Bearcat and Roadster with that mod…or something to that effect. I have never been able to justify what he said one way or another, but there is a square chunk or wood missing and I have the original shifter he took out that looks very similar to the Bearcat shifter.

I have two doors like I should on a Roadster, but it appears he did some work on that side…How can I definitely tell what the heck I have, even though I believe it is a roadster . And was there a model in-between for those who wanted a door in 1920?

I think if anyone whould know it is Layden....

Thanks in advance.

Rick

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No models between the Bearcat and Roadster, what they had was plenty enough for a small company. Here is what I think is a 1920 to 1923 era Bearcat. Definitely post 1919 as it has Houk wire wheels with flush style caps. Yes it has a door, no longer climb over and I believe 1920 was the first year for that. We know it is RHD as the horn and running board tool box which are on the drivers side are out of sight. It is a Bearcat because the door is not almost level on top and up to almost the windshield bracket. Instead it dips radically along its length after starting well lower than the windshield bracket (not speaking of the windshield brace). Bearcat would have the shifter on outside of the body and Roadster inside like the other body types. This is substantiated by the master parts book.

post-34894-143139058265_thumb.jpg

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Here is a Roadster from same era. Shifter on inside. Note the door shape and that there is a door on the right side. None on a Bearcat as the shifter would stop it from opening. As for owners modifications, maybe he liked the shifter in the middle so it would be much easier to exit stage right. No evidence that Stutz ever put the shifter in the middle on the 4 cylinder cars.

post-34894-14313905827_thumb.jpg

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Layden...I'll defer to you on whether 1920 cars had a door.

However, the June, 2010 issue of Collectable Automobile and their article on Bearcats shows 1918 and a 1920 cars... both without any doors.

After comparing it to the photo in The Splended Stutz and magazine, the car in post #16 is not a 23, a 17-22, but not a 1923.

The 23 car does not have the "dip" at the top of the doors....in fact it's body looks more like the car in post #17.

Edited by JohnBoyle (see edit history)
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  • 8 years later...

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