Amelia Island

9 March 2013

Lot 165

1933 Stutz DV32 Convertible Victoria by Rollston

To be auctioned on Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sold for $1,512,500

  • Chassis no. DV-PC-1558
  • Engine no. DV-33268
  • Body no. 530
  • Body Style no. 192


156 bhp, 322.1 cu. in. dual overhead camshaft inline eight-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, solid front and live rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel vacuum-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 145 in.

  • A genuine DV32 with original engine, chassis, and custom coachwork
  • Owned by noted collectors since the 1950s
  • Spectacular Meadow Brook and Amelia Island class-winning restoration
  • The ultimate Classic Era Stutz
  • Ex-Harrah’s collection


“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” Charles Dickens wrote it about 18th century France, but it applied just as well to the mood within 1060 North Capitol Avenue, Indianapolis, in 1930. Stutz was in trouble. The successes of competition in the Brass Era had not translated into successes in production in the 1920s, and the company was further weakened by financial shenanigans of top management and the onslaught of the Great Depression. In the end, it would not survive. Nonetheless, in early-1931, amidst all the gloom and doom, Stutz launched the DV32, as fine an epitaph as any automaker would ever write for itself.

The DV32 began with the original Stutz Vertical Eight that had debuted in 1926. Not having the funds on hand to design a completely new engine, the company had made do with this mill for five years, continuously fine-tuning and upgrading it. As the last iteration, the DV32 began with the 322-cubic inch former BB engine, redesigned by Charles “Pop” Greuter, dean of the Stutz engineering department, with double overhead camshafts and angled valves above hemispherical combustion chambers. It was this arrangement that gave the engine its lasting title—it boasted four valves per cylinder, 32 in total, or “Dual Valve-32.”

The upgraded engine produced some 125 horsepower, about the same horsepower-per-cubic-inch ratio of the Duesenberg Model J, taken to the rear axle through a Warner four-speed transmission. Even with heavy bodywork on the long chassis, a DV32 was swift and flexible, capable of 80 mph, and of outrunning just about everything but the inevitable.

Only about 200 examples of the DV32 were delivered during Stutz’s waning days, which finally came to an end in 1935 after a valiant attempt at survival through light truck production. The survivors have long been held among the most valuable and desirable of Stutzes, and they are among the most pleasurable automobiles of their era to drive. Particularly desirable are those sacred few chassis that received custom coachwork.

While its early history is not known, it is likely that this particular DV32 began its life in New York City. There it was delivered to the premises of the Rollston Company, the Big Apple’s most prestigious coachbuilder for three decades. While other American body makers were noted for their flamboyance or their conservatism, Rollston was perhaps the most versatile, capable of creations that spanned the spectrum of good taste. They produced fabulous town cars, roadsters, phaetons, and limousines alike, their designs united only by peerless build quality and bank account-exhausting cost.

The DV32 offered here was treated to a variation of Rollston’s Convertible Victoria, a five-passenger design utilized on several different chassis during the Classic Era. This design was ordinarily quite formal, with a high beltline, long doors, and rather squared-off proportions, befitting a two-door automobile that would on occasion be driven by a chauffeur. This particular car, body number 530, was given a more aggressively slanted windshield, which resulted in a car of an entirely different personality. Even in the subdued original colors of Sierra Sandstone and Antique Veridian Green over beige leather upholstery, the Stutz appears vaguely menacing, the angled glass serving to lower the roof and lengthen the proportions of the car.

The car’s history has been traced back to 1952, when it was acquired by Carl Pennrich, of Greenwood Lake, New York, further indicating that its original owner was likely one of Rollston’s many local customers. In 1960, Pennrich sold the Stutz to William Harrah, in whose vast Reno warehouses it would remain for over a quarter century. As a long-term exhibit at Harrah’s Automobile Collection, the Stutz became a very well-known example to enthusiasts and remained a large, complete, correct, and original car that was properly kept. A two-page color spread of the car, painted its then-current maroon, appeared in Volume Two, Number One, of Automobile Quarterly, illustrating an article on Stutz by D. Cameron Peck.

After the Harrah Collection was dispersed, the Stutz found its way into the hands of noted collector Richard Scott, who got it running and driving again and reports that it was a “bulletproof car.” After several years spent in Scott’s collection, it passed through the hands of noted collectors Joseph Cassini and David Kane, before coming into the ownership of the current enthusiast owner, a longtime aficionado of the Stutz and other fine Classic Era marques. Immensely knowledgeable of what he owns, he endeavored to have the car exquisitely restored, after which it achieved Second in Class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2006, Best in Show at the Glenmoor Gathering and Best in Class at Amelia Island in 2007, and Best in Class at the Meadow Brook Concours in 2009. The car remains in exquisite overall condition and is ready to continue its illustrious concours career with pride under new ownership.

The original Stutz may have been “the car that made good in a day,” but as memories of the Bearcat faded into the board track dust, it was the DV32 that made certain that the company would be remembered. The Rollston Convertible Victoria offered here is as fine an example of the ultimate Stutz as it exists today, demonstrating the meaning of high-speed American luxury as few cars have, before or since.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

aclassick@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

Annette Abaci

aabaci@rmauctions.com

+49 (0) 40 441 95 737
Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

dwarrener@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmauctions.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmauctions.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, USA

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

jboxstrom@rmauctions.com

+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

mgirardo@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

rmyers@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Shelby Myers literally grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to w... read more

Vinnie Mandzak

vmandzak@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more