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1931 Stutz SV-16 Derham Convertible Coupe

One of Three Derham bodied Convertible Coupes Built. Factory High Compression Engine.

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VIN MB-PC-1002
Exterior Color Coral Red
Interior Color Maroon Leather
Mileage 57205
Engine 322 c.i. Inline 8-Cylinder no. 32707 HC
Transmission 3-Speed Manual
Status Sold
Stock FJ1116


1931 Stutz Model SV-16 Convertible Coupe by Derham
s/n MB-PC-1002, Engine no. 32707 HC
Coral Red with Maroon Interior

Henry Stutz was born in Ohio in 1876 where he grew up on a farm caring and repairing the family's agricultural machinery. In 1897 fascinated by gasoline engines, he built his first car that was followed by a second effort using an engine of his own design and manufacture. At the end of 1925 the Stutz Motor Car Company was under the stewardship of Frederick Moskovics, who left Franklin and became Stutz's new president, where he was responsible for the new, Vertical Eight cylinder engine (as opposed to the Packard Straight Eight), in a car that created a sensation among dealers and the public. With overhead cam straight engine, hydrostatic brakes and windshield safety glass, the new model was unlike any other American car of the time. The chassis was just as radical and the cars were inches lower than the competition, making them an immediate hit. The SV-16 (two valves per cylinder, 16 of them) was eventually superceded by the DV-32 with its double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. Whatever model was chosen, a Stutz was elegant, exclusive and less overpowering than the opulence of some other marques.

The Derham Body Co. was established in 1887 in Rosemont, Pennsylvania initially catering to the horsedrawn carriage trade and in 1905 they turned to motor cars and were particularly famous for catering to the needs of their wealthy Philadelphia clientele. One of their trademarks seems to have been the fitting of low and raked windshields to their designs that gave their cars a truly sporting appearance.

The car number MB would denote that this example is an M model with long wheelbase of 145 inches. The engine number followed by HC refers to it being a high compression motor. Information from respected Stutz owners in the US suggests that this car was, for a long time, owned by a Mr. Kingsleigh in Pennsylvania during the 1960s. Apparently he used the car regularly and was active in club events. Evidently, around this time period, the car was fitted was with power steering, making the car more attractive for use in modern traffic, or on tight roads.

Further research indicates that only a handful, possibly 5, of these cars were built with this style body thereby making them accordingly rare. It is believed that this is the second chassis completed, and the first to be fitted with a Derham body, and also the first to be fitted with the desirable “high compression” SV16 engine. The SV16 engine, in “high compression” format is identical to that of the DB32 unit, with the exception of the Miller supplied 4-valve DOHC head.

The car was displayed at the Hershey meeting in the US a number of years ago before being sold to a European collector in 1990. In 2002, Christie’s Auction House resold the car to a collector in Spain who had the car freshly painted and the chrome refinished. It would also appear that the upholstery was re-trimmed with high quality leather and wool carpet, and that the burl wood door caps and dash face was refinished. In addition to power steering, added earlier in the car’s life, power brakes have been fitted, with a vacuumed tank discretely mounted under seat. It has also been fitted with turn indicators. Together, these power-assist mechanisms with give the new owner of this pre-war beauty a comparatively modern driving experience.

The body is in good order with straight panels, sound hinges, and positive door shut. The recent paint work is done to reasonably high standards, and included much of the under carriage and under fender areas. The chrome has a fresh appearance, with no weathering whatsoever. A new canvas top and top boot have been fitted, and are in excellent condition accordingly. The interior, including the rumble seat area, is very well appointed, and is equally fresh, having been restored with high quality materials. Both the engine bay and the underside are nicely detailed, in keeping with excellent ‘tour’ standards.

Mechanically, the car appears sound and has a confidence inspiring ride. The brakes and steering are extremely effective. The suspension is tight and rattle free. The engine is so quiet and smooth, even at idle, it is almost impossible to tell the car is running.

One of just a handful of Derham bodied examples, this high compression SV16, with its low slung chassis and rakish roof line, is a fine example of an era when high quality American automobile manufacturing had a decidedly European styling influence.


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Fantasy Junction +1 510 653 7555 Emeryville, California 94608 USA

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