Tuesday, May 10
1926 Stutz Model AA Vertical Eight Touring Roadster Owned by Mr. & Mrs.Cornelius Vanderbilt
'This 1926 Stutz Model AA Vertical Eight 4-passenger open touring car was originally purchased by Capitalist and Railroad Tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt III for his wife Grace. (See vintage photo of both Cornelius and Grace in the car.) Cornelius and Grace enjoyed this Stutz so much that they kept it through the Great Depression and for the rest of their life as evidenced in the bill of sale that was signed by their daughter, Grace Vanderbilt Stevens, in 1955 two years after her mother passed away.
This Stutz was later owned by the Imperial Palace Casino in Las Vegas, as evidenced in the title transfer documents that we received prior to it becoming part of the Automotive Road of Dreams Museum collection located at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, CA.
Cornelius Vanderbilt III (Sept. 5, 1873 - March 1, 1942) was a distinguished general in the military, inventor, engineer, yachtsman and the great-grandson of one of the richest Americans in history, Cornelius Vanderbilt. In 1896, Cornelius III married Grace Graham Wilson (Sept. 3, 1870 - Jan. 7, 1953), the youngest child of New York banker Richard T. Wilson, Sr. Cornelius and Grace remained married for life and had two children, Cornelius IV (born 1898) and Grace (1899 - 1964).
In the early 1920's, Charles Schwab and two other investors gained control of Stutz Motor Company and they were responsible for returning the Stutz brand back into the luxury-performance field by bringing in the experienced automotive executive and engineer, Frederic E. Moskovics.
Moskovics radically redesigned the car in 1926 by featuring a powerful eight-cylinder engine with an overhead camshaft, mounted in a low-slung chassis that could accommodate new stylish bodies, thereby capturing some of the previous magic of the early Stutz Automobiles. The new Stutz Model AA Vertical Eight was in a league all of it's own.
Fitted with the newly designed Vertical 8 engine, a single overhead cam straight eight that displaced 287 cubic inches. With the help of ‘twin ignition' (two spark plugs per cylinder) the engine delivered 92 horsepower. As luxury buyers heard good reports regarding the model AA's performance, along with its sleek looks, sales jumped to 5,000 units. Priced at over $3,000, it seemed that the new investors' investment would pay off.
However, as the great depression hit in 1929, the demand for expensive luxury cars plummeted and the Stutz Motor Company started to have trouble staying afloat.
Unfortunately, the Stutz Motor Company couldn't make it and the last Stutz was manufactured in 1934 after a total of only 35,000 cars being produced in the company’s storied 25-year history.
The Automotive Road of Dreams car collection included numerous prized antique, classic, race, special interest and muscle cars from the early 1900's on... The museum was open to the public for several years and the autos in their collection were on display fulltime and never driven. The museum was housed in a 14,000 square foot building located in the heart of Coastal Southern California at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. See Chicago Tribune Article (10/11/2001):
The museum closed a few years ago and part of the collection was sold at that time while several other cars have been stored away until now. This great car is part of the collection and it is being offered at auction on a "As-Is" basis due to the age of the vehicle and because this car has not been driven in many years. The photos were taken in the last few weeks, the car is complete as pictured and it ran well when we moved it to take the photographs . There are only 55,976 Miles on the odometer but we do not know if that is the true miles for this car.'