It’s either hideous or beautiful depending on your point of view.
- One of just 617 ‘car of the stars’ built
- Original condition with very low indicated mileage
- Instant celebrity status for new owner
One of the most gregarious and sought-after Post War American luxury cars ever built – a Stutz Blackhawk – is one of the standout vehicles of Shannons Melbourne Winter Classic Auction on Monday June 4.
Purchased en masse by America’s A-List following its launch in 1970, the re-born Stutz combined opulent Italian coachwork with American mechanical components to recapture the bygone golden era of the original Stutz sports and luxury cars produced from 1911 until 1935.
New York banker James O’Donnell revived the Stutz Motor Company in 1968, joining forces with retired Chrysler stylist Virgil Exner to produce the new Blackhawk.
Exner’s outrageous design included a spare tyre that protruded through the boot lid, with faux-fur lining for the luggage compartment, a massive grille, freestanding headlamps and decorative side-exiting exhaust pipes.
Italy’s Carrozzeria Ghia of Turin fashioned the prototype at a reported cost of over US $300,000 and the re-born Blackhawk debuted in January 1970 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.
Like its 1930s predecessor, the new model was an instant magnet for the rich and famous.
Elvis Presley beat Frank Sinatra for the honour of purchasing the first Blackhawk, when he paid US $26,500 for the second prototype on October 9, 1970. Other famous Blackhawk owners included Dick Martin, Lucile Ball, Sammy Davis Jnr, Dean Martin, Evel Knievel, Wilson Pickett, Jerry Lewis, Liberace, George Foreman, Billy Joel, Elton John, Paul McCartney and Al Pacino. The Shah of Iran reportedly owned twelve of them.
The dark blue left hand drive Blackhawk being auctioned by Shannons is a very original 1976 model that spent most of its life in the renowned Auto Collection of the Imperial Palace Hotel in Las Vegas before being purchased from the Collection in 2002 and imported to Australia shortly afterwards.
Because of its documented sparing use and patina, the car’s indicated 6,355 miles are believed to be genuine and Shannons describe its condition as ‘beautiful’.
Based largely on General Motors mechanical components, this fourth-generation model features a massive 455-cubic inch V8 engine. It is one of just 617 examples built during the Blackhawk’s 25 years in production that finished in 1995 and one of just a handful to have made it to Australia.
Because of its rarity, very original condition and very low indicated mileage, Shannons expect the vehicle to sell in the $42,000-$50,000 range at the June 4 Melbourne auction, guaranteeing its new owner instant celebrity status.