Classifieds Hero: Stutz Blackhawk Prototype

Finding any prototype for sale is exciting enough, but to discover the original Ghia-designed Blackhawk has left us foaming at the mouth. Here’s why

Stutz Blackhawk. With a name like that, you’d be forgiven for believing this is a creature that stalks your nightmares, lives in Joan Collins' basement chained to a radiator, or perhaps resides as a B-movie supervillian. Yet the Blackhawk is merely one of the more bizarre vehicles in our classifieds, which means there’s very little to cause headaches or night terrors with this unique saloon. Should you be feeling brave.

Unlike certain offerings from the UK or Italy, it’s not reliability or production quality that may scare off the Stutz’s potential buyers, but mainly the fact that the car was never produced in the first place. This Ghia-designed Blackhawk is a prototype in every sense of the word; originating from a time when 1960s panache gave way to gawping statements from the decade taste forgot. Elvis Presley bought the first production example…

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This model led the way into full-scale manufacture in 1971, and while it bore no resemblance to the original, short-lived Blackhawk of 1929, it certainly captured the essence of art deco motoring. The production model lasted until 1987, by which point innovation and flair appeared to become unpopular. Instead, offensive quality and bland styling were clearly the order of the day, and monstrosities including the Cadillac Cimarron killed any style in the market stone dead.

Stutz utilised General Motors, Ford, Cadillac and Chevrolet running gear to retain exclusivity yet allow easy servicing in America. A huge range of engines were employed under spectacularly bad-mannered bodywork, including:

  • 302 Windsor
  • 307 Oldsmobile 5.0L V8
  • 350 V8
  • 351 Windsor
  • T/A 6.6
  • 6.6-litre
  • 425 V8
  • 429 Cobra Jet
  • 454 Super Sport
  • 455
  • 460 V8
  • 472 V8
  • 500 V8

Prices ranged from $22,500 to $75,000. And exclusive these cars remained – spotting one now is a task befitting of any detective, which is why the trouser department was on full alert upon finding this prototype residing in the AutoClassics classifieds.

Styled by Ghia back in the late 1960s, upon the marque’s return after a 30-year absence, this four-door prototype set company investors back $300,000 ($2.15 million today). While listed as Price on Application here, with current market values of the niche Stutz brand keeping even mint-condition examples under $100,000, this is sure to be a bargain in comparison.

With Duplex Coachwork by Padane of Italy, and wearing unblemished white paint mated to a navy blue leather interior, it might seem brash and scream of tasteless decadence – but we love it.

AutoClassics isn’t alone in having been smitten with the Stutz Blackhawk’s inexplicable styling, however. Famous owners, beside Elvis, have included Dick Martin, Lucille Ball, Sammy Davis Jr, Dean Martin, Robert Goulet, Evel Knievel, Wilson Pickett, Luigi Colani, Johnny Cash, Curd Jürgens, Muhammed Ali, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Al Pacino and Willie Nelson. The Shah of Iran reportedly owned 12 of them…

Get a closer look with the AutoClassics classified advert

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