Oldsmobile Oddity: 1983 Stutz Blackhawk – SOLD!
August 16, 2021 Update – we confirmed the seller of this rare Stutz “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
In the 1970s, anyone who really was anyone in the American entertainment industry owned and drove Pontiac Grand Prix-based Stutz Blackhawks. Arguably the most famous owners of these cars included Elvis and Sammy Davis Jr. Ever since we started Guys With Rides, we’ve dreamed of one day featuring a Malaise-Era Stutz Blackhawk. While the first one (a 1978 vintage car believed to be originally purchased by a record producer) we featured several months ago only included a single picture in their listing, the second one is this 1983 vintage we came across originally listed for sale in August 2021 on Craigslist outside of Detroit, Michigan. Currently offered at $30,000, comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their Stutz priced between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $26,200 and its #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $56,000.
If you’re not familiar with them, the Stutz Blackhawk is an American ultra-luxury car manufactured from 1971 through 1987. New York Banker James O’Donnell partnered with retired Chrysler stylist Virgil Exner to revive the famed 1920s Stutz Motor Company in August 1968. Exner immediately went to work designing a custom personal luxury car that included a spare tire that protruded through the trunk lid, a massive ‘kidney’ grille, and freestanding headlamps. To offer exclusivity and still allow easy servicing in the U.S. a custom-built Italian body was added to a General Motors platform and engine. The Blackhawk debuted in January 1970 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Prices ranged from US$22,500 to US$75,000 at a time when the standard Pontiac Grand Prixs on which they were based cost about $5,000 new. All early Blackhawks were coupes, but rare sedans were produced later. Convertible versions were called D’Italia and Bearcat. Stutz Blackhawks became the car of choice among elite entertainers of the day. Unfortunately, as GM continued to downsize and reduce their traditional body-on-frame, rear-wheel-drive offerings, Stutz found themselves needing to adjust their car design accordingly. Consequently, in 1980, the Blackhawk was redesigned for the Pontiac Bonneville chassis and then again in 1985, the Oldsmobile Delta 88/Buick LeSabre Chassis. By the late eighties, tastes were changing and the Stutz Blackhawk was no more.
The Canadian based car show Legendary Motor Car has this nice history of the Stutz Blackhawk in this video:
The first question anyone should have when a Blackhawk comes to market is who was the original owner and what was their claim to fame in order to be able to afford such a rare, hand-built automobile? In this latest example, the seller includes a picture of the “made especially for” gold plated glove box plate with “Harvey B. Gelfand” written in. We do not know who that person was, but if you do please comment below and let us know. While most of the interior and exterior pieces of these cars are bespoke and virtually impossible to source, mechanically the drive train is reliable and still easily serviceable GM body-on-frame, rear-wheel-drive Oldsmobile in this case.
Here’s the seller’s description:
“Try to find one of these collectors. In good running condition runs and drives new tires new carburetor new plugs new belts battery starter. Solid floor pans no rust does need some bodywork look at pics Seats are in great shape does need carpet little interior work. 5.0 307 motor 400 automatic transmission. Call for more info. Power windows power seat missing right-wing vent glass.“
Who was Harvey B. Gelfand, the original owner of this Stutz Blackhawk? Comment below and let us know!