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Stutz SuperChargers


In 1929 Stutz offered an optional supercharger at a cost of $1500.00. Below is a scan of an article from Motor magazine describing the blower system. It is very similiar to Mercedes 500k/540k setup. A rootes type blower is mounted in front of the radiator with a clutch connecting it to the crankshaft. A lever operated by the driver engages the clutch and initiates the blower. Air is pushed through the carburator. There is similar mechanisms to the Mercedes to increase fuel pressure and close off incoming air from the air cleaner. One difference between the Stutz blower and the Mercedes blower is that the Mercedes's is engaged by depressing the gas pedal to the floor. It can stay engaged until you hit redline on the tach or you run out of road. The Stutz blower is engaged with its own lever and can remain in action longer. Another difference is that the Mercedes blower at 7psi is good for a 60% boost in hp while the Stutz blower at 4psi is good for 40%. This may also be the reason the Stutz blower can be used for a longer period.

Existing SuperCharged Stutz Cars

There are currently 3 known factory supercharged Stutzes. One is the Lancefield Coupe that is presently owned by Skip Barber and came from the A.K. Miller collection (NOTE: This car was sold by RM in August 2006 for 715k). This last Saturday (April 2006), at the New England Region CCCA tech meeting held at Holman Engineering in Massachusetts I was lucky enough to see a demonstration by well known Stutz Racer George Holman of a factory supercharger setup on a dyno. Geoge made the point that they were using a tired engine, which was puting out about 90 hp. The factory rating for that engine was 115. When the blower was engaged, horsepower increased to around 130 which was the 40% indicated by the factory. Below is a picture of the engine running on the dyno.

History and Pictures of my Stutz Blower

In the summer of 2007 I was involved in a discussion in the AACA forum on AK Miller the famous Stutz collector and eccentric. When specifically discussing the blown car he owned (see pictures of his blower above at George Holmans) it was mentioned by a member that he knew of an original Stutz Supercharger for sale. At first I found that hard to believe, but followed up and eventually got a crate from UPS with this in it.

This blower was removed from a car in a wrecking yard outside Chicago by William Johnson in 1937. Mr Johnson was an engineer and as a side job worked for local racers. He wrote a letter to Stutz in 1937 inquiring about parts and the availability of more blowers, as well as the performance characteristics of the SV16 and DV32 engines while supercharged. The response from Stutz came back within 2 weeks and informed him that all the engineers were gone and that the company was more or less gone with just a service shell remaining. He also made detailed engineering drawings of the blower with the idea of adapting it to racing. After WWII he moved to southern CA and around 1951 his dad packed up all his "junk" including this supercharger (in the crate pictured below) as well as other racing parts including a Duesenberg Grand Prix engine and Model A Duesenberg blower and shipped everything to him. He seems to have "retired" from the racing hobby with his move to California so everything stayed locked in his garage until his death a few years ago. Most of the contents of the garage were purchased by a well known restorer and his even more well known celebrity client. Fortunately they were not in to Stutz so I got this. At this point I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. The Schumacher Special originally had 4 carburators and I really want to keep that the way Gus built it back in 1930. I guess I need to find a 1930 Stutz that lost it's blower. Any leads would be appreciated :-).


Mercedes 500k/540k Superchargers

As I mentioned at the top of this page. The pre-war Mercedes supercharger setup was very similar to the Stutz setup here. The Mercedes blower was bigger, and provided more boost. The activation was via the foot pedal, as the driver would basically "floor it" causing a rod to engage the supercharger clutch while simultaneously closing the air cleaner, opening the additional jets on the carb and in the case of the 540k the distributor is retarded. To my knowledge, these are the only two systems where the air pressure is forced through the carb. In both cases this requires the fuel system to up the pressure to compensate for what the blower is doing. The Mercedes systems is really complicated. For this reason, many of the blown Mercedes cars do not really have a correctly operating blower. When it is setup correctly, you get a noticable surge in power to go along with the very cool siren sound the blower makes.

Motor Magazine Article on Stutz Blower Page 1

Motor Magazine Article on Stutz Blower Page 2

Automobile Trade Jounal Article on Stutz Blower Page 1

Automobile Trade Jounal on Stutz Blower Page 2