Lifestyle Car: 1978 Stutz Blackhawk

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The Stutz Blackhawk is one of those “lifestyles of the rich and famous” kind of cars as I like to refer to them. The company was resurrected in the early 1970s and until 1987 they built nearly 600 Blackhawks, of which most were based on a contemporary Pontiac Grand Prix. This nice example is said to have just 55,000 miles and has been treated well over the years. Located in Discovery Bay, California, this over-the-top automobile is available here on eBay where the opening bid of $52,500 has yet to be cast. T.J. continues to bring us nifty tips like this!

Stutz Motor Co. was revived in 1968 by a retired banker and former Chrysler head stylist Virgin Exner who designed the latest Blackhawk. It looked nothing like the original automobile with that name that Stutz built about the time of The Great Depression. Noteworthy styling elements include a rear decklid that comes with a protruding space tire and a fake shell-type chrome radiator in the front. The bodies were built in Italy and imported to the U.S. for mating with a GM platform. Estimates are it took more than 1,500 person-hours to build each of the cars, with a fair amount of that tied to the custom paint jobs.

The seller’s Blackhawk is a Grand Prix beneath the skin, including a 403 cubic inch V8 engine and Turbo-Hydramatic auto transmission. It took an affluent person to buy and drive one of these cars as they were hard-pressed to break into the double digits in terms of gas mileage. Perhaps the most famous person to own a Blackhawk was Elvis Presley, who is purported to have purchased the very first one. With production numbers being low, it’s hard to believe that this Southern California example has never been on the Stutz Registry, according to the seller.

Except for an older repaint, this Stutz is pretty much an original car. It has no rust, and everything seems to be in order except for the air conditioning, which will need a recharge. We’re told the suspension was recently treated to new bushings and linkages. The odometer reading is such that the car has only averaged 1,200 miles a year since new. According to the seller, this opulent machine “will not disappoint” but the Blackhawk will have to be your cup of tea for that to happen.

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  1. Poppy

    I’d rather have the Grand Prix and save about $35,000 cash.

    Like 11
    • MikeG.

      Appears to be a tarted-up Grand Prix. The only thing Stutz about it is the appropriated name.

      Like 1
  2. Harry

    Throw in the fur coat and oversized fedora! She be fly!!

    Like 6
  3. Mitchell G.Member

    If the Lifestyle was that of the Rich and the Famous, then yes, it’d be a lifestyle car

    Like 1
    • Cal NorthMember

      Back in the 70s I used to see one of these regularly. It belonged to a man who lived in a house that looked like Tara, and turned out to be a banking fraudster. He managed to escape from a federal courthouse and go on the run for 20+ years. I always figured he was exactly who these were built for.

      Like 0
  4. TomP

    Person-hours, hahaha.. The most interesting thing about these cars is the gold plaque that’s engraved with all the names of the people who worked on the car..

    Like 4
  5. Howie

    These look better in black, not my cup of tea.

    Like 3
  6. Evan

    I smell a fishing expedition. Wikipedia says that only 5-600 people bought a new one. How many people would want one today? Still no bids placed; that oughta tell you something. Then again, all it takes is one person who wants it.

    I’d venture the real value of this is maybe $25-35k. When the seller gets off his/her high horse, someone will buy it.

    Like 6
    • GW2

      Having been around these cars since their inception In my opinion you are much closer to the truth at $25K

      Like 4
  7. Lee

    Maybe you need to see what they’ve been bringing before your keyboard appraisal and if you have to read about these cars on Wikipedia then you clearly know nothing about these cars, love e m or hate them they were made in time when cars were designed by people not by wind tunnels and eco warriors, several comps.out there of recent sales and this one is priced fairly an auction works by placing bids at last minute if no reserve maybe you need to read up on how it works 😉

    Like 9
  8. Alexander

    I saw one of these with a “For Sale” sign on it on a side street of a hideously bad neighborhood of Baltimore years ago (the same neighborhood where HBO’s “The Wire” originated).

    I went and got a car buff friend of mine to just gawk at it. As I recall, one of the two fake exhaust pipes was missing, the running board on that side was loose, the clear coat on the black finish was sunburned, and the car still had fake fur and a ROTARY DIAL car phone inside!!! I recall the asking price being some seemingly absurd high-four-figures for the tasteless cr*p we were looking at.

    I think for a while if you knew where to look you could see it in Google Street View. Maybe I should go looking again……

    Like 2
  9. Derek D Trieglaff

    You know what I see here?!?…. I see the baddest ass street machine to ever have a rotisserie restoration. Separate the body from the frame and give the G-body chassis a good freshening up with sports suspension and good brakes. Then LS twin turbski swap this thing and make those side pipes 100% functional. Proper paint job and good choice of wheels… And you’ll never see anything else like it. Now if you could just cop one for about 15-20k to start… Then, you got something on your hands that nobody would even believe.

    Like 1
  10. CCFisher

    Really? Nobody caught “Virgin Exner”? I suspect spellcheck.

    Like 10
    • Wayniac

      I caught it but it was sooooo obvious, I thought it was scribed on purpose just to see if we were paying attention……brain pause…. Maybe it’s a nepo-child-progeny whose Old Man got him a Cush job at Chrysler! But why ñame him ‘Virgin’? Then sometimers kicked in and I fuggodallaboitit!

      Like 1
      • CCFisher

        I just figured most folks don’t know who Virgil Exner was, and were perfectly willing to accept that someone named “Virgin” was once Chrysler’s head of styling.

        Like 1
  11. Steveo

    Rare and valuable car that isn’t worth having the A/C fixed prior to sale?

    Like 10
  12. Eric Johnson

    I believe the engine is an Oldsmobile.

    Like 2
    • JLHudson

      These started with a Pontiac motor. By 1978, the Pontiac motor was probably not available & replaced by the 403 Olds small block. Many Trans Ams of that era had the Olds 403.

      Like 2
  13. Vito Veccia

    Front end resembles a Cordoba.

    Like 1
  14. Autoworker

    Reminds me of a botched facelift from a bad plastic surgeon. Always hard to improve on the design of the original vehicle.

    Like 1
  15. Joe Dertie

    Hand built coach work, a bygone era for sure. Being build on a GM platform doesn’t scream sophistication. The recent Chrysler Ghia ST special at mecum for $700,000 has the seller testing the waters. Neat car, but falls into the rare but not universally desirable category

    Like 2
  16. Gary l Sams

    I used to work for a man who owned one of these. He also had 1976 Cadillac s in every color they had. He would wear a matching colored sport jacket for each car.

    Like 2
  17. Zargon IV

    I think the designer’s name is “Virgil Exner” and not “Virgin Exner.”

    Like 1
  18. Tom Bell

    I think second time in a week that Virgin’s name was mis-spelled.

    Like 3
  19. TheOldRanger

    I liked the original Stutz, but not too crazy about this one. Asking $52K and can’t fix the A/C for the buyer… bad move!
    If it were up to me, this thing won’t sell anytime in my lifetime… well, that means maybe another 20 years, if I’m lucky.

    Like 2
  20. C Force

    I can probably think of at least half a dozen 70s cars that are worth this kind of money…and this car isn’t one of them.on another note this car has an R-12 A/C system you can’t just go to the parts store and pick some up.its been gone since the late 1990s,would have to convert the system to 134a or 1234yf.

    Like 1

      The A/c system is the same for either R12 or 143A. you just have to change a couple of valves. My 1978 El Camino has the same compressor and it cost less than $200 to have it converted in 1987 when I bought my 1987 El Camino and had it converted.

      Like 0
  21. macvaugh

    Another one on eBay right now at twice the price:

    Like 0

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