Lost Luxury: 1979 Stutz IV-Porte

This 1981 Stutz IV-Porte is a far cry from its over-the-top beginnings as a luxury car coveted by the rich and famous. While downright goofy looking by today’s design standards, these were all the rage for the jet-set back in the 70s. It was a strange time. Anyway, the seller has inherited this car from his deceased uncle, who neglected to tell anyone where it was stored before his untimely passing. The seller apparently dug deep enough to find it, but time has not been kind. Find it here on eBay with a $5,000 Buy-It-Now.

Complete with an externally-mounted spare tire and side exhaust, nothing else really came close to resembling the second coming of the Stutz brand when the IV-Porte debuted. These were borderline garish in terms of adornment, and obscenely expensive despite riding on ordinary GM-sourced running gear. Dean Martin may have driven one, but unless he was secretly a road test editor for Car & Driver, I’m not sure I’d trust his endorsements of motor vehicles. However, if you wanted to make a splash, these cars were hard to miss.

The interiors were quite opulent, with leather everywhere, beverage coolers, and power everything. Overall, however, it’s not like you were getting self-massaging seats and car phones – they really were just gussied up with the typical trappings of any other luxury car of the era, but for some reason, Stutz was able to convince buyers to part with upwards of $285,000 in the early 80s! Now, certainly, the Virgil Exner connection gave the brand a ton of cache, but it still blows my mind to think of the numbers of cars you could have had for that dough.

Unfortunately for this car, despite its leather interior seemingly surviving, the amount of time the Stutz has been standing has allowed significant rust issues to fester. This includes a hole in the roof, which is obviously no small undertaking to fix. The seller notes the doors do not open (except for one), the tires don’t hold air, and the car will need to be winched up with its shift linkage disconnected for towing purposes, as the keys are missing, too. While they are iconic, in a way, does that quality alone make this Stutz worthy of restoration?

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Comments

  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    I don’t want to sound negative, so I’ll say that is positively the ugliest car I’ve ever seen. 285K? Proof that money can’t buy good taste.

    Like 30
    • RICHARD BALL

      nor commosense

      Like 10
    • Superdessucke

      To be fair, I think that price is adjusted for inflation and slightly overstated. According to Wikipedia, this car sold for about $84,500 in 1981, which adjusts to about $239,000 today. Still, definitely a lot of money for a tarted up Bonneville!

      Like 15
  2. Howard A Member

    Don’t worry, Rex, you aren’t going to be alone on this. It’s hideous, and I can appreciate just about anything that comes through here. I can’t even tell what it started out as, a GM 4 door, I think.

    Like 14
    • Rob

      1980 pontiac bonneville

      Like 6
      • Will Fox

        Worse, Rob. It’s based on the Chevy Crap-piece.

        Like 2
      • Superdessucke

        The Crapiece and Bonneville were based on the same chassis, so that’s really six of one being half dozen of another. If you google it, you’ll see that some of these even used what appears to be a standard Oldsmobile 88 speedo assembly.

        Like 3
      • Ralph

        They went to the Olds based one after the Pontiac B body was dropped for a few years in the early 80’s. No VIN listed on this one so there is no way to tell what it was based on.

      • jerry

        isn’t this about the time g.m got in a pile of crap for putting chev motors in caddys and the rich people in places like florida took gm to court over it! same time caddy had that 4-6-8 junk engine!

  3. mark

    Maybe there is a reason that the sellers Uncle would not tell anyone where it was stored…………………The Pontiac Aztec is now officially the 2nd ugliest car ever made.

    Like 19
    • Sedoy

      I think the Tesla Cybertruck will take first place as the ugliest car ever built.

      Like 10
  4. Bob C.

    Lost luxury? I’ll say it’s lost.

    Like 2
    • Ike Onick

      49 too many.

      Like 6
      • Brent

        No. 50 too many.

        Like 12
      • Bill Murphy

        Make it
        60 too many in case they built a few extra.

        Like 2
  5. Rob

    the 1982 move Night Shift had one in it LOL just so you know :P

    Like 5
    • JCA

      This is the type of car only a true idea man can appreciate

      Like 3
      • David Ulrey

        It also proves that not all ideas are good ideas. I normally wouldn’t say this but honestly if I had my choice between it and the newer, smaller, front wheel drive Chevy parked next to it, I’d take the Chevy.

  6. 408 interceptor

    I prefer the mid 70’s eldorado version of the iconic pimp mobile.

    Like 4
  7. exartist

    For the complicated man who no one understands but his woman (Stutz!)
    Can ya’ dig it?

    Like 13
    • Ike Onick

      Shut yer mouth!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Like 11
    • Howard A Member

      Right on,,

      Like 7
      • Ike Onick

        But he’s talkin ’bout Stutz!

        Like 8
  8. Barney

    I don’t recall what year the one I worked on was but I know the time frame was the early seventies. It came in to the shop for front suspension work. In trying to determine what the car was made from so I could get the right parts and alignment specs I found out it was basically a Pontiac

    Like 7
  9. CParm

    $285,000? That cant be right, it would be the equivalent of spending $806,000 today. I can’t believe anyone, no matter how rich they are would put down that kind of money for a clownmobile

    Like 6
    • Drew V

      Read above, the car originally sold for $64.5 K. The $285 K figure is adjusted for today’s dollar value…

      Like 7
  10. Coventrycat

    No more goofy looking than any stupid SUV, CUV, or pick up sold today – by any manufacturer – and none of them will be featured on BF unless it’s a Hummer.

    Like 6
  11. Stangalang

    🤢🤮 285000 omg I needed that…

  12. Chris M.

    Official pimp transportation. Tacky

    Like 8
  13. Dusty Stalz

    Looks like it had an engine fire.

    Like 3
    • Chris M.

      Too bad it was only confined to the engine bay. I would’ve allowed it to spread if not encouraged a healthy blaze by means of some sort of accelerant.

      Like 11
  14. SusanOliver

    These were stupid and just plain ugly when new, not much has changed. Only tasteless rich people bought these as a status symbol, and I think most people secretly laughed at them after they did.

    Like 5
  15. SubGothius

    These were “downright goofy looking” by the era’s design standards, too; just the sort of thing for people with FAR more money than taste and an intense desire to flaunt it.

    Like 5
  16. C Carl

    Wow, you guys are tough on the Stutz.
    That’s a lot of Italian leather. Hand built in Italy. It looks better than the new Tesla truck. The right person could put this on a new chassis. I like it.

    Like 5
  17. sir mike

    Shame it was found……see if it can be lost again please..

    Like 6
  18. Bakyrdhero

    I believe Elvis and Johnny Cash each had one. I don’t see the beauty in it, but there were a lot of ugly cars in the late 70’s, Some have aged well and others haven’t.

    Like 6
    • Ike Onick

      This was ugly at birth and just got worse with age.

      Like 2
    • Francisco

      Pia Zadora had one.

      Like 1
  19. RCinphill

    Pimpin’ ain’t easy

    Like 3
  20. Ralph

    Twin Turbo LS swap candidate if I ever saw one…….

    Like 1
  21. John

    No mention as to whether it’s a numbers matching original. That’s sarcasm.

    This is an ugly car. That’s truth.

    Like 3
  22. ACZ

    Lipstick on a pig.

    Like 2
    • David Ulrey

      You’re being far too kind. Some pigs are sort of cute in their own way. This just isn’t. I was definitely alive when they were new. Most people that didn’t laugh at them were shocked and appalled. The leather was nice. That’s the only positive thing I can find to say. They really were a major slap in the face to the name Stutz.

      Like 1
  23. Mark Mitchell Member

    I can smell the moldy interior right through my computer screen-

    Like 4
  24. Andrew Franks

    Nothing is uglier than a Tesla Truck. If you must, buy a Rivian Truck instead.
    The Stutz: Bring your sense of humor. I remember these cars in the day, and they are simply an example of wretched excess. If somebody wants to take this on, you are North of $100,000. to get it really nice, and change the color to something darker (not Black) and that will help tone the design down. For
    comic relief, which we could all use now, restore it and bring it to Cars and Coffee.

    Like 1
  25. Clay Bryant

    I’m building my own Tesla truck and it’ll beat this Stutz. Taking my 89 Olds 98,jacking it up a little and making cardboard panels. Total redo….$144. Wonder what they paid the 3rd. grader for his drawing (or did they steal it to keep their costs down…..?)

    Like 1
  26. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    All of GMs cars of the 80s were fugly! Square, slab sides, no imagination. That contributes to the ugliness of the Stutz.
    Look at a mid 70s coupe, Stutz Bearcat, and it’s not so bad. Still garish, but at least it has SOME style. The coupe roofline adds a lot, as does the two door suiside doors.

    Like 1
  27. Bob McK Member

    Perfect for the man with huge gold necklaces and lots of big rings. I remember seeing them at the auctions years ago. You could always tell who owned “that” car.

    Like 2
  28. Chris M.

    You could take a big s#*t on the hood and it wouldn’t look any worse. As a matter of fact I’d take a Bricklin any day over this reject!

    Like 1
  29. John Oliveri

    The 2 door version that both Elvis, Sinatra and Lucille Ball owned were 70s converted Grand Prixs, Elvis car was actually a 73 w a 455, that was pulled from a Pontiac dealer in NY, then shipped to Italy for its conversion and re body, Elvis car had mechanical upgrades as well as sound system interior and Spoke wheel upgrades, factory sunroofs etc, these 80,s versions were horrible

    Like 2
  30. Glenn Schwass Member

    Um, NO

    Like 2
  31. Little_Cars

    I have a Renwal 1/25th model of this and several other “modern” versions of classic cars. Kits were copyrighted 1966 and the series of kits were called Revivals. Renwal also offered slot car bodies of the same. The Stutz depicted in scale was a two seat open car and not bad at all. They also did a Packard Victoria, Duesenberg Phaeton, Bugatti two seater, Pierce Silver Arrow and Mercer Raceabout. Some of these turned into 1/1 scale drivable cars. Whenever I’ve seen these Stutz in photos or up close I find certain angles don’t look bad individually but the execution as a whole does nothing for me. And the standard old car rust and 50’s diner upholstery pretty much negates any remaining opulence.

    Like 1
  32. Gary

    My brother and i raced Evil Kinevel in Ft. Lauderdale in his stutz back in the 80s. Evil had a 2 door and my brother had a 71 442 convertible. He pulled up next to us at a red light and said hey kid you want to race? What 18 yo kid would say no? Went red light to red light, evil won and yelled out nice race kid and drove off. His plate read Evil 1. Fun times for sure!

    Like 2
  33. Robert G

    These cars were definitely NOT popular when they first came out. Most people said they would not be caught dead in them. Then someone also attempted to resurrect the Dusenburg with a similar body style, and it received bad reviews also.

    The only ones who would buy them were pimps, and every one knows that they never won any awards for good fashion sense.

    Some cars became more popular with age, even the ugly Volkswagen buss made a decent comeback, but not this one, it just got uglier with age.

    It is arguably one of the top ten nasty looking cars in my book. I remember sales were low and it did not last long before it went out of production.

    When this car hit the market it did not make a splash, instead it just crashed with the general public just like the new Mustang Mach E electric car which I promptly labeled “The Phony Pony”.

    • Little_Cars

      Where does the designation 4-port (IV-Porte) come from? What’s it mean?

      Robert G, your suggestion that these received bad reviews and were popular with pimps is not accurate. At the price, the pimps were choosing SuperFly Cadillacs — Sevilles and Eldorados. This Stutz was the most popular of the resurrected classics and many celebrities, sports figures, entertainers and even a few politicians purchased them. You remember sales were low? Production numbers were low by GM standards yes. They were hand built, not just knock offs using Caprice or Bonneville bodies. You remember they didn’t last long? I believe 10-12 years is a pretty good run.

      • Robert G

        No. You are wrong. I remember these well because they were considered to be so outragious. I was heavy into the automotive industry by then. Moreover the production run was very slow because sales were so low. The manifacture held on as long as he could but his bad taste on style caused a the company to eventually close down.

  34. Stutz man

    I am the owner of this car and I had a black coupe years ago just like Elvis car I sold it to a Elvis impersonator here in mi its funny to read all the hate comments on these cars but people don’t realize is this car is a neo classic design if you research that you will see some beautiful cars people think that someone just threw this thing together with crazy ideas but if you go back and look at the classics you will see the spare tire exposed and the exhaust coming out of the side of the car and the floating headlights of that era so the older generations remember those neo classic cars and that’s why they paid the high dollar for them it makes a statement if the car does not sell I will restore it I have found a clean donor car

    Like 2
    • Gary

      I agree with stutz man. These cars were special, hand made metal bodys, the best leather and wood trim, better than a Rolls. Tons of stars owned them as well as many corporate heads. I can remember seeing them all over the streets of Ft Lauderdale and miami. A different time for sure. People bought them that could afford them, the same as people today buying a Rolls or Bentley.

      Like 2
      • Robert G

        Gary I respectfully disagrThe few people who bought these cars dressed as bad as the car looked, and of the very few stars who bought them, they were well know for their bad taste in fasion. These custom monstrosities were never popular with the general public and the resale value was dismal, nobody wanted them.

    • Robert G

      Attempting to graft in the neo classic style into today’s body styles only produced a monster. That attempt was loud and obnoxious almost to the point of offensive. This car will never be know for anything but a prise winner in the top ten runoffs for the ugliest car. A Volkswagen “Thing” was better looking.

  35. Barry

    Ugly or beautiful I can’t understand why some one would let it
    reach this state.

    Like 1
  36. Stevieg

    Barry White had one too. The Kount redid it for Barry’s widow. Tasteless! And I like 1970’s pimp rides lol.

    Like 1
  37. John Oliveri

    I remember, at least they found his car and put Vogues back on it, how the hell do you loose Barry Whites car?

    Like 1
  38. Gary

    Interesting Wikipedia page on Blackhawks. Says 500-600 were made and only 6 per month as they were all handmade. Lists the celebritys of the time that owned them. Also prices.
    Love them or hate them, still part of automotive history. As i said in a previous post they were everywhere in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale in the 80s.
    I personally love them.

    Like 1
    • Robert G

      Yeah, pinto is also part of automotive history, that does not make them good.
      People are still laughing at these pimp-mobiles.
      Not all people have good taste in fasion or design.

  39. Little_Cars

    Wikipedia and Google are your friends, good to have when you get in an argument over automotive lore. Have resolved many a dispute down at the local tavern. Cheers….

    Like 1
  40. Bob McK Member

    This car is a perfect example of why I love this hobby so much. There are many people that hate this car, yet there are also many people that love it and understand its history. This is also why I like BF so much. We get to read both sides. Keep up the good writing guys!

    • Robert G

      Bob the devil is in the details. 99 percent of the people hated them.
      Only one percent liked them. And of those who liked them most of those people got rid of them or hid then in the back garage after they got tired of everybody disking them so much.

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