Stutz Bearcat – 1912-1916
Alright, let’s head way back! The Stutz Bearcat was a World War 1 era American sportscar. The name Bearcat was brought back for future generations of cars but was never quite the same. The Bearcat managed to put out a pretty solid 60 horsepower. Okay yes, that’s not much, but at the time that was incredible.
The Stutz Bearcat has even made its way into pop culture. In the Simpsons episode “The Trouble With Trillions”, Homer, Mr. Burns, and Smithers escaped the IRS using a maroon Stutz Bearcat. They weren’t chased because the police considered it, “more of a burgundy”.
The Bearcat was a luxury automobile. If you wanted a symbol of your status, you chose the Bearcat over something like the Model T since it was four times the price of a Model T. The status of it carried on throughout time. People who saw the Bearcat as the epitome of status as a child or teen would grow up with that in their mind and buy an older classic Bearcat later on.
The Bearcat made a name for itself by entering itself into the 1911 Indianapolis 500. It finished in 11’th place. That may not seem like a great achievement, but to come from nowhere to a competitive reliable car that could finish and compete in the Indianapolis 500 overnight is fantastic and a tribute to just how great the Bearcat was. The Bearcat was then enrolled in 30 different races the following year. It won 25!
The Bearcat was also used in what was a big real-world race. A Bearcat was used to shatter the run from California to New York. The cross-country trip was one of the big milestones in the early industrial United States and it led to a bunch of movies like Cannonball Run.