1926 Stutz sedan

The 1926 Stutz sedan introduced two trends in American automobile design: longer, lower cars, and safety features built into the body. The redesigned "Safety Stutz" was noticeably lower than "high hat" sedans of the 1910s and early 1920s. Its safety features included a low center of gravity, which helped prevent skidding, swaying, and tipping over; a wire-glass windshield, an early effort toward shatter-resistant glass; narrow front corner posts for better visibility; and reinforced runningboard side bumpers. The body sat low on the chassis because a worm-gear differential made it possible to place the drive shaft below the rear axle. Some new-car showrooms featured a 1926 Stutz mounted at a 45-degree angle to show how far the safety car could lean without tipping over. Stutz sales literature extolled the car's "road-adhesiveness" and compared it to "a strong magnetic attraction exerted by the earth upon the car's wheels."
The worm-gear differential used in the Stutz automobile was not widely adopted by car manufacturers, but the lengthening and lowering of sedans continued for decades and had a great impact on styling, manufacturing, and sales. Safety glass became common in the late 1920s and 1930s, but wire glass was replaced by two-layer glass with consolidating material between the layers.
Eugene Fatjo purchased this car in 1926; he lived in Santa Clara, California, and worked at the Bank of America. Fatjo's granddaughters, Katherine F. Harrington and Candace M. Harrington, donated the Stutz to the Smithsonian in 1994.
Currently not on view
date made
Stutz Motor Car Company
place made
United States: Indiana, Indianapolis
overall: 6 ft x 5 1/2 ft x 16 1/4 ft; 1.8288 m x 1.6764 m x 4.953 m
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Katherine F. Harrington and Candace M. Harrington
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
Road Transportation
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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