In our final entry within the Stutz saga, we lined the ultimate few years of the Blackhawk that originated in 1971. By numerous trim transformations and minor updates, the ’71 lived all over the 1979 mannequin yr. That closing yr it was additionally reworked into the very uncommon Bearcat targa convertible. However the winds of change had been blowing: Detroit downsizing was already nicely underway, and Stutz was out of 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix platforms to make use of. The extremely costly Blackhawk offered roughly 350 examples in its first era.
Due to home market downsizing, the modern G-body Grand Prix of 1980 wasn’t massive sufficient for Blackhawk functions. As a substitute, Stutz turned to the B-body platform, and particularly the Pontiac Bonneville’s two-door variant. And although it was marketed as a coupe by GM, the roofline was so formal your writer would file it as a two-door sedan. In any occasion, the brand new hardpoints of the Bonneville meant appreciable visible adjustments on the 1980 Blackhawk coupe.
Observe: Pictures proven on this article are of a Blackhawk from 1982, which displays some revisions over the extra distinctive trappings of the 1980 mannequin.
Stutz aimed to recreate the look of the primary Blackhawk within the second, albeit with smaller proportions. The appears had been clearly primarily based upon the designs the corporate commissioned from Paolo Martin in 1976, then altered to suit the Bonneville platform that was not in existence when Martin accomplished the drawings. The efforts Stutz made on the second Blackhawk had been largely of a water this down nature, and the automobile misplaced lots of the brashness that made it so distinctive in 1971.
The Blackhawks chromed nostril nonetheless caught out proudly in entrance of the Blackhawk and cleared the path, nevertheless it was not as prolonged as earlier than. Fenders prolonged to kind awnings over the free-standing driving lamps too however weren’t as pointed or prolonged as they’d been. Exner’s pleasure and pleasure – headlamps that stood on stalks impartial of the entrance finish – remained intact.
And although the distinctive lamps had been largely unchanged, the chrome bumper beneath them didn’t fare as nicely. The unique wrap-around bumper design was changed by a squarer model. Now not a bespoke piece, the bumper was only a slight revision of that on the Bonneville: It had totally different nook items than the donor automobile, and so they wrapped additional across the fender. The best technique to inform at a look if the Blackhawk earlier than you is a primary or second version is to test for flip indicator lenses built-in into the bumper. That’s a second-gen trait, and so they’re proper from the Bonneville.
The hood was extra rounded and went with out the sturdy energy bulge of the prior mannequin. It flowed again to a extra upright A-pillar, which housed the windshield and door glass from the Bonneville. Doorways had been additionally ported immediately, although Stutz added its personal rear-hinged exterior door deal with rather than the somewhat plain-looking GM dogleg. Pricey to make, the particular door deal with lasted solely from 1980 to 1981, because the Bonneville’s door deal with appeared in 1982.
The thick B-pillar of the previous Blackhawk was made even thicker in its transition to B-body, because the group at Stutz needed to keep the Bonneville’s roofline. It certainly created an enormous blind spot in on a regular basis driving too. Mentioned blind spot was prolonged through a shrunken rear window: The B-pillar metal wrapped round to the rear, and lower off a couple of third of the overall glass space when in comparison with the Bonneville. Down the aspect of the coupe, the as soon as bulging and pronounced fenders had been constrained and smoothed. The sweeping character line down the aspect was nonetheless outlined in chrome, however weaker than earlier than. Gone was the sturdy ridge that flowed down the physique underneath the chrome spotlight.
The weak point of the fender was most blatant on the rear the place the trim strip arched over the rear wheel to little impact; it had no swoopy metallic to cling to. The rear finish appeared a lot less complicated than earlier than, although it stored to Exner’s similar primary design scheme. Rear fenders resulted in a smoothed curve and lacked the pronounced prolonged overhangs of the previous Blackhawk. The customized bumper of the previous automobile was changed with one which appeared to be a Bonneville bumper sans trim strips.
In contrast to the first-gen Blackhawk the place the hind lights hung low beneath the bumper, the state of affairs was reversed in 1980. Primary round lenses, six in whole, had been astride the license plate and recessed into an oval-shaped space. Above, the Blackhawk’s uncovered spare tire remained. Depending on buyer choice, it was generally hid through a vinyl protecting that matched the paint (not the inside, as earlier than).
Inside, the brand new Blackhawk felt unusually acquainted to clients of the previous one. One might need assumed the inside skilled an improve to B-body similarity within the transition, however no! Stutz ported over nearly all the things from the Seventies Blackhawk into 1980.
The sprint remained the identical form, switches and fittings had been from the Seventies, and even the gauges had been the identical as earlier than. New options included a revised door panel that contained the window switches (beforehand positioned on the middle console), and a visit pc system with many buttons that appeared the place the clock and window switches was once.
Value noting, the journey pc was an non-compulsory additional. In vehicles the place it was not optioned, there gave the impression to be a further ashtray and lots of room for toggle switches that appeared to be for heated seats. By the Blackhawk of 1982, the old fashioned Italian/English gauges had been eliminated by the previous cost-cutting monster. Of their stead was a normal horizontal speedometer from a up to date GM, all backed in gold.
The brand new Blackhawk’s steering wheel was an ever-changing factor. Earlier variations used the early Eighties Oldsmobile 88 steering wheel, all lined in leather-based and extra padding. Inside a few years, that modified to the extra fashionable early-mid Eighties 88 wheel. It’s tougher to trace the yearly Blackhawk adjustments within the second era as a result of the corporate marketed it much less, gross sales had been slowing, or maybe each.
Rear passenger lodging was a lot the identical because it was within the previous Blackhawk, although there was a brand new addition courtesy of the big B-pillar ruining the view: storage cupboards for glassware and liquor! Close to the rear passenger’s face on both aspect, there was a mirror (which was sadly vertical, so not that helpful) together with a cultured walnut door that slid again into the B-pillar to disclose a small compartment with two glasses and a liquor cupboard on the opposite aspect. The liquor storage was massive sufficient for 5 or 6 airplane-sized bottles.
On the facility entrance, there was not a GM large block specifically massaged for additional energy. Stutz clients had been restricted to these V8 engines out there within the B-body, although a minimum of there have been a number of on provide. The smallest was the 4.3-liter Pontiac V8, alongside 4.9- and 5.7 liter Pontiac mills.
The lone Buick engine on provide was the 350, additionally 5.7-liters just like the Pontiac. Chevy additionally supplied their 350, or their smaller 305 (5.0L). The biggest engines had been courtesy of Pontiac and Oldsmobile, and nonetheless broke the 400 cubic-inch barrier: 400 (6.6L) for the Pontiac, or 403 (nonetheless 6.6L) with the Olds. Transmissions had been in fact computerized (not that anybody needed a guide Blackhawk), the well-regarded THM350 three-speed.
The Blackhawk continued on in its second era format with trim fiddling right here and there for a number of years. Very like the primary era, it was topic largely to adjustments to the order of reducing construct prices. In the meantime, the sixth era Bonneville was in its B-body guise solely by means of 1981 when it transitioned to change into a smaller G-body in 1982. Presumably, Stutz had bought sufficient Bonnevilles to final however did bow and supply some inside elements from the newer Oldsmobile 88. As earlier than, Blackhawk turned an more and more blended bag. The 88 remained a rear-drive B-body by means of 1985.
1985 proved to be the top of the Blackhawk. That was the final yr Stutz registered any new Blackhawks, although the artisans in Italy labored so slowly that 1985 vehicles weren’t completed till 1987. In whole, Stutz offered between 150 and 250 gen-two Blackhawks because the Neoclassical automobile period pale. However we aren’t completed simply because we’ve concluded the Blackhawk saga. Oh no, the reborn Stutz made a number of different vehicles too. Subsequent time we’ll return to essentially the most acquainted of these, the Bearcat convertible.
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