When it comes to cars, there are two main categories of cars I like: ones that exist, and ones that don’t. But that’s it. We’ve been writing about extant cars all day, so why not take a moment to feature a car unburdened by reality? Happily, a televised fake-documentary called What We Do In The Shadows, which is about vampires (who are actually normal human actors who do not, as far as I know, subsist on human blood) has introduced me to an all-new not-real car: the Stutz Laszlo.
I won’t go into too much of the plot or anything so as to avoid the dreaded spoilers, but keeping in mind that vampires are immortal. One of the vampires, Laszlo, played hilariously and hornily by Matt Berry, acquired the car somewhere between the 1910s and 1920s.
The car is called a Stutz Laszlo; Stutz was certainly a real American carmaker, active between 1911 and 1939. Best known for making early sports cars like the Stutz Bearcat, it evolved into a company that made delivery vans.
Some information about the Stutz Laszlo is given in the show:
So, there were only four of this fictional Stutzs made, and one was given to Henry Ford, who gave it to Mussolini, a clear reference to Henry Ford’s well-known fascist leanings.
The car is also, interestingly, a hybrid, in this case a hybrid running on both gasoline and coal.
In the show, the Stutz Laszlo appears in two different forms: the first, as found, is quite clearly a lightly modified Ford Model T:
Based on the electric headlamps and the kerosene sidelamps, I’d bet the production team started with an early ‘20s Model T to modify into the Laszlo.
A bunch of brass-looking headers have also been fitted to the car, and the cowl bodywork is modified from a conventional Model T as well.
During the show, the car is disassembled and then poorly re-assembled outside the room it was trapped in, and that version still appears to be based on the same Model T, but with a number of parts re-positioned:
In its re-built form, we also see the large coal-fired furnace at the rear, belching thick black coal-smoke from a 90°-angled smokestack:
Based on how far removed the coal-fired mechanism is from the front-mounted gasoline engine, I suspect the Stutz Lazlo may be a series hybrid, with a pair of independent drivetrains operating simultaneously.
The gasoline motor up front I think drives the rear wheels via a driveshaft like a conventional car of the era. Since the car is fictional, I feel free to make up some further details, like the fact that the coal-fired steam engine at the rear drives the front axle via a second driveshaft, making the Laszlo the only car ever to have two separate drivetrains driving opposite axles via parallel driveshafts.
I’m well aware I don’t write for the show, but until anyone says otherwise, let’s all agree this is canonical information for the Stutz Laszlo.
I like when mass-media entertainment comes up with fictional cars, because it reminds me of that strange period in the 1960s when many popular TV shows had their own custom-built car, like obvious ones like the Batmobile or The Munsters’ Munster Koach or Morley’s Monster dragster from 60 Minutes.