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For Sale: 25th Annv. 58′ Scarab Sports Racecar

25th Anniversary 1958 Scarab Mk I

Commissioned by Richard Reventlow in 1983

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*25th Anniversary 1958 Scarab MK I at speed

History of the Scarab’s

The 1958 racing season was expected to be particularly competitive as revised European regulations left all big-engined racing cars obsolete for major international races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Many of these cars were not ready for retirement and found their way into the hands of American racing drivers. The young heir to the Woolworth fortune Lance Reventlow decided to build his own car instead. He had toured various European factories in 1957 and concluded that he had seen nothing that could not be done better in the United States.

2010 RA-Scarab 3_4 ft View#CCC3

  To ensure his new machine would be up to the challenge, Reventlow had his chief mechanic Warren Olson hire the best designers and builders from the California Indy fabrication world. Among them were former Kurtis fabricators Dick Troutman and Tom Barnes, and engine wizards Jim Travers and Frank Coon, who would later form Traco. Reventlow also called on Ken Miles to draft up the chassis. The final piece of the puzzle was Chuck Daigh, as both as a driver and a drivetrain specialist. Within months after assembling the engineering ‘dream team’ the first sports racer, The Scarab MK I, rolled out of the shop.

Reventlow had one big advantage over the Europe sourced competition; he could build a car specifically for American ‘stop-go’ tracks, which were quite different than their much faster European counterparts. Accordingly he asked for a car that was compact, light and above all able to put its power down very well. Inspired by the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, Ken Miles penned a design for a spaceframe with enough room for Warren Olson and his men to make their own interpretations. The suspension was equally advanced through double wishbones at the front and DeDion axle at the rear. Making an all American racing car meant that Reventlow had to make a compromise and use drum brakes. The 25th Anniversary Scarab MK I listed here had disc brakes instead of the drums used on the original Scarabs.

 

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  The Corvette V8 formed the basis for the Scarab’s powerplant. Although by the time Travers and Coon were done with the engine, it was a different beast altogether. The displacement was increased to 5.5 liter (339cid) by boring and stroking the V8. The enlarged engine was equipped with Hilborn Fuel Injection and the intake manifold sported eight very stylish intake trumpets. With all modifications in place, the V8 was good for anywhere between 360 and 385 bhp, most of which was available from very low revs. The engine was mated to a Borg-Warner four-speed gearbox, which had an aluminum casing. An aluminum body was styled by Chuck Pelly. The completed machine weighed in at a very competitive 860 kg or 1900 pounds.

The 25th Anniversary Scarab MK I has a RM Motorsports chevy iron small block 408ci with 630hp. The original Traco small block chevy is now a spare.  The transmission is a Muncey Rockcrusher set up for road racing with a Traco ballistic bell housing for driver safety.

Reventlow debuted the ‘Scarab Mk I’ early in 1958. The Scarab’s first victory came in Santa Barbara in June of 1958. While Reventlow raced the MK I, two more MK IIs were assembled at the shop. Chuck Daigh drove one of the Mk IIs alongside Reventlow in the Mk I and together they dominated the remainder of the season. The highlight of the year was a closely fought victory during the prestigious Times Grand Prix at Riverside. Daigh beat the Ferrari 412 S piloted by future world champion Phil Hill after swapping the lead many times. A fitting finale of the season were two victories for Reventlow during the Nassau Speed Week.

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  At the end of the 1958 season both Mk IIs were put up for sale and raced with great success for several seasons in the hands of the likes of Augie Pabst and Carroll Shelby. Harry Heuer was still able to win the SCCA B-Modified championship in 1961 against the ‘superior’ mid-engined European racers.

 Reventlow had his personal Scarab MK I converted into a road car and embarked on an even more ambitious Formula 1 project.  Reventlow left a big mark on motor racing and today the Scarabs are considered to be among the finest front-engined sports cars produced. They are really only rivaled by the Chaparral 1, which was also built by Troutman & Barnes. Fortunately all three front-engined Scarabs have survived.

  Reventlow held onto his Scarab MK I road car until his untimely death. Compared to the racing specification, the modification for street use included a full interior, a Porsche sourced windscreen, mufflers and a milder carburetted engine, which required a hood scoop. Between 1972 and 1978 the car was in the Cunningham museum. It was sold in 1979 and the MK I Scarab was returned back to its original as raced condition. The 25th Anniversary Scarab MK I has had the same conversion.  Originally was built as a pug nose street car just like the original MK I in 1958. For the 50th Anniversary Scarab Reunion at Road America it was returned to the race long nose you see here.

 

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25th Anniversary 1958 Scarab Mk I

Reventlow (Lance’s 1/2 brother) commissioned the SCARAB MK-1, 25th Anniversary Sports Racer to be built by Dick Trotman with a TRACO Engine.  It was completed in 1983.

The current owner of 23 years commissioned Ron Fournier to do extensive work on the car to make it as safe as possible for modern vintage racing.  The following changes were made:

 
1. Changed rear suspension mounting points to correct rear end geometry for the rear axle trailing arms.
2. Installed a modern “strong-braced” roll bar.
3. Installed a modern Traco ballistic bell housing and Muncey Rockcrusher road race trans.
4. Installed a skid extension on the front of the frame just under the front of the hood so if the car goes upside down it will not crush the driver.
5. Modified the gas tank, installed a new fuel cell and added a steel frame protection around the back of the tank.
6. Install a modern SCCA on board fire system.
7. Installed electric shut off with impact shut off switch for the fuel pump.
8. Added the proper 5 point seat belt mounting brackets to the frame.
9. Added an air dame between the front wheels to keep the nose down at speed, this is a significant safety item. This car wants to lift at speeds over 150 mph.  The 3 original Scarabs all suffered from this issue. Vintage photos with both front wheels off the ground are available.
10. The car is fully sorted and is a very neutral handling, reliable and easy to maintain vintage race car.
The car has raced at Road America for the last 19 years and is one of, if not the fastest cars at this track, with the 6” wide vintage racing tires.  Lap times with Tony DeLorenzo driving are in 2:35 – 2:37 range depending on tire age and track conditions.
In 2008 for the SCARAB 50th Reunion event at Road America Vintage, The nose was reconfigured with a cap to return the car to it’s 1958 configuration. It had a pug nose because the original Mk-I had been hit a number of times while racing and when Lance converted it to street trim it remained that way. The 25th Anniversary car was made from templets off the original Mk-I on display in the Cunningham Museum. It was also repainted Reventlow Blue from vintage color photos and approval by Richard Reventlow.

In 2009 all new rod ends were installed through out the entire car. The drive shaft and differential were inspected and rebuilt as well.

The car has a full set of spares, including a second engine, transmission, prositraction unit and a second set of wheels, tires.   Molds for the plastic windscreen and door windows. The current installed race motor is an R-M Motorsports 408 ci iron Chevy Small block with over 630 HP (it has all the right bits) with 3 race weekends on it. The original “spare” Traco engine was rebuilt by R M Motorsports in 2012.

The car is titled in MI and is “street legal”, if the side mufflers pipes and headlights (in storage) are installed.
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