Scarab (constructor)

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Scarab 1960 Formula One car on display.

Scarab was an all-American open-wheel race car and sports car constructor from the USA featuring cars designed and built by Tom Barnes and Dick Troutman for Reventlow Automobiles Inc, owned by Lance Reventlow. The Chevrolet engines were built by Traco Engineering (Jim Travers and Frank Coons, nicknamed "The Whiz Kids").[1]

History[edit source | edit]

Troutman and Barnes built sports cars for amateur road racing in the USA in the 1950s. Chuck Daigh drove the Scarab sports car to victory in the 1958 Riverside International Grand Prix, beating a field of international factory teams including famous race car driver Phil Hill and the Ferrari Team.[1] Carroll Shelby drove the Scarab sports car to victory at the Continental Divide raceway in Castle Rock Colorado setting a new course record.[1] Scarab made an ill-fated entry into Formula One during the 1960 season with front-engined cars which by then were nearly obsolete. The engines in these front-engined cars were 4-cylinder units similar in layout to the Offenhauser, but entirely of Scarab's own design. They featured Desmodromic valve gear similar in design to that found on the Mercedes engine of the period and were built and maintained by Chuck Daigh. The engines were the achilles heel of the team as the Desmo gear could not cope with the large amount of movement in the engine block and would consistently pull the valves too far closed resulting in valve failure.[1] Scarab participated in five Grands Prix, entering a total of nine cars. Reventlow and his chief mechanic Chuck Daigh drove the blue and white liveried cars. Both Scarabs were entered in the Grands Prix of Monaco, Holland, Belgium, and France, while only Daigh's car was entered in the American Grand Prix.[1] Daigh, while entered in the Dutch Grand Prix, did not race due to payment issues.

International Formula Racing[edit source | edit]

The following year Chuck Daigh went on to pilot one of the Scarabs in International Formula racing in Europe where he finished eighth, at Goodwood vying for the Lavant Cup, and finished seventh in a bid for the International Trophy. This was a third front engine car, originally built for the F1 effort, but later powered by an Offenhauser Indianapolis type engine.

Scarab built one rear engine car for the 1962 Formula One season, powered by a Buick aluminum V-8. However, the final FIA engine rules made the necessary engine modifications illegal and the car was never raced in Europe. Reventlow ran this car once in Formula Libre race at Sandown Park in Australia, finishing fourth.[1]

The last Scarab car[edit source | edit]

Finally, a mid-engined two-seat sports car was built. They put the Buick V8 engine in this car and Lance wanted to test it on the streets of Los Angeles. So, he went to the California Department of Motor Vehicles and (after installing a muffler) managed to get license plates for this all-out racing car! He personally raced the car (without muffler) three times and his best finish was second at Santa Barbara.[1]

Reventlow was planning on closing down the Scarab operation so he sold this little sports racing car to John Mecom, Jr. of Houston Texas. Mecom installed a Traco-built 327 Chevy engine and put A.J. Foyt in the car. Foyt's best result was winning a pair of races at Nassau, Bahamas during 1963.[1]

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit source | edit]

(key)

YearChassisEngineTyresDrivers12345678910PointsWCC
1960ScarabScarab L4DARGMON500NEDBELFRAGBRPORITAUSA0NC
Chuck DaighDNQDNSRetDNS10
Lance ReventlowDNQDNSRet
Richie GintherDNS

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Anthony Young. "Of Dreams & Dollars: the Short Life of the Scarab". Automotive Quarterly (Vol. 21 No. 3): 306–323. 

External links[edit source | edit]