Open Roads, February | Lot 241
1958 Scarab Reproduction
North American Offering
$137,500 USD | Sold
| San Diego, California
19 - 28 February 2021
- One of a handful of custom-built reproductions by Scarab Motorsports
- Handmade aluminum bodywork with correct hardware throughout
- True to the original Lance Reventlow design, with modern improvements
- Powered by a Chevrolet LS2 V-8 block, with LS3 heads, and LS3 Schwartz comp cam
- Tremec TK0600 five-speed manual transmission; Winters quick-change differential
- Wilwood four-piston disc brakes and coilover shocks
- As exciting as it appears—a vintage race car reborn for modern roads
During the late 1950s, wealthy young American Lance Reventlow competed in Formula 2 and toured Europe’s great racing car manufacturers, examining their latest offerings. Reventlow eventually determined that his portion of the vast Woolworth’s “five-and-dime” fortune could nonetheless not buy him the latest racing models, as the European factories always kept them for their own teams. The solution, obvious to Reventlow, was to develop a new race car that would change the face of the sport. In 1957, Lance Reventlow funded a new company, Reventlow Automotive Incorporated (RAI), with the purpose to build an all-American racer and compete and win against the likes of Ferrari, Maserati, Aston Martin, and Jaguar.
Reventlow recruited some of the best developers, designers, and fabricators. The Scarab, as Reventlow dubbed his creation, was a fantastic machine, featuring a featherweight space-frame chassis and aluminum bodywork by the soon legendary team of Troutman & Barnes. Power came by way of an over-bored Chevrolet small-block V-8 with Corvette heads and gearbox. The body was designed by Chuck Pelly and the pinstriping was completed by Von Dutch, who also designed the Scarab logo. In 1958, the cars were raced all over the United States, setting lap records and winning the 1958 U.S. Grand Prix at Riverside. Even in the early 1960s the Scarabs, now run by Augie Pabst’s Meister Bräuser team, were still nearly impossible to beat. Road & Track seemed to agree, featuring the Scarab on their cover and dubbing it “America’s Finest Sports Car.”
Only three original Scarab sports racers were produced, and today they are, appropriate to their legend, part of significant private collections from which they will likely not emerge. A much more readily available opportunity can be found in the car offered here, a modern iteration produced by Scarab Motorsports.
The example offered here was built in 2010. It has all the aesthetic uniqueness of the originals, with modern day improvements. The car’s aluminum bodywork was hand-built and remains true to the original design, including a wire edge finish where appropriate. The body is painted in “Scarab racing blue” with pin-striping and Scarab door logo mirroring Von Dutch’s original work. Lexan windshield and side windows provide a wind break for occupants. The hood and doors feature the original-style latches, hinges, and pins. The underside of the hood is signed by original Scarab designer Chuck Pelly, a nod to the car’s correct period appearance and proportions. It is equipped with turn signals, taillights and headlights with Lexan and aluminum headlight covers. The body is mounted to a lightweight 4130 chromoly steel powder-coated chassis frame. The suspension features Corvette C5 uprights and hubs, custom upper and lower control arms, coilover shocks and springs, Wilwood Superlite four-piston brakes, stainless-steel fuel and brake lines, and a Winters quick-change differential with independent rear suspension. The Scarab rides on Dunlop Racing tires mounted on painted Halibrand-style 'kidney bean' knock-off wheels.
The interior features custom aluminum vintage-style racing seats covered in black leatherette with exposed aluminum back, Simpson five-point racing harnesses for both the driver and passenger, a dash mirror, a quick-release four-spoke steering wheel, and Stewart-Warner instrumentation and toggle switches fitted in a textured “wrinkle” finish dashboard. An aluminum transmission tunnel and drive shaft cover along with aluminum rear cockpit panels complete the interior and provide a nice contrast to the black seats, carpet, and dash. The passenger side of the dash features a SCCA 1958 Thompson National Races plaque, a small touch that helps link past to present. That 1958 race weekend saw Reventlow and his Scarab triumph over both Briggs Cunningham’s Lister, driven by Walt Hansgen, as well as Canadian Bill Sadler in his own homespun, wickedly fast special.
The Scarab’s powertrain is vastly improved to modern standards, performance, and dependability. It’s sophisticatedly powered by a Chevrolet LS2 V-8 block fitted with LS3 heads, LS3 Schwartz comp cam, Schwartz harness with Corvette e38 ECU, O2 sensors, MAF sensor, and drive by wire gas pedal. The engine is backed by a Tremec TK0600 five-speed manual transmission which sends power to a Winters quick-change rear differential.
Showing just 2,513 miles at the time of cataloguing, this Scarab is a wonderful homage to the original version, tastefully modernized without sacrificing the Scarab’s iconic looks. With just three examples built in period, this high-quality, aluminum-bodied reproduction extends the opportunity to today’s car enthusiasts to experience the thrill of Scarab, the all-American sports car.