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History Lance Reventlow And The First Scarab

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Ryan, Jul 24, 2019.

  1. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 19,371

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    Ryan submitted a new blog post:

    Lance Reventlow And The First Scarab


    Continue reading the Original Blog Post
  2. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 19,371

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    Sports car features don't do well on TJJ... As such, I've never really spent a ton of time on Reventlow. However, if you are into speed and love history - do yourself a favor and research Lance. The guy was amazing...
  3. They are Traditional, and I think they would sell now,
    I am sure if a 'Barn Find' were to hit the Interweb, everyone would be all over it.
    loudbang and kidcampbell71 like this.
  4. It's a cool sports car but I am more partial to the 1936 Stout Scarab.

    At least Carroll Shelby picked up the pieces and ran with it.

    I ran across this piece a while back.


    The Lance Reventlow Shelby Cobra

    Lance Reventlow is a name that will be immediately familiar to many of you, especially if you’re a fan of mid-20th Century racing. In short, Reventlow was the heir to the Woolworth fortune, as well as an entrepreneur, and an accomplished racing driver.

    He is probably most famous as the owner of Scarab, a company that produced all-American open-wheel racing cars in the late ’50s and early ’60s. The cars were designed and built by Tom Barnes and Dick Troutman, they won numerous races even besting Ferrari at one point – there was also a short-lived foray into Formula 1 with Reventlow and his chief mechanic Chuck Daigh driving for the team.

    Carroll Shelby drove for the team in the late ’50s and won for them at the Continental Divide Raceway in Castle Rock Colorado, setting a new record in the process. Shelby and Reventlow remained friends for years afterwards, and many think this is why Reventlow ordered one of the early Shelby Cobras with an almost obscene list of optional extras – extras that significantly increased the price and would have been hugely helpful to Shelby with his fledgling new business.

    It was one of the first 73 cars built, and originally had the 260 cubic inch engine, although this was later swapped for a higher-performance 289 cubic inch HiPo unit. It still sports its original chassis and aluminium body, a chrome roll bar and side pipes, aluminum rocker covers and intake manifold, a racing oil pan, sway bars, a competition ignition system, and tach drive.

    This was almost certainly one of the fastest of the early road-going Cobras, and its extraordinary history has lead to it being one of the best-known of the early models.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019

  5. My 11 year old self, had a center stapled middle of an old Hot Rod magazine ... 3/4 side rear view of his magnificent blue Scarab ... Halibrand kidney wheels and all.

    It was a hot rod all the way. American small block Chevy racing against the world's elite and deepest pockets. Beautiful creation. Great story.

    If I ever win the lottery, I'll take all of the original built three, please. I'd even settle for another copy of my brilliant blue centerfold. Wish I knew which issue.
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,116


    Arguably one of the most beautiful cars of its class ever built.
  7. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 19,371

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    Crazy to think about, but at the time Lance was one of the wealthiest people in the world and likely had pockets every bit as deep or deeper than that of the Ferrari, Jaguar, Maserati, etc... racing teams... And, from what I've been told, he was all in on racing and would have spent his entire fortune on the racing enterprise if he needed to.

    And then, one day in 1962, he decided he was done. That was it for racing. He moved on.
  8. Rustygt
    Joined: May 18, 2014
    Posts: 175

    from Emeryville

    There is a replica car over near the car place by Pixar in Emeryville
  9. We had a concourse show at the art institute for years and some amazing stuff would show up from all over the country. I guess I only took artsy shots of this one. So good.... D25C8EE5-F89D-4F66-9A13-39D4161956C9.jpeg 5B243310-9A3A-4A97-9D71-FABCD2EEF4CA.jpeg 4025EBC3-9F93-4BF1-9AC9-E0BF466168C4.jpeg
  10. 427PostGalx
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 28

    from So Cal

    Ryan - Congrats for bring this to light again. Living here in SoCal can't tell you how many talented people worked on that car. Most were dry lakes racers and many went to Indy with teams. I saw Troutman at a powder coating shop when he was dropping off a beautifully crafted de Dion swing arm when he was building a few later replica's in the 80's I believe. This early version with the larger grill opening is bad ass, much like the car was. To think it became this : Scarab Chevrolet.jpg
    Rolleiflex, catdad49, HEMI32 and 3 others like this.
  11. A Boner
    Joined: Dec 25, 2004
    Posts: 5,815

    A Boner

    image.jpeg image.jpeg Pics from Elkhart Lake, Brian Redman Vintage Races last weekend.
  12. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,639

    from Colorado

    F30EFE69-D259-4CC5-9AA1-7A9124CE9259.jpeg 62527EB8-B7A3-4378-A95B-33960BEAD3E8.jpeg
    This is the Halibrand pattern for one of the Scarabs
  13. Say Ryan, as I was thumbing through my little book collection I found this article from Rod Builder and Customizer magazine ca. 1957.[​IMG]

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    catdad49, HEMI32 and kidcampbell71 like this.
  14. miker98038
    Joined: Jan 24, 2011
    Posts: 533


    3-4 years ago I was in a local shop that had one of the reproduction Scarabs. Still bare aluminum and being fitted with a sbc with Hilborn fuel injection. It was the electronic version. Most of the body panels were off and IIRC, it did have the correct deDion rear suspension. Along with the engine work, there was talk of getting it high enough to drive on the street. I don’t know where it went from there, but my thought at the time was I’d really like to see a real one. Thanks for the post, and those who provided pictures.
    catdad49 likes this.
  15. Was it Don Orosco's ?? He had owned one of the original Mark I's for years, racing it all over the world. They built enough parts to basically double the car, just in case.

    After selling the original on ... that's what they did. Built number 4, all the way down to the bolts. Certified vintage licensing and all, to run the same classes and races of the original 3 Scarabs. 12 second quarters, 170 mph plus top speed.

    The Scarab really was a hot rod. All the hands that put it together in 1957-58 were all the familiar racing and hot rod legends you hear today.

    Emil Diedt's aluminum bodywork, Travers and Coons, from Traco for injected engine tuning (new Chevy V8), Ken Miles, Chuck Daigh, & Dick Troutman, built the car, ... Von Dutch laid paint and stripes. Can you imagine ?

    Even after, the names associated are stunning. The Kings of American race car drivering, and more. Lance quit, the cars didn't. All 3 miraculously exist today.

    You're right, the stuff of movies made. Son of a Count, mother ... heir to the Woolworth's fortune, stepfather Cary Grant, wife Jill St John ... put Carroll Shelby on his path ... and many a Hall of Fame driver.

    His name is known, and then again ... it isn't. It's a damn shame. RIP
  16. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,980

    from SW Wyoming

    This is where Phil Remington began to be well known, the Scarabs have always been high on my list, awesome.
    catdad49 likes this.
  17. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 4,576


    Scarab, even the name conjures up pure Fantasy. But wait, it isn't a Dream, they and their creator did exist, if even for a short time. They both lived in a world somewhat unlike that of us mere mortals, but live they did and there are some of our world that still get a thrill when they hear the name Scarab!
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  18. Loved those cars since I was a kid
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  19. WC Durant
    Joined: Apr 10, 2017
    Posts: 126

    WC Durant

    Those patterns for the Halibrand wheels are a work of art!
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  20. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,604


    Pure coolness.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  21. He moved on most likely to the other heirs involvement in the sport.
  22. 2010 Monterey Reunion.

  23. ... driving video, of the F1 Scarab ... drifting in the HAMB era.

    ct1932ford and catdad49 like this.
  24. I so want to work at Don Orosco's ...

    catdad49 likes this.
  25. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 4,576


    Man, that looks like a tough job! Application, Please?
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  26. Miss my Cobra! Gone 15 years now.:(
    shelby 005.jpg
    427-Side oiler shelby 015.jpg
    Oh the sound & power!:cool:
    shelby 017.jpg

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