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I visited the mid-engined Scarab today


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#1 chuckbrandt

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 03:48

I've always thought this was a really nice looking car. It's a lot like the other mid-engined cars of that time but very unique in it's styling. A fine example of Troutman & Barnes handiwork. It was so exciting to see it and touch it in person. You don't realize how light these cars are until you push one around to take pictures.

Chuck

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#2 Formula 5000

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 07:09

What a great looking car and a great picture also. I first saw a Scarab at Sandown Park in Australia 1959 I think. Driven by Chuck Daigh in rear engined 3.5 lt Buick form. A pre cursor to Formula 5000's.

I followed Reventlow's career and all Scarab's since. Was it complete? Have the owners ever fired it up? It seems to have dust over the front.

Can you tell us in Downunder any more details? Does it have a Model no or designation?

Thankyou for sharing.

#3 chuckbrandt

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 10:11

Oh yes it is complete and probably very close to race ready. It's owned by Augie Pabst who has been very helpful to me with all of this. He's owned it since '65 when his brand new McLaren burnt up at Mosport. He finished the season racing it with the Traco Chevy that came out of the McLaren. At one point he registered it and drove it on the street. More recently his son has vintage raced the car.

I looked for serial number plates of any kind and didn't find any. It's powered by the original 377 cu.in. Traco Chevy with webers and Colotti 37 transaxle. An interesting tidbit I gleaned from their file on the car is that it was dyno'd in '68 when Traco freshened the engine and again in 2000, amazingly both peak HP numbers were within 1 HP of each other, 474 and 475.

Chuck

#4 bobbo

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 11:32

You lucky sodding bugger!!  ;) ;) ;)

I get home from work, I'll have to enjoy a 6-pack of PABST Blue Ribbon Beer

Bobbo

#5 chuckbrandt

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 11:51

Yeah, I know :) Tip one back for me!

CDB

#6 Tmeranda

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 13:30

look like it has a John Mecom decal on the side. Did he ever own or race the car?

#7 Paul Medici

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 15:08

A blurry snapshot of Walt Hansgen winning the Double 500 at Bridgehampton
in 1964 in the Scarab; an exciting finish with Pedro in the NART 275P. Mike
Argetsinger writes about this race and John Mecom's team in his Hansgen biography.


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#8 Hse289

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 15:39

Hi Chuck, great picture. I got to see this awesome car in 1997 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Any shots of the Meister Brauser Scarab? Paul :up:

#9 Alan Cox

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 16:26

It came over to England in 1964 for the Guards Trophy at Brands, as part of the Mecom team invasion, and driven by A J Foyt. It was entered as a 5.3 Chevy.

#10 Jerry Entin

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 18:36

There is a very good story on the Rear Engined Scarab in the Nov/Dec 2004 issue of Vintage Motorsport it is 10 pages and has quite a few pictures also. It is called The Last Scarab.

#11 David M. Kane

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 23:45

Augie and his son have run this car on many ocassions at Road America. Hopefully they'll bring it to the Kohler next July.

#12 chuckbrandt

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 09:24

Paul,
Believe it or not I was so focused on the Mid-Engined Scarab that I almost totally ignored the other scarab and the other incredible cars there. I did show it proper respect at the Kohler International Challenge with Brian Redman. It truly is a beautiful car.

Chuck

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#13 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 12:39

Does it have a Model no or designation?

I looked for serial number plates of any kind and didn't find any.


There aren't any to find.

It was simply the Scarab sports racer with the engine behind the driver -- no designation and no chassis serial. This was a fairly common practice at that time.

The orignal Scarab sports racers are usually referred to as the Mark 1 and Mark 2 cars -- something applied (for the most part, retroactively) by those outside the team. The Grand Prix cars were likewise known to the team members as to which was which and so no need for chassis numbers. Ditto the rear-engine monoposto and sports racer.

For my own internal tracking purposes I "tagged" the various Scarab cars with "tracking numbers" simply out of convenience and lack of anything better to use at the time. The Scarab being discussed is simply "62" in my system, reflecting the year it appeared.

I have always admired its looks, easily one of the best-looking of the rear-engined racing cars, one of the very few to not be an eyesore. As with its front-engined sisters, it just looks like a racing car should look.

#14 Jerry Entin

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 18:33

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Chuck : Here is the rear engined Scarab at Santa Barbara in 1962 with Lance Reventlow on board. Photo lent to site by Willem Oosthoek

#15 Jerry Entin

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 18:36

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Here it is in action. First race for rear engined Scarab. At Santa Barbara on Labor Day weekend 1962. Photo lent to site by Willem Oosthoek

#16 RA Historian

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 01:14

I wish that I knew how to post photos on this site because I took some pictures this summer in Augie Pabst's garage with his two Scarabs side by side.

Augie has two; the second of the three front engine cars, referred to as 002 for ease of identification. This was the car that was sold by RAI to Nickey in 1959 and raced for them by Jim Jeffords. It won two big USAC races at Meadowdale and an SCCA National at Denver. It went briefly to Leader Card in late 1959 before Jeffords engineered a sale to Meister Brauser, where it joined 003. 002 stayed with Meister Brauser for many years. It was raced for them by many drivers, principally Pabst and Harry Heuer. Jeffords drove it for them at Nassau, 1959. Carroll Shelby, Bill Wuesthoff, Don Devine, and Don Yenko also drove 002. Augie bought it from Peter Hand Brewery when they went bust and retains it to this day. The two photos above of it at the 2006 Road America KIC show it being driven by Augie's son, Augie Pabst III.

Augie also has the rear engine Scarab sports racer, as mentioned ealier. For want of identification, it has usually been referred to as the Mk. IV. Mecom bought it from RAI in 1963 and sold it to Pabst in fall, 1965. Augie has retained it ever since.

The info posted above regarding Don Orosco driving a Scarab earlier in this decade should be clarified. Orosco did indeed by 001, the left hand drive car, from Lance's widow. However, after running it for many years, he sold it to Rob Walton around 2000 or so. Walton to the best of my knowledge retains it to this day. The car that Orosco is playing with for the last few years is a replica, not a real Scarab.

Also a replica of sorts is the car that Bob Sirna owns. That was the "25th Anniversary" Scarab, built in the early 80s for Richard Reventlow, and sold later to a Mr. Kellogg. It passed a few years later to Sirna, who has had Tony DeLorenzo drive it for him at RA for the past several years.

So, of the four sports racers, 001 is with Walton, 002 with Pabst, 003 in the Collier Collection, and the Mk. IV with Pabst.

As far as the four open wheel cars go, I am less sure. I believe front engine F-1 car 001 (again, chassis numbers are arbitrarily assigned) is with Orosco, and 003 is in the Donington Museum. I saw 002 a dozen or more years ago at Road America owned by Ali Lugo, who I also understand owned the rear engine formula libre car. 002 was described in Preston Lerner's fine book as being pretty much of a gear shift job; that is, a new car being built up around the gear shift lever of the car that Daigh destroyed at, what was it, Silverstone in 1961. The history of the rear engine car is even more clouded. Having said that, does anyone know what happened to the two Lugo cars after he passed away a few years ago?

#17 RA Historian

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 01:16

Ooops, the Orosco replica Scarab is pictured on another thread on TNF, not on this one.
Sorry about that, but the comments remain!

#18 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 06:28

From this year's Monterey Historics:

"#5 1961 Scarab FL 2900cc Chassis No. RA17-GP4 William Cotter Seattle, WA"

He finished third in his race....photo here (helmet to match!) :

http://www.tamsoldra...bFormLibre.html

Vince H.

#19 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 06:30

Sorry, don't know how I got that "unsmilie" in my last post...didn't mean to!

Vince H.

[Note from TW; it was the sequence and proximity of ! ) and : which created it! Now fixed.]

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#20 RA Historian

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 12:12

Originally posted by raceannouncer2003
From this year's Monterey Historics:

"#5 1961 Scarab FL 2900cc Chassis No. RA17-GP4 William Cotter Seattle, WA"

He finished third in his race....photo here (helmet to match!):

http://www.tamsoldra...bFormLibre.html

Vince H.


Thanks!

That seems to clear up that question.

#21 50Fraud

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 08:20

I had the good fortune to attend a race at Daytona in 1964. The lead was swapped repeatedly between Foyt in the rear-engined Scarab and Gurney in the Arciero Lotus 19B. I can't recall how many times the lead changed, but it frequently changed several times on a single lap. The most closely fought sports car race I have ever seen; really stirring. As I recall the scrap ended with Gurney breaking.

#22 Jerry Entin

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 00:54

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Santa Barbara 1962 again. Rare Color shot of Lance Reventlow in the last Scarab being chased by Don Wester in his Porsche RSK. Don was a real good guy. When ever I was at Monterey for a race. Don always let us work out of his Volkswagen and Porsche dealership in SeaSide. Note Lance's Orange jumpsuit: It is Air Force surplus. Chuck Daigh started wearing them rather than the more common light blue Dunlop suits of the day. Photo lent site by Willem Oosthoek.

#23 chuckbrandt

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 01:42

Thanks Everyone for all these great vintage pictures of the car. If you haven't read Willem's article on the car in the Nov/Dec 2004 issue of Vintage Motorsport you should try to snag a copy. It's really well done.

Here is a shot of the car with the engine cover open and one of the engine. I think the cross flow intake with sidedraft 58mm webers is one of the most attractive induction systems ever made.

I do hope the Pabst family brings the car out again soon vintage racing. Augie tells me that Augie III is a little nervous about driving it.

Chuck

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#24 Terry Walker

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 11:31

What a car! And I love the tennis ball plugs in the carbs.

#25 Cynic

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 15:35

[QUOTE]Originally posted by chuckbrandt
[B]Thanks Everyone for all these great vintage pictures of the car.

-- snip --
Here is a shot of the car with the engine cover open and one of the engine. I think the cross flow intake with sidedraft 58mm webers is one of the most attractive induction systems ever made.

-- snip --



Hi, Chuck,


Slightly OT, but Chevrolet seems to have agreed with you. This is Corvette Grand Sport 003 in 1965. (I think you could lose a small animal in those velocity stacks)


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#26 Hagen-Daze

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 04:09

Last week I'm stumbling around on the net and find myself here after following some driving simulator thread. Cool... Something I can add to.

I did the rebuild/restoration on the Scarab back in '92. I live close by and worked out of Augie's shop back in the '80's when I prepped Super Vee's, but I ended up working on the car in my basement shop. Hmmm... Million dollar car in my shop. Wonder if my homeowners would have covered that?

The car had been sitting for nearly twenty years when we started on it. I remember before pulling the engine out, I removed the oil pan drain plug and a gallon of water came out before any oil did. Turns out the water had eaten through a passage in the magnesium intake manifold.

Ferdi Luchinger, who did our Super Vee motors rebuilt the engine. Though he didn't run or dyno the motor prior to rebuilding it, he figured with the parts involved, the motor couldn't have made 400hp. I think the rebuild included rods, pistons, cam and different ratio rockers. Currently, the limiting factor in making more power is the carbs are in the way of the valve covers, restricting lift. The motor currently makes somewhere around 470hp. A few years back the timing chain broke, requiring another rebuild.

The frame had been abused with lots of cracks that need to be welded. I even added some tubes to beef it up in places that were really bad. The original brakes were marginal (like most everything else on the car) and I made new hats for new rotors and calipers. All suspension pieces were nickel plated and new bushings put in. The car was stripped of all street equipment, like the horn, wipers and turn indicators. A new fuel cell was added.

I figured the ratios in the Colotti gearbox limited the cars speed to about 120mph, so I ordered a new set of ratios along with a ring & pinion from Colotti. I assumed since they were still in business, they should know to make gears for their own stuff... Wrong! I think on the third shipment of parts they got it right. Well, kinda... the parts were definitely not the quality of gears we could have had made here.

One funny story about the gears... The first time I went to pick up the shipment from Colotti, the customs agent wouldn't let me leave with them, even though I had all the correct papers. I spent what seemed an hour arguing with this female customs agent and I finally decided to leave before I got any hotter and ended up in handcuffs! When I got back to the office at Augie's and told him the story, he said don't worry about it and he'd go with me the next day back to the airport. So, the next day we walk into customs, Augie hands the agent the paper work (the same gal), she hands him the package and we walked out the door. I couldn't believe it!

One other thing about the gearbox. The ring & pinion are a beveled straight cut set and the carrier is supported with ball bearings. Surprisingly, it's held up quite well.

Augie III drove the car the first time at Road America in a vintage race (if I remember correctly) in '93 and won the race. When he came back into the pits to get the checkered flag and do a victory lap, he stopped and motioned me to get in the car with him. I told him no way but he insisted and somehow I managed to wedge my 6'2" frame into the passenger seat. I do remember... one, the car hauled ass... two, it still didn't have enough brakes... and three, the heat pouring out of the front mounted radiator and into the cockpit was (on this hot day) unbelievable! The guys who drove this car suffered!

They've driven the car less and less over the years mostly due to its value and the fact (in my opinion) it's a death trap. The roll bar is a joke and the frame was built without driver protection in mind.

I would have posted this last week but it took me a while to find the few pics I have and scan them.

Lee Hagen
Delafield,WI

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#27 David Pozzi

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 05:12

Very interesting photos, thanks to all!

As a side note, a tennis ball will fit nicely in a 48mm Weber carb, in a 58 it will have a gap. The carbs in the Scarab photo are likely 48's. 58's would be too large for a 447 hp engine anyway, but becoming needed on a 550hp engine.
David

#28 chuckbrandt

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 08:04

Lee -

Thanks for the great story and pictures. Great job on the restoration, I'd say it's in much the same condition today. I read through the file the Pabst's keep on the car and am sure I saw a lot of your paperwork. The engine was rebuilt or freshened in 2000 and the dyno sheet said 475HP so you are right on the money with your number.

Chuck

#29 chuckbrandt

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 08:16

David,
I'm sure you are right, they do look different than the ones Cynic posted from the Grand Sport. In fact I think there is some kind of an adapter between the intake and carbs on that car.

I'm really not that familiar with weber type numbers, I saw the 58 in the type number below and assumed that's what they were. Can you fill me in on what to look for on these?

I see "Tipo 58DCO3 No 115"


Thanks, Chuck

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#30 Jerry Entin

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 16:06

Welcome to the forum Lee. Hope you enjoy looking around at the various post. Chuck those are Weber 58mm carbs.

#31 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 16:30

Originally posted by raceannouncer2003
From this year's Monterey Historics:

"#5 1961 Scarab FL 2900cc Chassis No. RA17-GP4 William Cotter Seattle, WA"


Assuming that is a pukka chassis number, it should probably be RAI7-GP4 rather than "RA17-GP4."

#32 RA Historian

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 02:51

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps


Assuming that is a pukka chassis number, it should probably be RAI7-GP4 rather than "RA17-GP4."


That would make perfect sense, since this was the seventh of eight cars built by RAI and the fourth open wheel car.