1961 Scarab

1961 Scarab Formula Libre

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 13-14, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

It requires a lot of money to successfully to take on the establishment in the world of auto racing. And even then success is not guaranteed. In the case of the Scarab, there was certainly money behind the effort. Lance Reventlow was the sole heir to the Woolworth fortune.

Venice, California, was home to Reventlow Automobiles Incorporated, builder of the Scarabs. There were both Scarab sports cars and open-wheel cars, including one that raced at the 1960 Formula One U.S. Grand Prix. Since that didn’t go so well, and because new rules came about in 1961, Reventlow decided to focus his efforts to less restrictive forms of open wheel racing.

This car was fabricated by Phil Remington based on a design by Eddie Miller, nephew of Harry Miller. It was fitted with a Buick/Oldsmobile 3.0-liter V8 breathing through four Weber carburetors for an output of about 300 horsepower. It took aim squarely at the new Intercontinental Formula rules.

But then the rules changed again, and this car was ineligible. Instead, this Scarab entered a 1962 Formula Libre race in Australia. With driver Chuck Daigh, the car finished fourth after drivers Jack Brabham, John Surtees, and Bruce McLaren – and ahead of Stirling Moss.

It was restored in 1997 and has since participated at both the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Hillclimb. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $196,000.

Scarab F1

1960 Scarab-Offenhauser Formula One

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, U.K. | September 12, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Lance Reventlow. He was an American born in London. He was also an heir to the Woolworth fortune. His step dad won the Targa Florio. These things were the perfect storm for an American forming his own Formula One team.

Scarab was the name of the cars that were built between the late 1950s and early 1960s. They were designed by Tom Barnes and Dick Troutman and financed and raced by Reventlow (other guys raced the cars, too). The front-engined open-wheel cars were built for the 1960 Formula One season and it didn’t go well because the rear-engined revolution was already under way. Scarab only had one start in Formula One: 10th place at the 1960 U.S. Grand Prix with driver Chuck Daigh (although the tried to compete in two other races, one a twin DNQ and one a twin DNS).

After that, they campaigned the car in International Formula racing at races at places like Goodwood. But sports cars were their mainstay. Originally, this car was powered by a Scarab-designed, Offenhauser-style straight-four but it now has a 3.6-liter Offenhauser straight-four – one of only 55 such engines built.

This car is historic event eligible and has definitely been used, even though the restoration is great. The car is coming from a collection of Scarab cars, with one more assembled F1 car among them (of three built). American-built F1 cars are very rare and while this car wasn’t dominant, it is a piece if history. It should bring between $1,100,000-$1,500,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,053,808.