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2017-04-07

MONACO HISTORIQUE 2016 Scarab F1 1960

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Scarab was an all-American sports car and open-wheel race car constructor from the United States featuring cars designed and built by Tom Barnes and Dick Troutman for Reventlow Automobiles Inc, owned by Lance Reventlow. The Chevrolet 283 CI V-8 engines were built by Traco Engineering (Jim Travers and Frank Coons, nicknamed "The Whiz Kids").

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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. The Scarabs won the SCCA National Championship in 1958 and two of the cars were sold in 1959 while Reventlow's race car (the only left hand drive car) was converted for his personal use on the street. Carroll Shelby drove one of the Scarab sports cars to victory at the Continental Divide Raceway in Castle Rock, Colorado, setting a new course record.


Scarab 1960 Formula One car on display.
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 penned by Leo Goossen of Offenhauser, and later Meyer-Drake fame. They featured desmodromic valve gear similar in design to that found on the Mercedes F1 engine of the 1950s and were built and maintained by Travers and Coon. The engines were the shortcoming of the team as the desmodromic 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. 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 (where they suffered hydraulic brake fluid aeration problems and did not qualify for the race), Holland, Belgium, and France (where both Daigh and Ginther experienced oil starvation issues resulting in burnt bearings), while only Daigh's car was entered in the final race of the 1960 F1 season, the American Grand Prix at Riverside, California (the Scarabs' home track). Daigh finished because he had to keep the engine RPMs under 6000 to prevent fuel delivery problems (vapor lock) on the hot southern California day and, in doing so, did not encounter the mysterious oil starvation issue that occurred closer to 7000 RPM that had plagued the Scarabs previously. Daigh, while entered in the Dutch Grand Prix, did not race due to qualification/appearance payment issues.

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