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1957 Scarab Mk. I

1957 Scarab Mk. I

1957 Scarab Mk. I

Lance Reventlow’s Scarab Mk. I was one of the first American Specials and also the first Scarab. It used some of the best west coast talent and inspired many other similar cars. The Mk. I used a small-block Chevy V8 in an untypical space frame chassis which made it very quick.

Scarabs were made by Reventow Automobiles Inc. at Warren Olsen’s shop in North Hollywood, California. The first car had input from Dick Troutman and Tom Barnes who has already made a couple American Specials. Furthermore, fabricator Phil Remmington had come straight from GM Racing.

The main feature of the Scarab was it’s unique space frame chassis manufactured from 4130 Chrome Moly steel. At the front Ford uprights were used with custom wishbones and Munroe shock absorbers. The rear employed a de Dion setup like the factory Ferrari Testa Rossas and Listers of the period.¹

Power initially came from Chevy’s small-block V8 bored out to either 301, 327 or 339 in³. Together with Hilborn mechanical injection and a Vertex magneto, 360 bhp was typically realized. Power was sent to rear wheels through a Borg Warner T10 4-Speed Manual.¹

Similar to the Ferrari 500 TRC, Chuck Pelly penned the Scarab’s aluminum body. After paint, master pinstriper Von Dutch applied his touch to the dramatic livery.

The Scarab debuted in March at the 1958 races at Pheonix and proved it could race among the top competition. Bruce Kessler piloted the car which was always near the front and won the 1958 Santa Barbara weekend.

Eventually two more Scarabs were made with right-hand drive can called the Mk. II.

In Detail

type Racing Car
released at 1958 Phoenix
built at Los Angeles, California, USA
body stylist Chuck Pelly
engineers Dick Troutman, Tom Barnes, Phil Remmington
production 1
engine Chevrolet 90º V8
position Front, Longitudinal
aspiration Natural
block material Cast Iron
valvetrain Pushord OHV, 2 Valves per Cyl
fuel feed Hilborn Fuel Injection
displacement 5555 cc / 339 in³
bore 101.6 mm / 4 in
stroke 86.4 mm / 3.4 in
power 287.1 kw / 385 bhp @ 6000 rpm
specific output 69.31 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 446.12 bhp per tonne
body / frame Aluminum Body over 4130 Chrome Moly Steel Frame
driven wheels RWD
front brakes Cast Aluminum Ford Drums
rear brakes Cast Aluminum Ford Drums
steering Morris Minor Rack & Pinion
f suspension Double Wishbones w/Coil Springs, Tubular Shock Absobers
r suspension deDion-Type Axle w/Radius Rods, Watts Link, Coil Springs, Tubular Shock Absobers
curb weight 863 kg / 1900 lbs
wheelbase 2336.8 mm / 92 in
transmission Borg Warner T10 4-Speed Manual
key drivers Bruce Kessler
race victories 1958 Santa Barbera