Scarab F1


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The Don Orosco/Patrick Orosco
1960-Type Scarab-Offenhauser Formula 1/Intercontinental Formula Racing Single-Seater
Chassis no. 002

A fuller story of the Scarab Formula 1 Grand Prix car project is related in these pages with the chassis 001 description, but here we offer what amounts to being the second 1960-61 Reventlow Automobiles Incorporated (RAI) Scarab-Offenhauser team car as part reconstructed, part-restored by and for proud American owner/driver Don Orosco and his dedicated Vintage racing team between 1986 when the chassis was duplicated by Don Masterman of Master Fabrications in Fresno, CA during restoration of '001'. The car's body panels were also hand-crafted by Masterman and by 'Tin Jim' Allen working from car 001's original panels while painstakingly incorporating all the subtle detail differences between the two cars as recorded by contemporary photography.

The project to build this car stemmed from a chance meeting between Mr Orosco and a gentleman who explained to him that Dick Troutman – the original RAI Scarab chassis fabricator in period – was at that moment making a copy for him of the long-time owner's – i.e. Mr Orosco's – own original car...

To him, this came as complete – and very unwelcome - news because his genuine car was indeed at that moment in Dick Troutman's workshop in Costa Mesa, CA, and nothing had been said to him about any project to replicate it there. A conversation ensued between Mr Orosco and Mr Troutman in which the veteran and much respected fabricator declared "Yeah, I did 'em all originally, so what's your point?".

This did not sit particularly well with the original car's owner who did not want it copied without his having been consulted. Consequently, just four days after that tense conversation the original car and all parts associated with it were "pulled out of there" and returned to Mr Orosco's home-base workshop where his specialist mechanics conducted normal preparation work and from which he had long raced his Scarab cars so widely – and so successfully.

Subsequently, a project began to duplicate the original car's chassis frame, building the new structure with peerless accuracy to measurements taken from surviving chassis '001' since there are no surviving original chassis drawings.

A splendid surviving set of contemporary technical photographs by Lester Nehamkin also verified much detail and recorded contemporary RAI team practise in construction and assembly. Reference to these photographs permitted every nuance of the original to be re-made. Merely reproducing the car's extremely complex original rear hub carriers was a major fabrication job, as each one comprises some 80 individual components – and that was just one aspect of a singularly demanding project. Not having such originals to duplicate would have rendered duplication impossible.

Work proceeded on a low priority over a twelve-year period, all work being carried out to absolutely precise dimensions and completion drawing heavily upon the immense collection of genuine contemporary spare parts accumulated by Mr Orosco with and for '001'.

Included within that set of parts was the only other known Hilborn fuel-injection set made for the Scarab installation with its overlapping ram-intake stacks, the correct Vertex ignition magneto, the Lehman-drive water pump and more. Only the 220 CID-derived Offenhauser engine will fit perfectly between the Scarab chassis frame rails in the correct lay-down configuration and – spurred on by the unfortunate incident of the approximate look-alike rival creation – Don Orosco determined that his project to recreate the written-off Silverstone '61 second team car should be completed with 100 per cent accuracy.

Discussion with surviving RAI team members, including Chuck Daigh himself – the injured driver at Silverstone – indicated that the original remains of 002 had been returned to California in a steamer trunk. Some of those mechanical components had since been absorbed into 001, while others had joined the associated stock of spares associated with it.

Completion of this second single-seat Scarab commenced in earnest around 1997-98, and it was completed relatively quickly. Its body panels were accurately fashioned after the style of those clothing the original – and long-lost – '002' car in period.

Through 1960-61 the two works Scarab Formula 1/InterContinental Formula cars had been very much individuals. Now Mr Orosco's second car emerged matching that 1960-61 car's original aesthetic form, with its unique louvre and intake configuration as distinct from those of '001'. Having developed quite a taste for such work, a 100 per cent faithful left-hand drive Scarab-Chevrolet sports-racing reproduction was also assembled. Mr Orosco recalls: "More people than ever before were watching closely what we were doing with these Scarabs and so the second car in each case had to be absolutely right. This extends to the original white-covered aviation wiring originally sourced by Reventlow's guys from Northrop Aviation, and the famous Von Dutch lettering and pin-striping on the finished paintwork. With the other cars either retired from racing or appearing very, very seldom, my purpose was simply to avoid a situation in which fans would not be able to see a Scarab in action out on track at all... The legend deserves better."

Certainly the Scarab Formula 1 car offered here together with its older sister – represents the ultimate refinement of the traditional front-engined Grand Prix car configuration; rigid yet lightweight spaceframe chassis, high-power fuel-injected engine, disc brakes, etc. It also embodies all the romance of the Reventlow Scarab story – 'Team America' – us against the world – the super-sophisticated admittedly over-ambitious ambitions of youth. In microcosm here we have a vehicle embodying the emergent Californian spirit of the 'Sixties in Formula 1 form...

Both Don Orosco and his son Patrick have raced both the single-seater cars now offered here, the 1960-season surviving car presented previously in the sale and the re-assembled machine we now featured right here as this Lot.

Any would-be owner/driver who has witnessed the sheer thunderous presence and pace of these rakish and spectacular front-engined Grand Prix cars will be fully aware that here, in capable hands is potentially a regular Vintage and Historic race winner.

Scarab-Offenhauser chassis '002' offered here is immaculately presented. It is "on the button", ready to go – and we commend it to the market as being entirely worthy of the most earnest consideration. For the right entrant and driver, further pole positions, fastest laps, and Vintage and Historic race wins most definitely beckon...

Please note this lot is subject to import tax if remaining in the EU.