The Scarab Returns
For the ancient Egyptians, the scarab represented the heavenly cycle.
Today, the Scarab is sacred to racing car enthusiasts — and this legendary vehicle has returned to the showroom of Brighton Motorsports in the Scottsdale Airpark, 15650 N. Northsight Blvd.
A handcrafted performer that can be outfitted for street or track, the continuation Scarab features an aircraft-aluminum body, handbuilt chrome-moly tube frame and suspension and head-turning aerodynamic styling.
Prairie Village, Kan.-based Scarab Motorsports is reproducing the classic roadster, which first appeared in 1958. Shane and Karen Mustoe, principals of Brighton Motors, are the exclusive worldwide marketer and distributor. Scarab Motorsports is not associated with Genmar Industries or its subsidiary, Wellcraft Marine Corporation, manufacturers of the Scarab performance boat.
“These limited-edition vehicles are authentic continuations of the all-American sports racer that conquered the competition in the late 1950s,” says Shane, whose company services, restores, buys, sells, and consigns collectible cars, particularly pre-1972 European and American. He and Karen have recently opened a second shop, also in the Scottsdale Airpark area, which provides superlative collision and restoration services.
Standard with every Scarab is its standard-setting legacy.
Fifty years ago, Lance Reventlow, heir to the Woolworth fortune, built the first Scarabs after racing Formula 2 cars in Europe and visiting the Lister-Jaguar factory in England. Inspired, he decided, with Woolworthian optimism, that Yankee innovation and car smarts could do better this side of the Atlantic. In 1957, he started Venice, Calif.-based Reventlow Automobiles Inc. — and the performances and headlines followed.
That summer, at Santa Barbara, with Reventlow driving, the Scarab set a lap record, posting an average 78.4 mph and winning its debut outing by eight seconds. Later that year, at Pomona Speed Weekend, Reventlow set another lap record, winning both Saturday and Sunday races.
At the 1958 U.S. Grand Prix in Riverside, Chuck Daigh bested some of the world’s fastest cars and finest drivers in an original Scarab, driving 203 miles in front of a crowd of 100,000.
He said at the time: “There was really no competition for us. There wasn’t any car in the world that I couldn’t beat with the Scarab. If we had raced against the Mercedes or the Ferraris or the whatevers, we could have beaten them — easily.”
A year later, Augie Pabst won numerous victories in the roadster beginning at Meadowdale. Later that summer, Road & Track featured the Scarab on its cover, calling it, “America’s Finest Sports Car” and discussing Reventlow’s intention to produce “the world’s fastest car for use on the road.”
Today, updated for safety, the first continuation Scarab built by Scarab Motorsports is a near-exact replica of that legendary race car. In the blue-and-white livery designed by Von Dutch, that vehicle is available to see at Brighton Motorsports. Richard Kitzmiller, the president and founder of Scarab Motorsports, has produced 10 Scarabs so far, with more in the production. One of these could be yours.
“Richard set out to re-create one of the race cars that he long admired and brought together other sports car enthusiasts to establish Scarab Motorsports,” Karen explains. “What he has produced celebrates the legend of the original with authenticity, craftsmanship and class.”
Enthusiasm for perfection extends to everyone involved with the second-generation Scarab. The bodies are handcrafted in Europe, Shane explains. “Their skill at rendering complex aluminum forms is strikingly evident,” he says, noting the seamless finish under the hood, fenders and tail.
The aluminum bodies are delivered to Scarab Motorsports’ factory near Kansas City, Kan., where the frames and running gear are built. A Chevy small-block engine with period-inspired Hilborn electronic fuel injection and a four- or five-speed transmission is one build-up, but almost any engine/ transmission combination is possible, Shane notes.
For a painted rolling chassis, the MSRP is $79,750 plus any options. You choose the engine, transmission, drive shaft, exhaust system and battery.
“Each Scarab will be registered as to production year, original owner, serial number, options, and will be entered into the Scarab Registry,” Karen says. “Your expectation for authenticity and uniqueness is ensured.”
The rolling chassis includes the body, with all hood and doors mounted, including original-style latches, hinges and pins; Lexan and aluminum headlight covers; Tig-welded powder-coated chassis with drive shaft safety loops; all suspension and brake components, including coil-over shocks and springs; Wilwood four-piston brake calipers, front and rear, and stainless steel brake lines; Winters quick change differential and line-lock parking brake. Brake and other connections are made by your certified installer(s).
Also include are all electrical system components including wiring harness and aluminum battery tray and cables. Inside, the dash is powder coated and textured, and, as in the 1958 Scarab, Stewart Warner gauges are mounted and all switches are as original. Also in the spirit of the original are aluminum racing seats with black leatherette and exposed back. You have a choice of three- or four-spoke original steering wheel with quick release.
Five-point harness seatbelts for driver and passenger are also standard. The Lexan windshield includes side windows. The transmission tunnel and drive shaft cover as well as the rear cockpit panels are aluminum. The fuel lines are braided steel, and the aluminum radiator is cooled by an electric fan. Steering is rack and pinion. Tires are DOT approved, on 126-inch original style wheels with outer polished rims. Standard paint is a choice of light or dark blue with traditional white scallop.
Ordering is an easy process, Karen says. “We will assist you in choosing all options, colors, any special requests and driveline choices,” she explains. An initial deposit is required upon ordering the Scarab, which will be delivered about 90 days later.
Options include leather interior, cosmetic rear and door scoops, installed rubber fender liners, roll bar options, vintage side mirrors and car cover.
A sports car for today’s highways, the Scarab is also for yesterday’s vintage races. Most states allow it to be registered as a 1958 car, and, with period-correct disc brakes, four-speed transmission, and iron cylinder-head engine, the Scarab has been approved by the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association for its track events.
Brighton Motorsports will service your Scarab as well. Shane and Karen only employ American Society of Engineers and I-CAR-certified techs trained in the industry’s best education programs.
“It’s an all-aluminum bodied sports-racer with a colorful history that is unique — and not such a common sight on the road, on rallies and car shows,” Shane says. “Its factory handbuilt pedigree ensures lower production numbers and quality of build — unlike other kits and replicas. It’s a true ‘re-creation’ of a legendary car.”