Penelope Pitlane 1/32 1960 Scarab F.1 Car
KIT #: Isn't one, built up from components
PRICE: 45.40 including shipping which converted to $68.20 thanks to the weak dollar and strong pound sterling
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Slot car with resin body.


Scarab was an all-American open-wheel race car and sports car constructor from the USA featuring cars designed and built by Tom Barnes and Dick Troutman for Reventlow Automobiles Inc, owned by Lance Reventlow.The chevrolet engines were built by Traco Engineering (Jim Travers and Frank Coons). Nicknamed "The Rich Kids", builders of the famous consecutive winning Indianapolis 500 race cars driven by famed driver Bill Vukovich. And the highly publized winning Ford T-birds at Daytona in the late fifties. Troutman and Barnes was most successful building 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. Carroll Shelby drove the Scarab sports car to victory at the Continental Divide raceway in Castle Rock Colorado setting a new course record.

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 engine cars were 4 cylinder units similar in layout to the Offenhauser, but entirely of Scarab's own design. They featured Desmodromic valve gear similar in design to that found on the Mercedes engine of the period and were built and maintained by Chuck Daigh. The engines were the Achilles heel of the team as the Desmo gear could not cope with the large amount of movement in the engine block and would reliably pull the valves closed too far resulting in failure. Scarab participated in five Grands Prix, entering a total of nine cars. Reventlow was joined by his engineer Chuck Daigh in piloting the blue and white liveried cars. Both Scarabs were entered in the Grands Prix of Monaco, Holland, Belgium, and France, while only Daigh's car was entered in the American Grand Prix. It should be noted that Daigh, while entered in the Dutch Grand Prix, did not race due to payment issues. The two cars only combined to five actual starts (there were several 'did not qualify) and only one time did a car finish, that in 10th during its final race.

The following year Chuck Daigh went on to pilot one of the Scarabs in International Formula racing in Europe where he finished eighth, at Goodwood vying for the Lavant Cup, and finished seventh in a bid for the International Trophy. A rear-engined single-seater car was built, but never raced in a Formula One event, it ran once in Formula Libre race at Sandown Park in Australia with a Buick V8 engine.


As indicated in the stats box, this isn't a kit per se, the folks at Penelope Pitlane offer all the parts needed to build a car from what they offer, but they do not offer complete kits. Instead, they tell you which of their parts are necessary to build one depending on the body that you are buying. Doesn't seem like a good way to do things, but really, it is as you may already have some of the parts needed and no need to spend money on something you won't need.

Anyway, the parts I got for this project are the RB 3 resin body, CK1 chassis pack (which included the SMJ nickle plated, you-bend-it chassis as well as a FF-050 motor, guide and gear and axles), FW1 front wheels and tires, RW1 Rear wheels and tires, and finally, INS 3 Scarab F.1 wheel inserts.

The body part of all this is superbly molded and free of any air voids, pinholes or other molding glitches. It comes with a vacuformed windscreen and decals to cover all the different numbers it wore when it raced. A vac driver body and resin head are provided with the roll bar, mirrors, radiator and exhaust made in cast metal. All this was packaged in a sturdy box and arrived in perfect condition.

Not everyone's cup of tea, I admit. To make things worse, the car was a dog and grossly uncompetitive, but it is a cool looking one and once I realized it was something I could have on my track, I decided to go for it. We'll see how well it turns out.


June 2009

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