Rare F1 car to return at the Silverstone Classic


August 9, 2013 By Mike Lee
Last updated on August 1, 2015

Rare F1 car to return at the Silverstone Classic posted on 16 June 2011

Rare F1 car to return at the Silverstone Classic

One of the rarest and most intriguing Formula One cars of all times will return to racing after a 50 year absence at next month’s Silverstone Classic (22-24 July).

The extraordinary front-engined Scarab was the first American Formula 1 car, built by wealthy enthusiast Lance Reventlow, who was the son of Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton and the step-son of actor Cray Grant.

After success with sports cars, Reventlow decided to tackle Grand Prix racing and the Scarab single-seater made its debut at the 1960 Monaco Grand Prix. But by the time the front-engined car was ready to race, Lotus and Cooper had made the switch to rear-engined designs and the Scarab was out-classed.

Chassis number three – now in the hands of new owner Julian Bronson – was one of the original trio of cars taken to Zandvoort in 1960 as a spare with no engine. It was then acquired by Tom Wheatcroft in 1964 and spent many years in the Donington Collection. The other two front-engined Scarabs are owned and raced by US enthusiast Don Orosco.

“I bought it from the Donington Collection,” confirmed Bronson, who hopes to have it ready for the Pre ’61 Front-Engined Grand Prix Car races during the Silverstone Classic. It will race with a 2.5-litre Offenhauser engine, which has been built in Cincinnati.

Bristol-based Bronson has been working flat out to get the car ready to race at the end of July and took delivery of the engine at the end of May. He has had a replica set of bodywork made so that the original set can be safely stored away in case of damage. “It will run in exactly the same livery,” confirmed Bronson.

“It’s going to be close to be ready for Silverstone, but we should do it,” he admitted. “It would be lovely to give it a debut race at the Silverstone Classic. It’s really exciting. I’ve always wanted a front-engined Grand Prix car and this is just about the last of them. It’s just incredible; such an exciting car.”

Event Director, Nick Wigley is certainly pleased to see such an historically significant F1 car back in action. He said: “We are really excited to welcome the Scarab to the Silverstone Classic and to be hosting the return to racing of such a rare car, and so pleased to see it will be running in its proper form with a 2.5-litre engine, and in its original livery. The car should be very competitive on the GP circuit so we expect to see Julian on the podium, hopefully a just reward for all the effort he will have put in.”