The Scarab F1 Car

crab, Monaco Grand Prix, Lance Reventlow, klemcoll

In the pits at Monaco during practice for the Monaco Grand Prix which took place on May 29, 1960 are the two Scarab grand prix cars, making their first appearance. The first car is being driven by team owner Lance Reventlow and behind him the team’s second car has Chuck Daigh at the wheel. The two Scarabs were beautifully turned out in the best Indy quality, and with some fancy engineering such as their desmodromic valve system. But they were several years late in that the latest designs had moved on to a rear engined configuration.

The Scarabs’ lack of testing and development, as well as the inexperience of their drivers at this circuit and at this level of racing, all were displayed in practice. Only the fastest 16 cars of the 24 entered would be allowed to start and the Scarabs could not qualify. They were over 10 seconds slower than the eventual pole time of Stirling Moss in Rob Walker’s Lotus 18.

crab, Monaco Grand Prix, Lance Reventlow, klemcollHere is Reventlow again rounding the gasometer hairpin in practice. Disappointed in their cars’ performance, he asked Moss to try the Scarab and Moss was immediately three seconds faster than either Scarab driver. Given that the Goodyear tires on the Scarabs were not as good as the latest Dunlops and that Moss had no incentive to really try hard, under better circumstances he could probably have gone substantially quicker. Even trying the Dunlops was not enough for Reventlow and Daigh.

After the Reventlow team returned from their 1960 excursion, which included running at Zandvoort, Spa-Francorchamps and Reims, Daigh did some further development work on the Scarab F1 car. This effort and a three liter motor made the car somewhat faster. And, some years later, Daigh found an error in the valve adjustment specifications which gained another 45 bhp which with his other changes could have made this American F1 car close to competitive.

Photos by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection –

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