Bonhams has announced the consignment of two Scarab Grand Prix racing cars and the Reventlow Automobiles Inc.’s (RAI) Fiat-Bartoletti transporter for its Goodwood Revival Sale, scheduled for September 12.
The effort is considered “the very first, home-grown, all-American team of Formula 1 racing cars,” Bonhams says in its news release. The Scarab team was established by Lance Reventlow, son of Barbara Hutton and heir to the Woolworth stores. Reventlow’s mother was married seven times, once briefly to actor Cary Grant. Reventlow’s father was Count Kurt von Haugwitz-Reventlow.
Reventlow’s first wife was actress Jill St. John and his second was Cheryl Holdridge, star of the Mickey Mouse Club television show.
Reventlow started racing in Mercedes-Benz and Porsche sports cars, then built his first two Scarab sports cars, which were powered by Chevrolet V8 engines. A trio of F1 cars followed, constructed by Troutman and Barnes. Subsequently the team built eight sports racers.
The front-engine F1 cars debuted at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1960 with Reventlow and Chuck Daigh as the drivers, but the rear-engine revolution was taking place and the cars basically were outdated even as they made their debut.
“The Scarab team cars were fantastically quick, but unfortunately for Reventlow, not quick enough in their development,” James Knight, Bonhams group motoring director, is quoted in a news release. “However, at events such as the Monaco Historic, and Goodwood Revival, the superiority of these front-engined projectiles has been absolutely demonstrated, time after time in recent years.
“These Scarabs are spectacular and beautiful Grand Prix cars with a proven race winning record at Historic motor racing events.”
Reventlow died in 1972 at age 36 when his private aircraft, being flown by an inexperienced pilot Reventlow was tutoring, flew into a canyon near Aspen, Colorado, stalled while attempting a U-turn and crashed.