My Car Quest

September 18, 2019

The Lance Reventlow Scarab Race Team Had Two Transporters, I Think

by Mike –

The transporter below was sold at auction in Monterey in August 2012 by RM for $990,000. My friend, Ron Kellogg, started me thinking about this transporter and its history.

Cobra transporter in Carmel

The RM catalog description said,

Italy’s Fiat, like GMC, built, and still builds, all manner of truck and bus chassis, and a handful of the latter were, in the 1950s, delivered to Bartoletti of Forti, Italy, a constructor of unique and special purpose industrial truck bodies. This particular 1956 model chassis was commissioned as a car hauler by the Maserati Grand Prix team for use during the 1957 and ’58 F1 seasons. It was designed to carry up to three cars, with large storage compartments on the side to hold extra parts, team uniforms, and loads of the supplies needed while traveling around Europe during the F1 season.

306/2 proved to be the lucky bus, as Maserati won the Grand Prix world driver’s title in 1957, with Argentine ace, five time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio at the wheel of the legendary Maserati 250F. After the 1958 Formula One season, Maserati began winding down its involvement in Grand Prix racing, and the big Fiat was sold to Reventlow Automobiles Inc., and became its GP team transporter for 1960 and ’61. In this iteration, one can see it in the archival photos of many books and magazines covering that time period. After serving the RAI team in Europe during those seasons, it was purchased by Reventlow’s Thunder Alley neighbor Carroll Shelby, in 1962, with the intent of using it to transport his Shelby American team of Cobra Daytona coupes to Le Mans and other stops along the Sports Car World Championship roster in Europe. Due to the fact that the Cobra sports cars weighed more than the open wheel Scarabs, Shelby added an additional rear axle out back to improve stability and load capacity.

The transporter photo below is on page 25 of the book “Scarab” by Preston Lerner. Click on the image for a better view of the caption.

Scarab Transporter

Scarab Transporter

The caption says this transporter was purchased by Lance Reventlow from Maserati in the summer of 1957. The blue transporter sold by RM was sold to Reventlow by Maserati after the 1958 season and Reventlow used this transporter for Grand Prix racing in 1961 and 1962 according to the RM description above. Most Grand Prix races are in Europe, especially back then.

If you look at the photos of these two transporters you will see they are not the same vehicle, even taking into account that RM says Shelby added an extra rear axle. The front of these two transporters have too many differences to be the same vehicle.

The windshield on the older model is in four sections and the newer model has a two section windshield. The headlights and the grille are completely different.

It seems to me that Reventlow had the earlier transporter from the Lerner book for use in the US and the RM auction transporter for European Grand Prix racing. Apparently Maserati made a business of selling their used transporters to other race teams.

The big question – where is the first transporter shown in the book bought from Maserati by Reventlow in 1957? It must be in the US somewhere if it still exists.

Does anyone know where the other transporter is?

If you do send me an email at: michael(dot)gulett(at)gmail(dot)com

Sell your classic car on My Car Quest – click here.

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Summary
The Lance Reventlow Scarab Race Team Had Two Transporters, I Think
Article Name
The Lance Reventlow Scarab Race Team Had Two Transporters, I Think
Description
I believe that Lance Reventlow had two race transporters: one for the US and one for Europe.
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Comments

  1. The roof section on the earlier transporter is completely flat, and the newer transporter has what appears to be a raised luggage section over a different shaped roof, adding to your observation that the transporters are different. Glenn in the Bronx, NY.

  2. Much different , just look at the glass. it’s sitting in some lot down in Los Angeles

  3. Steve Derus says

    I personally saw the Reventlow Scarab transporter on a regular basis. It was stored on my father’s (Nate Derus) property in Culver City on Jefferson Blvd. adjacent to what was then Hughes Aircraft Company. It was definitely the one with the flat roof and I remember the large Scarab emblem on the side. I think Lance Reventlow had an association with Traco Engineering, an engine building shop which was next door to my father’s property, and Traco rented space for the hauler and several race cars from dad. I was about 12 years old at the time, this would have been about 1957. I sure wish I’d taken photos of all the things I saw back then. My father also owned a building a few doors down from Traco that was occupied by Dick Gulstrand’s racing shop for many years.

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