Pretty fascinating that you have a friend who restored one (to concours status, of course).
Built by William Stout in 1936
He described it thusly:
The Scarab "creates a commotion wherever it goes," says Schneider, adding that with all-wheel independent suspension it rides quietly, "exceptionally smooth and stable." Considerably better, in fact, than his 1936 Fords, with much lighter steering. The only serious flaw is limited rearward visibility.
For all I know, this might be your friend's Scarab.
Only 9 built. Just 5 still in existence
The car shown (the two lower pictures) was once part of the famous Harrah's Collection in Reno, Nevada. It was purchased by the current owner (possibly Barry's friend)in 1983, and has since had a ground-up restoration. The work included complete mechanical restoration as well as a new woven wood headliner.
Perhaps the most interesting, and to modern eyes, bizarre feature of the Scarabs was their detached seating. The chairs were not bolted to the floor, but rather sat on a grippy rubber mat that was supposed to hold them wherever they were placed. If there has been a greater and more effective evolution in automotive design than in the field of occupant safety, I can't think of one.
Wow... so that's what they were referring to when they were talking about "flexi-seating"
Barry, your friend's comment about WWII map car may some grounding in actuality according to the comments below. Sounds like Ike may have used a Scarab but more than likely the lucky Scarab got scooped up and turned French speaking early on, later to land the lucky job with Dwight D.
And the last comment really shows it was lucky to have survived the Big Top!!
Lots of photos, but most are of cars in the U.S.
This car is one of probably nine that were built by William Stout, an aeronautical engineer in Dearborn, MI. It was sold to a French publishing magnate and spent its entire life in France, supposedly used by General Eisenhower in North Africa and then by General DeGaulle. It was then used by a circus to house monkeys until Philippe Charbonneaux, a French automotive designer, bought it in the early sixties for his museum.
This is perhaps the French car on display in Genoa, Italy
Absolutely hilarious article in Jalopy Journal 2008
[/QUOTE]We’ve talked about the Airflow and the Dymaxion before, but we’ve never really touched on the Stout Scarab and all of its wierdness. It all started with a loon…
William B. Stout was an aviator and motor journalist (Motor Age) with a wondering mind. While on a cross country trip with this family, William began to ponder the inefficiencies of the automobile when used as a long hauler. We’ve all been there… He was cramped, his ass hurt, his back hurt, he was tired of the kids screaming, and tired of his wife’s toe prints on the front windshield as she “reclined” in the passenger seat. There had to be a better way.
Upon arriving home, William began to brainstorm and sketch his ideas as he went along. After a few packs of cigarettes, a few gallons of coffee, and a couple of sleepless nights, he got it figured. The Stout would have unit body construction, be made of aluminum, and constructed with mechanically proven parts. The Ford flathead was located towards the rear of the car and shifted with a 3-speed box/transaxle of Stout’s own design. Independent front and rear suspension systems were sprung with air-assisted coils and located some 135-inches from each other.
The wide body would be as slippery of a shape as an antique mind could figure and would feature a wide, body-over-wheels design. The idea was to create an interior more spacious and flexible than had ever been imagined. As a result, some crazy configurations were available to the lucky few Stout owners. While the driver’s seat was in a fixed position, the other seats were mounted on tracks and were capable of spinning, reclining, and for/aft movement. This allowed for a comfy cot to be reside towards the rear of the car and an optional card table to be constructed in the center. All of the conveniences of home while on the road.
Of course, the Stout Scarab never really made it. Most folks think that around nine were build between 1934 and 1939, but there is no official figure. William threw in the towel and lost to the Detroit big boys, but gave them one hell of a shot – don’t ya think?
Dash (and doors) rumored to be cast out of magnesium. True?
I very studious grasshopper!
(And generally speaking) Without a case of the stupids.
Occasionally I may misname something or get a reference wrong, but I don't mind being corrected.
After all, there is such a wealth of information available that resides in so many TCL old hands here (I've been lurking and watching) that someone is always going to know way more than any one individual.
Perhaps I should amend that and remind myself that Larry has got a long suit in information and it appears that you've got a long suit in experience within the heady world of classic restorative detail.
It amazes me when I hear of some of the painstaking, mind numbing tasks that go into getting these cars in shape. (As well as the money....)
That Scarab in North Carolina was purchased for 20,000 dollars from Bill Harrah's estate in the '80's and then the buyer dropped a cool 300,000 dollars into getting it from rough to awesome.
For people that are unaware, Concours' started in Paris in the early days of the automobile. Wealthy people would travel great distances to a wide-open place where tents were set up to show the latest in art, fur, jewelry, furniture, perfumes, automobiles and other sundries associated with the wealthy. Having all of those vendors in one place gave the wealthy access to goods they desired, but could not obtain in their home towns. There were no car dealership networks as we know them. Today's Concours are quite different as the cars are not for sale, but automotive art is. There are vendors for lifestyle items, but their show space is comparatively small.
I believe that the overtones of perceived snooty may derive from the black-tie events that typically precede the car show the evening before. These are often not attended by the exhibitors, but by local patrons of the arts. It's an annual event where local gentry gather to be seen all gussied up and bejeweled. That's a far cry from what you see on the show field. There is no dress code for the visitors, yet the exhibitors are encouraged to wear period-correct clothing. I typically wear a Hawaiian shirt, sans gold chains.
Getting invited isn't real difficult. All concours have nominating forms. All shows have selection committees. Our job is to pick cars that are unaltered from their original form. There are plenty of shows for modified vehicles, so they are typically not invited. Customized cars are only invited if there is a class for them as they shouldn't compete against factory originals. Interestingly, my '56 Continental Mark II convertible is a custom, but was factory authorized and done by a recognized prototype shop. Typically, custom cars need to be made from new cars, but not always.
Many re-bodied cars of the '20s and '30s are widely accepted if they were done by recognized coach builders. Back-yard customs are not welcome if they can't provide provenance. The biggest problem these days is determining what is real and what is not. Several expensive cars have been broken up to build duplicates of the originals using just enough original parts to fool the experts.
Concours are outdoor museums that gather so many spectacular cars in one place that it's hard to take it all in. They are typically at least as interesting as the big collection, and you get all new cars every year. Ticket prices are steep, but the money usually goes to charity. It lets you have a good time while doing something good.
Automobiles are the great equalizer.
Nicely stated and does take the Concours more down to earth for the rest of us. And happy to understand now that the Hawaiian shirt is your calling card!
Seems there was some pic of you dwarfing your MarkII wearing that signature bit of clothing.
Can't find it right now.
At any rate, great explanation for the whole mix of what happens in the outdoor setting and thanks a bunch for that.
Speaking of the Flyer. Nice to see Lady Wolk in the news again.
http://www.hometownlife.com/article/...yssey=nav|headBarry and Glynette Wolk, of Farmington Hills, will return to the Concours this year with their 1933 Continental Flyer, built by the Continental Motor Company, which is now famous for its aircraft engines.
The car was only built for one year with about 1,700 made. Valued in the scrap drives of World War II because of its unusual all-steel body, most were destroyed. There may be 10 of them left in the world.
“This is a 50,000 mile, unrestored ‘survivor’ in excellent shape that my husband, Barry, has been driving on a regular basis,” said Glynette Wolk. “Although it’s a very small car, the original owner was 6-foot, 9-inches tall. We are the third owners of this 77-year-old beauty.”
The Wolks, in prior years, showed their 1956 Continental Mark II convertible and their ‘55 Porsche Continental cabriolet at the Concours.
“We’re excited about having another opportunity to participate in the Concours and hang out with ‘car people,’” said Glynette
Man, that car is in excellent shape and gorgeous. You've really shined it up!
(and of course, Lady Wolk looks great as well)
Last edited by audifans; 07-28-2011 at 06:15 PM.
If you watch the Stout Scarab video VERY closely, you can detect the slight lack of straight-line stability that one might expect from a car with a severe rearward weight-bias, likely a very far forward center of pressure, a narrow track, a solid front axle, and bias-ply tires running at high pressure. The driver looks like he's almost veering from side-to-side a few times, almost as if he's driving an early VW Microbus at top speed.
Jeez how I love rear-engined cars, warts and all!
I thought it was part of the whole "other worldly effect" that was being highlighted in that presentation. That and the jerky movie frame jitters of the era.
I didn't even consider the damn thing might have been on the verge.......early VW microbus!!!???
Whoa.. now you talking some serious drivability challenges.
And I can't say I really love that rearward weight shift. Sort of like driving something attached to the hammer of Thor in the back and it keeps wanting to throw you off center like it's got a mind of it's own.
(at least the Scarab wouldn't have had the additional problems of cross wind barn door status that the microbus had)
Originally Posted by Billy KeltonOriginally Posted by Tom Cotter
I started this lighting installation and maintenance business 34 years ago. My claim to fame is that I've been in business that long and have never been sued. Changing light bulbs has been very, very, good to me.
The beauty of the Concours experience is that you get to rub elbows with the rich and famous, without being either.