The clued-in crowd at the Monterey Historics predictably went gaga over the finished product. (The reaction at Pebble Beach was more restrained.) The restored transporter was a revelation, but what made it look even more impressive were Orosco's three Scarabs - an authentic Formula 1 car and re-creations of a second F1 car and the first sports-racing car - that had been laboriously loaded via collapsible ramps and electric-powered winches.
In some respects, it seems absurd to have lavished so much time, energy, and money on what was designed, after all, to be nothing more than a work truck. But the Bartoletti transporter is more than a museum piece or an ego trip. It's also a time machine. And as you ride in the plush, aircraft-style seats in the spacious cab, you feel as though you're not merely trundling along the access roads at Laguna Seca but climbing the Alps en route to Le Mans or speeding along the M1 on your way home from Silverstone. And it's not hard to imagine hanging on for dear life as Chuck Daigh bends the precariously swaying transporter through the sweeper at Burnenville during a hot lap of Spa back in the glory days of Scarab.
Porsche's Benz-built bus
By Rusty Blackwell
Don Orosco's Scarab transporter isn't the only vintage racing hauler that's back in service. The late Bob Snodgrass's extensive, Florida-based Brumos Porsche collection includes a 1968 Mercedes-Benz Type 317 that was initially built as a city bus but was quickly converted by Porsche to carry its new 908 racing cars. Although it remained with the same race team - that of the Porsche factory - for its entire career, the transporter has worn several different liveries through the years, including those of Gulf, Martini, and Rothmans. From 1968 until 1989, it shuttled Porsche racing cars to nine overall Le Mans victories and eleven world sports car championships. In 2001, Gerry Sutterfield restored the transporter to its red '68 paint scheme. Today, the Benz's original six-cylinder diesel engine and five-speed manual transmission are occasionally enlisted to move as many as four vintage Porsche racing cars from event to event.