Don Orosco's All-American F1 Scarab Transporter

Brian Konoske

The Scarabs were the creation of playboy racer Lance Reventlow, an ambitious dilettante who was Barbara Hutton's son, heir to the Woolworth fortune, Cary Grant's stepson, James Dean's buddy, and Jill Saint John's husband (briefly). In 1957, he hired a group of supremely talented West Coast race car craftsmen to scratch-build a trio of sports-racing cars powered by small-block Chevys. After dominating the American sports car scene, Reventlow and company fashioned the first - and last, as it turned out - genuinely all-American Formula 1 cars.

To haul the Scarabs from race to race in 1960, Reventlow commissioned a transporter from Bartoletti along the lines of the Fiat-based hauler they'd been building for Ferrari and Maserati. With a diesel flat-twelve, the rig motored down the road "fairly well," according to chief mechanic Phil Remington, and number-one driver Chuck Daigh once gave his teammates a terrifying thrill ride around Spa - with two F1 cars loaded on the truck.

The Scarab team returned to the States after its calamitous 1960 season, but its Bartoletti transporter remained in England and embarked on a remarkably convoluted itinerary. Team manager Warren Olson says the rig was next used by Team Lotus. Then, supposedly, it was prepared for, but never delivered to, Lucky Casner's Camoradi racing team. The transporter resurfaced in 1964 in Ford princess blue carrying Cobra Daytona coupes around Europe. Later, painted guardsman blue, it passed into the hands of Alan Mann Racing, which used it to ferry Cobras and GT40s to Le Mans and beyond.

When the Ford Le Mans program ended, the rig did a stint on the British drag-racing circuit, carting slingshot dragsters for John Woolfe Racing. Next, English privateer David Piper acquired the transporter and painted it in his signature green. Piper rented the Bartoletti - which he described as "an exact twin to the Ferrari transporter" - as a prop for the movie Le Mans. According to legend, it was painted first in Gulf blue to serve as the Porsche 917 car carrier, then repainted red for a scene as the Ferrari 512 transporter. This livery was perfect for its final European owner, Sir Anthony Bamford, who used it to haul 250GTOs to vintage races.

In the early 1980s, Bamford offered one of his GTOs to American Michael Shoen. Shoen couldn't afford the car, but being a big-time Cobra collector (and, later, the author of the definitive history, The Cobra-Ferrari Wars 1963-1965), he gladly paid $10,000 for the Bartoletti transporter. During the late '80s, members of the Shoen family - owners of the U-Haul empire - were embroiled in a bitter battle for control of the company. Michael Shoen's faction won a $462 million award, though not U-Haul itself, and the transporter wound up as a casualty of war. Like an immensely valuable hostage, it was sequestered in the middle of a large, otherwise unoccupied storage yard surrounded by cyclone fencing. And there it sat for nearly two decades, broiling in the Arizona sun. All attempts to buy it were rebuffed.

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