SST AUTOMOTIVE NEWS
NEW TRIBUTE TO WORLD'S FIRST MINI VAN
21 August, 2019:
Some say it is the world’s first production minivan – the stunning art deco-inspired 1936 Stout Scarab. It will be on display at this year’s Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace. Only nine exist. The Scarab was the creation of journalist and automotive & aviation engineer William Bushnell Stout. It was inspired by ‘futurist’ author, architect and designer Buckminster Fuller and his tear-drop creation: the Dymaxion. Stout had visions of the Scarab being a 100-a-year production phenomenon at a time when automotive design was somewhat bland.
However the coach-work was cumbersome and time sonsuming and the vehicle had a price tag of $5,000 price, which in today's dollars would be equivalent o about $100,000 U.S. As a result the Scarab dream died, with only nine completed.
Now a new tribute is planned to the "world's First Mini Van" at the Concours of Elegance. The Scarab is now an incredibly rare, art deco-inspired, coach-built masterpiece that perfectly encompasses the spirit of the show, which will display the most spectacular stories, the most astonishing designs and the finest craftsmanship.
The Stout Scarab being featured at the event also has its own war-time legend; it was said to be the scene of a meeting between General Eisenhower and Charles de Gaulle during the Second World War. Throughout the 1950s it was then used by a circus owner, who kept monkeys in the car while they toured the continent. Later it was sold to a French industrial designer who had the vehicle placed in a museum in Reims. The current owners had the vehicle restored in 2001 and have kept it in top condition ever since.
The Scarab was chosen to recognize a type of beetle that was considered sacred in ancient Egypt, which explains the beetle on the back of the vehicle.
The Scarab destined for the Concours is a museum quality piece and is joining some of the world’s rarest and most unique automobiles. The event in the garden of Hampton's Court will be one of the world's most prestigious and important automotive events. Some of the other vehicles destined for the event include: a display of one of every Aston Martin Zagato variant, a collection of the most important vehicles in Bentley’s 100-year history, and the most significant Ferrari in existence.
“Our event is an oasis of the rarest Ferraris, Bugattis, Rolls-Royces, Maseratis and more". said Andrew Evans, Concours of Elegance Director. "In amongst the sea of motoring legends, visitors often find a truly special outlier – as worthy of its place in the line-up as any other, but without the big-name recognition. This year, the Scarab will undoubtedly be that car; not only is it beautiful, but it’s rare and relatively unknown. You can bet once you’ve seen it at Hampton Court Palace, most visitors will never see another Scarab.”
The design of the Scarab was truly ahead of its time. The clever use of space and its low centre of gravity gave it car like handling characteristics just like the Chrysler Mini Vans that created a whole new niche in the automotive industry in the 1980's and remain popular today. The Scarab also had aerodynamic design which was as by-product of the art deco inspiration.
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About the annual Concours of Elegance:
Established in 2012, the inaugural Concours of Elegance was held within Windsor Castle to mark the diamond jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen’s reign. Organised by Thorough Events, the first Concours of Elegance set a new global benchmark for a classic car concours; winning prestigious awards in the process; unheard of for a ‘start-up’ event in its first year. The second Concours of Elegance was held in 2013 to equal fanfare at the historic Royal Palace of St James in London, with the widely acclaimed third Concours set in the stunning grounds of Hampton Court Palace in September 2014, before heading to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in 2015. Only cars of the highest calibre are invited to the Concours of Elegance, from all over the world, painstakingly selected by the Concours Steering Committee; a respected team of authoritative historic car experts. A key objective of the annual Concours of Elegance is to raise significant sums for charity. In 2017, Concours of Elegance signed an agreement with Historic Royal Palaces to hold the event at Hampton Court Palace until 2021. The Concours of Elegance today represents a collection of over 1,000 vehicles, including a Future Classics display of the latest bespoke hypercars, the sixth annual Club Trophy, presented by the Royal Automobile Club supported by Classic & Sports Car, gathering the finest of the nation’s car clubs and – of course – the more-than-60 rarest cars ever created that form the centerpiece of the event.