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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

The forgotten Scarabeo race car

From the various cars that have been present in the world's automotive, we can see various unique things. One of them, when the automotive designers designed concept vehicles and gave unique and unusual sounding names. Most of the names are taken from one of animal species that are considered to provide inspiration or whose have the similar physical form with the vehicle being designed.
The first prototype of Alfa Romeo Scarabeo race car concept bodied by O.S.I. debuted at the 1966 Paris Auto Show and reportedly, it's being a part of the private collection in Canada up now. (Picture from: FCAHeritage)
It can be seen in one of the Alfa Romeo's classic racing car concepts named Alfa Romeo Scarabeo. The unique name is apparently taken from the name of a type of beetle in Italian (according to Wikipedia, it's a large dung beetle), but we do not see the similarity between the insect and this Alfa Romeo car. But if we look at its physical form, this car looks similar to the Ferrari 250 GT SWB 'Breadvan' Drogo which was previously built in 1962 which both apply the K-tail at the back.
The first prototype of Alfa Romeo Scarabeo race car concept accommodates a typical shape which is known as the Kamm tail or K-tail at rear. (Picture from: FCAHeritage)
The Alfa Romeo Scarabeo is a concept car engineered by the designers at the Alfa Romeo's Centro Stillo, Giuseppe Busso and Orazio Satta Puliga. At that time Alfa Romeo was developing a racing prototype with the aim of returning to major competition, following its withdrawal in 1953. Following those Italian company's improving financial condition after reaping the success of selling Giulietta in various forms, so they have the means to continue from where the development of the stillborn Tipo 160 Grand Prix prototype of 1954 had left off.

The project is based on two principles: a flight-inspired "H" tubular frame, a concept later adopted by the famous Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, and a driving position mounted as far back as possible, an idea suggested in the 1950s by renowned testers and drivers, Consalvo Sanesi. According to him, this solution will give drivers a better feeling and understanding of the car's behavior while on driving.
The second prototype of Alfa Romeo Scarabeo race car concept bodied by O.S.I. (Picture from: FCAHeritage)
Soon the Alfa Romeo commissioned to Officine Stampaggio Industriali (O.S.I), a relatively new design firm in Borgaro Torinese. The car body is built on top of the Alfa Romeo chassis, and designed by Sergio Sartorelli. The bodywork accommodates a typical shape in accordance with the aerodynamic theory developed by Wunibald Kamm in the 1930s right behind of the car which is known as the Kamm tail or K-tail.
The second prototype of Alfa Romeo Scarabeo race car by simplifying the shape with left-hand drive and a more conventional windshield and pinned the doors. (Picture from: FCAHeritage)
Then the Scarabeo concept car was given the Inline-four engine from Alfa Romeo GTA. The engine is mounted transversely at the rear of the car, along with the clutch and gearbox. In an effort to save costs, the suspension is based on the Renault R8. The Tipo 33 tubular chassis was used, and the fuel tanks were installed on either side of the cockpit.
The second prototype of Alfa Romeo Scarabeo race car concept also accommodates a typical shape which is known as the Kamm tail or K-tail at rear. (Picture from: FCAHeritage)
The car is given a sleek and lightweight design that allows great handling and a top speed of 200 kph (124.3 mph). Besides having a sleek design especially on the front, this first prototype also has an interesting feature, namely the absence of doors, so the cockpit is accessed by flipping the roof, which incorporates a panoramic windshield to the front. The concept car then made its debut at the 1966 Paris Auto Show.
The third prototype of Alfa Romeo Scarabeo race car concept never been finished and remained a test mule. (Picture from: FCAHeritage)
Then the second prototype with a simpler design was built shortly after the first one was exhibited at the 1966 Paris Auto Show. Development of the second prototype by simplifying the shape with left-hand drive and a more conventional windshield and pinned the doors. This car is captivating to this day because of its prominent engine position and the driving position which is very far behind.
The third prototype of Alfa Romeo Scarabeo race car concept carried barchetta style is now sat on display at the Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese (the northwest of Milan) along with the second one. (Picture from: FCAHeritage)
Meanwhile, the team also developed the third barchetta-styled prototype. But unfortunately the "semi-dressed" car was never finished and remained a test mule. Although there were improvements to the second and third prototypes so that they could proceed to the production stage, unfortunately fate said it was different that the Scarabeo project was canceled due to the Alfa Romeo's racing program was completely taken over by Autodelta.😓

Since then the second and third prototypes have been part of Alfa's collezione storica at the Alfa Romeo Museum (Museo Storico Alfa Romeo) in Milan to this day. While the first one, the silver Alfa Romeo Scarabeo coupé escaped and was considered as a private collection in Canada. And it seems that the Scarabeo race car also inspired a catamaran style racing car made by OSI in the 1967 called OSI Silver Fox which also failed to make its way to the racing arena due to the company had financial difficultie.😓

Well, even though there has never been a single Scarabeo race car seen racing on the circuit, at least there is still a Ferrari 250 GT SWB 'Breadvan' Drogo, a Ferrari racing car that has a shape almost similar to the Alfa Romeo Scarabeo which has achieved quite well in various FIA GT races in the 1960s. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | CLASSICDRIVER | WIKIPEDIA | TCCT | FCAHERITAGE | CARSCOOPS ]
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