See the world’s first minivan at the Concours of Elegance

| 21 Aug 2019
Classic & Sports Car – See the world’s first minivan at the Concours of Elegance

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Back in 1936 it was the first production minivan in the world and now, 83 years later, it’s set to star at next month’s Concours of Elegance.

This eye-catching, art deco-inspired, V8-powered Stout Scarab will be displayed at Hampton Court Palace on 6-8 September and despite the illustrious company it will be keeping, it’ll be one of the rarest vehicles at the event.

Indeed, only nine were ever built.

Classic & Sports Car – See the world’s first minivan at the Concours of Elegance
Classic & Sports Car – See the world’s first minivan at the Concours of Elegance

This stunning design was the brainchild of William Bushnell Stout, an automotive and aviation engineer and journalist, who took inspiration from Buckminster Fuller’s futuristic, tear-drop-esque Dymaxion car, and the plan had been to build 100 a year.

High production costs and the time-consuming coachwork meant that with a $5000 price-tag (almost $100,000 today), the Scarab dream was never realised and just nine were built.

Yet this example has, allegedly, earned its place in history, apparently the scene of a meeting between General Eisenhower and Charles de Gaulle in WW2.

In the ’50s it housed a circus owner’s monkeys before entering the custodianship of a French industrial designer who put it in a museum in Reims. Its current keepers restored it in 2001 and have lavished care on it ever since.

Classic & Sports Car – See the world’s first minivan at the Concours of Elegance

“Our event is an oasis of the rarest Ferraris, Bugattis, Rolls-Royces, Maseratis and more. But 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,” said Andrew Evans, the Concours of Elegance’s Director.

“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.”

Fancy taking a closer look? Remember that C&SC readers can buy discounted Concours of Elegance tickets and use C&SC’s exclusive car park – please click here for details.

Images: Michael Furman


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