The Sporting Life

Posted by Stuart Leuthner on Mar 14, 2016 8:08:48 AM

Introduced in 2001, and described as a “true British sports car” the Aero 8 is the first entirely new car produced by the Morgan Motor Company in more than fifty years. Instantly recognizable by its distinctive swooping fenders, the aluminum-bodied car’s 4.8-liter V-8 engine produces 367 horsepower.

Rick Mazer joined the sports car fraternity in 1963. “I was going to high school and bought a Sabra displayed at the 1963 New York Automobile Show. I loved that car and have been hooked on two-seaters ever since.”  Sabras were the only cars manufactured in Israel. Named after a cactus (featured on the car’s badge) and native-born Israelis, Sabras featured a fiberglass body and power was provided by a rather anemic four-cylinder engine borrowed from the British Ford Consuls. Customers sharing Mazer’s enthusiasm were few and far between and only a limited number of the sport cars rolled off the assembly line before production ceased in 1970.

Mazer grew up in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. After graduating from MIT with degrees in economics and management, he worked for Lockheed, Boston Consulting Group and Deloitte & Touche. In 1992, he founded Mazer Group, a firm providing strategic and financial consulting services to food companies. Five years later, Mazer joined Ventura Foods serving first as executive president and later, CEO.  With headquarters in southern California, Ventura has production facilities in 11 locations, $2 billion in annual sales and over 2,400 employees. After retiring in 2009, Mazer moved to Scottsdale, Arizona and continues to serve on the board of several organizations, including the Culinary Institute of America.


The word sport car conjures up images of small, aerodynamically shaped cars with two seats. A low weight to power ratio and precision steering teamed up an advanced suspension provide exceptional handling to tame the most serpentine roads.

Over the years, Mazer has owned some of the world’s most important sport cars including examples by Ferrari, Jaguar, BMW, Lotus, Chevrolet Corvette, Mercedes, Aston Martin, Morgan, Ford and Porsche. His current collection numbers 20 cars with the majority residing in three garages totaling 5,000 square-feet adjacent to his home. Mazer also keeps several cars at the Inde Motorsports Ranch in Wilcox, Arizona. Designed for racing enthusiasts, the resort features a 2.7 road course, an FAA approved airport, members only garages and luxury casitas for members and their guests.

Anybody who loves fine automobiles will discover their heart beating a little faster during a visit to Mazer’s Scottsdale garage. Jaguar is represented by three impeccably restored examples, two XKEs and a XK150 roadster.  An elegant 1966 Pininfarina-designed Ferrari 330 GTC coupe and a 1966 Corvette dramatically illustrate Detroit and Europe’s very different approach to the sports car. Ford’s homage to the company’s illustrious racing cars of the 1960s, a 2005 GT40 shares garage space with a Morgan Aero 8 and Plus 8. The first entirely new car produced by Morgan in fifty years, the Aero 8 is instantly recognizable by its distinctive swooping fenders.  

Although Reventlow only managed to build approximately seven examples, few automobiles can match the Scarab’s good looks. Drivers who piloted Scarabs to victory during the late 1950s and early 1960s included Chuck Daigh, Augie Pabst, Carroll Shelby, Jim Jeffords and Harry Heuer.

The Scarab’s interior is pure function. Having competed successfully in the U.S., Reventlow set his sights on Europe and Formula One. In addition to the car’s obsolete front- engine design, Scarab drivers sat upright behind a large steering wheel, an arrangement that did not lend itself to the demands of road-racing.


Scarab Motorsports in this car offers a rolling chassis fitted with a body constructed of aircraft aluminum modeled after the specifications of the car as it appeared during the 1958 racing season. Produced on a limited basis, each Scarab replica is registered to show the year of production, original owner, individual serial number and entered into the Scarab Registry. A wide range of options, including your choice of a racing number, allows the owner to design the car to their individual needs. Customers provide the engine and transmission. Mazer’s car is powered by a 383 cubic-inch Chevrolet engine fitted with Hilborn injection and a Joe Hunt magneto.

Born in 1936, Lawrence "Lance" Reventlow was the only child of Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton and Danish nobleman Count Court von Haugwitz-Hardenberg-Reventlow.  The couple divorced in 1938, and ten years later, Hutton married Prince Igor Troubetzkoy, a race car driver who introduced his step son to motor racing. Moving to California the young man began his racing career driving a Cooper in club events.  

After spending several years racing other builder’s cars in the U.S. and Europe, Reventlow decided he could build a better mouse trap and founded Reventlow Automobiles Inc. in Venice, California. Funded by his mother's money, Reventlow gathered a talented team of racers and the Scarab was born. Featuring a chrome-moly space frame, European-style independent suspension, an elegant aluminum skin and a small-block Chevrolet V-8.


 

A 1974 Ferrari Dino 246 GT. Manufactured between 1968 and 1976, the road-going car commemorated Enzo Ferrari’s fallen son. Powered by a 2-liter, 160-hp V-6, the Dino’s elegant body was designed by the famed Italian designer, Pininfarina

Three Scarab Sport-Racers were built during 1958, and soon racked up impressive wins on American tracks. Chuck Daigh was hired as the team's number one driver and was behind the wheel at the 1958 United States Sports Car Grand Prix at Riverside, California. Daigh took the checkered flag beating an outstanding field, including Phil Hill piloting a Ferrari.

In 1960, Reventlow set his sights on building America's first Formula One car, but it was a case of the wrong car for the job. Designed for American oval tracks, Scarab drivers sat upright behind a large steering wheel, an arrangement that did not lend itself to the demands of road-racing. The radical four-cylinder power plant proved too temperamental and the rear-engine revolution initiated by Cooper in 1957, rendered the Scarab's front-engine design obsolete before the car left the starting line. During 1961/1962, Reventlow Automobiles campaigned several cars, including a Buick-powered rear-engine Formula car with some success, but even with his deep pockets, Reventlow ran out of patience, closed his operation and rented the shop to Carroll Shelby.

Reventlow never raced again, concentrating on various business ventures including the possibility of building a ski resort in Colorado.  He owned a house in Aspen and in 1972, chartered a Cessna 206 to check out possible locations from the air. The inexperienced pilot flew into a blind canyon and everybody aboard was killed. Lance Reventlow was 36 years old.

Mazer’s Scarab currently dwells in his Scottsdale garage, but he plans to turn the car loose car on the track at Inde Motorsports Ranch sometime this winter. In a future issue we will spend a day at the resort and provide a track-side report detailing the Scarab’s performance.

 

Produced between 1957 and 1972, the Lotus Seven was designed by Lotus Cars’ founder, Colin Chapman. Powered by a Ford Cosworth engine, the Lotus Seven embodied the auto builder’s philosophy of low weight, simplicity and nimble handling. Lotus Sevens were available assembled or in a kit, the latter to avoid a tax surcharge.

 

 

 

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