Timeless Classic: Rediscovering the 1936 Stout Scarab

Designed by aeronautical engineer William Stout, the Scarab would ultimately become one of the most influential vehicles of the 20th century as it would become the pioneering foundation of the modern-day minivan.



However, it wouldn’t be enough just to call the Stout Scarab the world’s first minivan, although it does thoroughly deserve this accolade. Afterall, the Scarab came standard with a number of industry-disrupting features which included ambient lighting, power locks, flexible seating configurations and a central passenger door (which functions much like the ones we see on minivans today).



Stout strived to create a vehicle that was extremely utilitarian, yet remarkably comfortable. He envisioned the Stout as the ideal vehicle for cross-country family road trips. Therefore, the chassis was built around this particular philosophy; the use of independent control arms, coil springs and hydraulic brakes amongst some of the features that ensured excellent ride quality and confident road mannerisms.



Sadly, the onset of World War II would prematurely end the Scarab’s production run at just 9 units. There are less than a handful which exist today, with one of them being Stout’s personal car which racked up over 250,000 miles – a true testament to an end product based on pragmatic engineering and design principles.


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