The Social Component

Building friendships, opportunities and partnerships around collector cars
Posted August 23, 2018

As told by Bob Kendall

When I began pursuing a 1958 Scarab race car, I had no idea how owning it would influence my life. The people I’ve met continues to astound me. For instance, I bought the Scarab from a dealer in Arizona. I, naturally, had questions about the car, so they suggested I call the builder, Scarab Motorsports in Kansas City. I contacted them and Dick Kitzmiller answered the phone, the dreamer and founder of the continuation of Reventlow’s historic race car. Dick answered all of my questions, provided a lot of background and showed real interest in a guy he had never heard of before. And just like that, I was the new owner of one of his Scarab continuation cars.

I drive the Scarab and meet people at every stop. I have displayed the car, answered lots of questions and met people I would never have imagined. We displayed the car at Road America in ReinCarNation magazine’s booth where I met two of the four original drivers for the famous Meister Brauser race team, which successfully campaigned the Scarab for many years. Don Devine and Bill Wuesthoff actually drove my car around the pit area during the historic races at Road America.

Another car I searched for and finally bought was the Troy Roadster, built by Wally Troy in 1959. It’s a really nice one-off car with simple, clean lines, an American V8 and a hand-formed aluminum body. The search and purchase of the car is quite the story in itself, but I’ll save that for another time.

So the Troy becomes a passion, an obsession. My son John and I have always wanted to build cars, and this looked like as good a project as any. I mentioned the idea to Dick, from Scarab Motorsports, and it turns out they also do custom prototyping projects. This conversation led to Dick, his master builder Dave, and chassis engineer Joe Scarbo flying to Wisconsin to 3D scan the Troy.

With the scan completed, Joe laid out a chassis design to accommodate a few improvements. In our revised version, called the Troy Indy Special, we wanted to incorporate more legroom, advanced pushrod-style suspension and a modern driveline. But more on the car later.

Joe has been a huge asset to the project and we’re enthralled with the design he put together. Previously, Joe built his own version of a 1960s Ferrari F1 car that was featured on the cover of ReinCarNation magazine. Oh yea, he also had a hand in designing the bobsleds for the U.S. Olympic team.

The Scarab led to meeting Dick, and Dick brought in Joe and Luc De Ley for our Troy project. Luc is a master craftsman who worked with his late father Marcel to build some of the most stunning aluminum coachwork. While at SEMA last November, I ran across a bare aluminum creation with flowing lines and a directionally-sanded finish which I admired with the other members of my group for some time. Little did I know that this body was from Luc’s shop, and he would be applying his talent to our prototype Indy Special.

The original Troy and the prototype chassis were displayed this past July during the vintage races at Road America. We met so many interesting people — racers, car collectors, car builders and car admirers. The project got thumbs up from everyone. Joe’s design for the chassis and suspension received nothing but praise, as did Dick and Dave’s welding, bending and machining. The body wasn’t quite finished and was still at Marcel’s Custom Metal in California, but we already know the response we’ll receive from Luc’s craftsmanship.

Several people recognized the original Troy and knew a previous owner who resurrected the car. I heard from Bill Hebal within a couple days of displaying the Troy Roadster, and he is a wealth of information concerning the history of the car. As a bonus, he lives just four hours away, so I soon made the trip over to meet Bill. He is a great guy, enthusiastic about the original car as well as our continuation models. Turns out we have a lot in common, much more than just cars.

So the Scarab and the Troy keep opening doors for me to meet others and share our passion for cars. Owning a unique car, original or well-done continuation, provides so much more than driving pleasure. It’s a drink with friends, a new conversation, a sunset you didn’t expect. My cars don’t define me, but they contribute to the pleasures and, as I am finding out, the people in my life.


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