When the clouds of grit lastly settled on the 2019 Baja 1000, the grueling off-road race by way of the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico, an unlikely star emerged: the Boot, an all-terrain automobile from SCG, a producer you’ve in all probability by no means heard of. With simply 47 seconds left earlier than the 800-mile race’s 34-hour cutoff, the fangy, bug-eyed, scarlet pink Boot crossed the end line, carrying 420 kilos of mud, and defeating the one different automobile in its class: a prototype Bronco R from Ford. The tiny SCG—Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, a low-volume producer based and run by the filmmaker and financier James Glickenhaus—had crushed one in every of Detroit’s Massive Three.
“Frankly, I feel Ford was a bit shocked that we beat them by 270 miles within the class,” says Glickenhaus, talking in cogent, animated bursts that belie the builder’s 70 years. Although based mostly in Danbury, CT, Glickenhaus plans to scale up his California facility’s manufacturing of the $287,500 4-Door Boot. The two-Door, at the moment accessible for $258,750, is road authorized in 49 states (quickly, 50, he says) and offered by way of specialty luxurious sellers comparable to Manhattan Motorcars. It’s simply one in every of an expansive record of initiatives from Glickenhaus, together with the SCG 007, a hypercar he plans to enter within the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2021—with the audacious objective of gaining the primary total win for a automobile made in America in over 50 years.
However again to Baja: Glickenhaus and his race crew are getting ready for an additional run-in with Ford in the course of the 1000’s 2020 iteration this November (at press time, the race was nonetheless scheduled). Positive, it’s a rivalry—nevertheless it’s additionally R&D. Getting into the Boot in one in every of off-roading’s most demanding and storied races isn’t only a occasion trick, Glickenhaus says—it’s one of the crucial environment friendly methods to suss out a automobile’s true capabilities: “It’s such as you put 100 thousand miles in a day on it, subjecting it to forces and temperature extremes, big boulders. You tear it down afterward and see if something broke.” These classes led to materials enhancements for the 2020 mannequin, from energy to suspension upgrades.
Primarily, the Boot is a dune buggy that has gone by way of some form of Avengers-worthy battle-hardening. It’s based mostly on Steve McQueen’s Baja Boot—the very automobile the actor raced within the late ’60s—which Glickenhaus purchased at public sale in 2010. That automobile was designed by Vic Hickey, a Normal Motors engineer who discovered success by outfitting the low, tubular-framed Boot with a sturdy suspension (for its time) and a mid-mounted GM V8.
“YOU FEEL THE GHOSTS OF THE ’60S AND STEVE (MCQUEEN) DRIVING THE THING,” SAYS GLICKENHAUS.
Glickenhaus’ modernized inventory model of the Boot additionally derives its energy from a GM V8. Select both an LT1 or LT4 engine—initially developed for the Z06 Corvette—mated to an automated transmission and fed to massive 39-inch tires with a heft that ensures practically all of its horsepower (460 for the LT1, 683 for the LT4) are utilized to the bottom. For the latter engine, Glickenhaus estimates a zero-to-60 time within the low three seconds, wildly spectacular for a automobile that’s practically 5,550 kilos. After all, the Boot wasn’t supposed as a road racer. Huge shocks and comes give it as much as 23 inches of suspension journey, which means the automobile can float over boulders and bumps, nose-up, like a ship.
The trendy Boot not solely outpowers McQueen’s mannequin, it additionally boasts a cupholder, vital for pavement-not-required Starbucks runs. The 4-Door mannequin options backseat suicide doorways, which hinge on the rear—“as a result of they’re cool.” The rear seats are elevated, stadium model, to offer these second-row passengers a greater view, and chase away carsickness, a legit downside for off-roading with pals.
The Boot is a showy factor, outrageous however useful, constructed to be loved quite than babied.
“I simply obtained so sick of mystery vehicles,” says Glickenhaus, referring to the current wave of luxurious and sportscar manufacturers branching out into sport-utility automobiles, together with Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Bentley, and Rolls-Royce. These automobiles, Glickenhaus says, aren’t match for something extra rugged than the driveway of a polo membership. That’s a spot the place a Boot, you’ll assume, may really feel misplaced.
“That is the true deal. If the apocalypse occurred—which, it looks as if it’d, the best way issues are going—you’d need to be on this factor,” says Glickenhaus. “I feel, due to COVID, the market’s altering. You’re going from individuals shopping for (an unique automobile) to impress individuals at a restaurant on South Seaside, to individuals shopping for it as a result of they’ll use the frigging factor.”
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