To many racing fans, including Joe Scarbo, the pre-wing-era Formula 1 cars of the late 1960s were among the most beautiful competition automobiles ever produced. His company, Scarbo Performance, offers a range of design, testing, and fabrication services targeted to motorsports, but it also builds the Scarbo SVF1, an American-designed, Chevy-powered replica of a 1967 Ferrari 312 F1 car. Currently, just two examples exist, and this August, Joe’s own SVF1 prototype, chassis 001-P, will cross the auction block at Mecum’s Monterey sale.
Getting one’s hands on a real Ferrari 312/67 would be challenging and costly. First, just four were ever built, and one, chassis 312/67 0001, was destroyed at Monaco by Lorenzo Bandini, who would later succumb to his injuries. Chassis 312/67 0005 was wrecked in a crash at the 1968 Race of Champions, which leaves just two 312/67s remaining, both are in private French collections. While everything has a price, we suspect taking ownership of either car would involve writing a check with a lot of zeroes, and then there’s the cost and complexity of keeping the original 3.0-liter, 60-degree V-12 running in proper tune.
Enter the SVF1, which resembles the Mauro Forghieri-designed original, but differs in several key areas. Instead of using aluminum monocoque construction like the Ferrari, the Scarbo uses a more durable tubular steel chassis, made from either MIG-welded mild steel (in the least expensive Base Model) or TIG-welded thin-wall 4130 steel tubing (in more expensive variants). Hand-formed aluminum bodywork comes standard on Scarbo’s range-topping S+ model (and is used on the prototype being offered in Monterey), while lower-cost SVF1 models rely on carbon composite bodywork or fiberglass panels. Base models come with 17-inch wheels (9 inches wide in rear and 7 inches wide in front), while S and S+ models are delivered with the period-correct, forged 15-inch wheels (14 inches wide in rear and 12 inches wide in front) seen on the prototype.
The biggest difference between the Ferrari and the Scarbo is, of course, the Chevy V-8 that replaces the original’s V-12, though the Scarbo retains the mid-chassis mounting position and transaxle layout of the 312/67. Swapping the high-revving 3.0-liter Ferrari V-12 for a pushrod V-8 may sound like sacrilege, but it certainly isn’t without precedent. According to Randy Cook’s book, Bowtie Ferraris, from the late 1950s into the 1970s, more than 70 Ferrari sports racers were repowered by Chevy V-8s, primarily to extend their useful (and cost-effective) track or road-going life.
As for power and weight, consider the stats: The 1967 Ferrari 312 produced around 390 horsepower, but at a stratospheric 10,000 rpm. The Scarbo SVF1 prototype’s conservatively tuned V-8 makes around 425 horsepower, at a more leisurely 6,000-rpm redline, give or take. The Ferrari tipped the scales at 548 kilograms, or 1,205 pounds, while the Scarbo weighs a similar 1,280 pounds. That gives the original a weight-to-horsepower ratio of 3.09:1, while its domestic interpretation offers a weight-to-horsepower of 3.01:1.
For those seeking a new Scarbo SVF1, the price range begins at $79,500 for a base-model rolling chassis in fiberglass bodywork, or $112,800 for the turnkey equivalent, powered by a 430-hp 6.2-liter Chevy V-8 mated to a five-speed transaxle. Stepping up to the SVF1 S, which includes the lighter TIG-welded thin-wall steel frame and carbon composite bodywork, starts at $99,900 for a roller and climbs to $144,800 for one powered by a 480-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 with a six-speed transaxle. Atop the range, the SVF1 S+ features the same lightweight steel tubing frame, wrapped in aluminum bodywork; a roller in this trim is priced at $117,500, while the 525-hp turnkey example stickers for $172,400. While none can be licensed for street use, all are eligible for SVRA and HMSA competition for owners not content to exercise them solely on track day sessions.
Few of us can scrounge the price of admission from between couch cushions, but the cost of a track-ready Scarbo SVF1 is a fraction of the real thing, and the same can be said for operating costs. As for the built-and-tested prototype, which has qualified on pole at the Thermal Club Invitational and finished in the top-five at the Coronado Festival of Speed, Mecum is predicting a selling price between $105,000 and $135,000.
Mecum’s Monterey sale takes place from August 23-25 on the Del Monte Golf Course at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa. For additional details, visit Mecum.com.