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Stout Scarab

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Stout Scarab

Perhaps the most dull and uninspiring vehicle type on the road today is the minivan. Its a rolling appliance designed to ferry kids from destination to destination. It wasnt always like this, however. As with many other things in history, the first rendition had the best intentions, and the Stout Scarab in 1936 paved a glorious path for minivans (a path none followed).
American aircraft engineer William Bushnell Stout had been involved with the automotive industry since 1907, when he was the chief engineer for Chicagos Schumeir Motor Truck Company. After years in and out of various automotive positions, Stout formed the Stout Metal Airplane Company in 1923 before selling it to Henry Ford in 1925.
Beginning in 1935, Stout began publicizing a people carrier that he christened the Scarab, a car that used airplaneinspired styling and construction. The Scarab was truly revolutionary and not just because it was the first minivan. It featured an interior that could be arranged to fit any users needs, with its rear seats able to be reconfigured around a mounted table. Combined with ambient lighting and thermostatic heating controls, this made the Scarab a rolling living room.
Besides these notable features, the Scarab also possessed powered door locks, a fiberglass body, and recessed windows and door handles to improve aerodynamic efficiency. As amazing as the Scarab was, however, it was prohibitively expensive for the time, starting at $5,000 in 1934 ($90,000 in todays money). Because of this, only nine Scarabs where believed to be built from 1934 to 1939.


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