The newly-reborn Scout Motors is headed to Baja, marking the first time that a factory-backed Scout will race on the Baja Peninsula in over 40 years. After being revived as an EV brand by Volkswagen, Scout Motors is backing the Anything Scout Vintage Racing Team to run a 1976 International Harvester Scout Terra in the NORRA Mexican 1000 on May 4.
According to Scout Motors CEO Scott Keogh, the idea behind officially backing a racing team at Baja this year is to embrace its brand heritage, so it can hopefully inject it into future electric models.
"As we build Scout Motors, it's only fitting we start in Baja in classically proven trucks to capture the essence of Scout. From there, the NORRA Mexican 1000 is a chance for us to draw inspiration from Scout racing heritage and learn how to best inject future products with off-road DNA and rugged capability,” said Keogh.
The 1976 International Harvester Scout Terra running in the NORRA Mexicana 1000 has been fully restored by Anything Scout, from Ames, Iowa. The only modifications to the Baja Scout were made to handle the rigors of the famous desert race. Under the hood is a 195 cubic inch four-cylinder engine, paired to a T-19 close-ratio four-speed manual, and it sports Dana 44 axles. It's also running General Grabber X3 33 inch tires.
When Scout Motors eventually puts a new product on the market, it will be completely mechanically different from the car racing in Baja. New Scouts will reportedly be built on a unique electric platform, which won't be shared with any other Volkswagen Group product. Production will be at a brand-new Columbia, South Carolina factory, which Scout claims will create 4,000 jobs and have the capacity to build 200,000 cars per year. There's no word on when the first new model will launch but Scout released a teaser image last month.
Backing a Baja team does seem like a good idea for Scout Motors and it's something that should inject some optimism into the Scout fanbase. Partnering with an enthusiast racing team could help Keogh and the rest of Scout Motors better understand what the brand's core values are and how to best serve its customers moving forward. It might not help with powertrain development much, of course, but it could help define the character of the brand, so that future electric Scouts still feel like the Scouts fans have loved for decades.
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