James Glickenhaus was once best known for his work as a movie director and producer. Remember 1988's Maniac Cop? No? How about 1990's Frankenhooker? Me neither, but I was 13 years old in 1990, and that would've been right up my alley. Frankly I'm surprised there's not a worn-out VHS tape of it somewhere in my parents' lounge room.
Glickenhaus is also an absolutely huge car nut, with a famous and burgeoning supercar garage. His particular fascination seems to be taking race cars that have performed well, for instance at Le Mans or the Nürburgring, and kitting them out with road gear and registration to make daily drivers of them.
Mind you, he hasn't stopped there. He's set up his own supercar company with his wife - Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus (SCG) - and started making his own road-going race cars in a move that has propelled him to even greater global notoriety than Frankenhooker.
The SCG003, with its massive torque and extreme downforce, proved Glickenhaus's credentials as a supercar builder, laying down a blistering 6:33.20 lap of the 12.9-mile Nürburgring Nordschliefe and finishing first in class twice at the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. An SCG004S is in the pipeline for 2020. Between his softcore action movies, hardcore supercars and hundreds of millions of dollars, Glickenhaus has built himself the ideal lifestyle of the teen male. And now he's striking out for something a little dirtier.
Looking down the list of cars in Glickenhaus's garage, one stands out like a sore thumb among the custom-designed ex-race Ferraris: the 1967 Baja Boot. Built to compete in what became the Baja 1000 desert race, and later owned and raced by Steve McQueen, the Baja Boot is a snub-noised tank of a jeep on steroids, running massive desert racing tires and a monstrous 450-horsepower V8 in the back.
The first time it raced, its Hydra-Matic transmission blew itself to bits. The second time, with McQueen at the helm, it lost a wheel. Third time was the charm, and it won the Baja 500 in 1969 with McQueen's friend Bud Ekin at the wheel. Glickenhaus picked it up in an auction at Pebble Beach back in 2010, and is now setting out to build an updated Boot for the modern era.
Nothing but CAD renders have been released as yet, and we have no specs to share, but SCG is moving fast on this project. The SCG Boot is a high-end adventure rally racer designed to go places you wouldn't try pointing anything else. It's also fully road legal.
Here's how the team plans to prove the design. Firstly, they'll take it to the 2019 Baja 1000 and punish it in one of the most brutal and challenging off-road rallies on the calendar. Then, they plan to drive it all the way to the peak of the Ojos del Salado volcano in the Andes - setting a new world record for driving altitude at 22,615 feet (6,893 meters) above sea level if it gets there.
Then what the heck, they'll drive it from New York to Paris - the long way, taking in stretches of the Trans-Siberian Highway and the ominously-named Road of Bones on the way. Oh, and they plan to cross the 53-odd miles (85 km) of the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia using an amphibious setup that lets the Boot travel unaided across the water.
Best we can tell from the renders, that entails a car-sized raft that the Boot will drive onto, powered by a couple of outboard motors. Presumably the whole thing folds up small enough to mount on the car, and presumably the team will be waiting until the weather looks favorable, because it looks like a pretty sketchy setup, with the car riding pretty low. A couple of big waves, and … well, in a magnificent twist, the Fishermen of Alaska might find themselves hoping to catch an old Boot.
The SCG team is keen for company on this epic trip, though, and as such has shouted out pretty much everyone who makes a high-end SUV on Facebook, asking who else wants to have a crack when the expedition leaves Times Square in the summer of 2020.
While specs haven't been announced, we're expecting the figures to be impressive. That's because the prices have been announced: you can get yourself a 2-door SCG Boot for US$250,000, or the 4-door for US$275,000. Factory support will be available for any customers choosing to enter these things in either the Baja 1000 or the New York to Paris expedition, at prices yet to be announced.
A multi-millionaire man-child, a raging obsession with performance cars and racing, a tall volcano, a gruelling desert race, a ridiculous round-the-world amphibious jaunt, a challenge in the faces of Ferrari and Lamborghini, a nasty go-anywhere off-roader and a pinch of Steve McQueen … This has got to be a story worth following.
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