In less than a week, the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus (SCG) Boot will roar away from the starting line at the Baja 1000. The homemade homage to the original Hurst Baja Boot has already surmounted its first, literal obstacles during 1,000 miles of testing in the Southwest, including a spate of rock crawling in California's Johnson Valley OHV area known for the King of the Hammers race. The SCG team ran in two-up convoy to Baja from its home base in New York, driving one Baja-spec race-focused version of the Boot and a chase Boot in standard road specification. The news appears positive, SCG putting out a brief video of the Boot covering the kinds of desert terrain it'll be competing on shortly. Just like the original, this bigger, badder Boot ain't pretty, but it looks most effective.
The two Boot versions are both claimed to be 49-state legal, but differ in their details. In standard trim, the Boot sits 84 inches wide, powered by a 6.2-liter LT1 V8 from the Chevrolet Camaro SS with 460 horsepower shifting through a GM 4L80E four-speed transmission. The three-inch Fox coilover suspension provides 19 inches of travel for the BFG KM3 Mud-Terrain tires on 17-inch wheels. The race version sits 88 inches wide and on a slightly longer wheelbase, powered by the 6.2-liter supercharged LT4 V8 from the C7 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 making 650 hp, shifting through a race-prepped Turbo 400 three-speed transmission. The 2.5-inch dual-shock suspension at each corner runs its boxed lower control arms through 22 inches of travel for either 37-inch BFG KR2 or 40-inch BFG KM3 rubber. A longer-range fuel cell than the 45-gallon unit in the road spec carries enough juice for 400 to 500 racing miles.
As for history, Vic Hickey's original 1967 Boot required a few outings to take the top step of the podium. When owner Steve McQueen ran the 450-horsepower extraterrestrial rover in the 1969 NORBA Mexican 1000, a busted axle led to a moment McQueen recounted with, "We were really battin' along, feeling good about the car and our chances with it, when we see this big fat wheel rolling along beside us. It's our wheel!" The Ford Bronco won the race with duo Larry Minor and Rod Hall. McQueen's friend Bud Ekins then took the Boot to victory at the 1969 Mexican 500, followed in second place by Parnelli Jones in a Ford Bronco.
The SCG Boot and Ford's factory-backed Bronco R prototype are the only two vehicles in the Class 2 field at this year's race. Ford, as it did with the GT at Le Mans, would love to celebrate a 50th anniversary victory. SCG would love for its privateer Boot to do what the original privateer couldn't pull off in 1969 against the Blue Oval. One of them — assuming they both finish — has to win, but we already win no matter what happens. And if we're really lucky, the SCG team will take a detour and drive a pontoon- and outboard-equipped Boot through the Bering Strait on the way back to New York.