Citroën Has Recreated The Amazing Golden Scarab Half-Track That Conquered The Sahara Almost 100 Years Ago
The Scarabée d’Or (Golden Scarab) half-track was built by Citroën to conquer the unforgiving terrain of the Sahara Desert and it achieved just that, becoming the first vehicle to do so in December 1922. This rugged off-road vehicle, the K1 HP Type B2 (now you see why the nickname stuck) was designed to take on whatever challenges might lie in its path and was equipped with a lightly-stressed 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 20hp at a leisurely 2100rpm. A three-speed gearbox sent the power to the half-track portion; with the bare chassis weighing 1763 pounds, once the Golden Scarab was fully laden progress was leisurely at best.
But speed was a secondary consideration, because this vehicle was designed to overcome the worst that nature could throw at it and thanks to its mechanical toughness and the skill of the ten men (and one dog named Flossie) it took on the Sahara and came out on top. Citroën decided to rebuild this historically significant vehicle back in 2016 and collaborated with a team of 160 students and pupils as well as 40 teachers to complete the project. “In this year of Citroën’s centenary, the rebuilding of the Golden Scarab takes on a whole new dimension,” said Linda Jackson, Citroën’s chief executive officer. “It is a project that André Citroën would have appreciated. We are proud of having supported and taken part in this new adventure, an educational project which today delivers a true-to-life replica of the original half-track.”
The newly completed Golden Scarab will join the original at various events celebrating Citroën’s centenary this year, “One hundred years separate the architects of these two vehicles, but the same passion drives them,” commented Jackson. These two half-tracks, as well as many other iconic Citroëns, will be on display from mid-June onwards in Paris during an open-air exhibition, culminating on 19 July in Le Perche, for the Gathering of the Century event.
Images courtesy of Citroën