When the Stout Scarab was introduced, there was nothing on the road quite like it. Its 90 horsepower Ford flathead V8 was mounted in the rear providing lots of room to accommodate passengers inside. Outside, it looked more like it was built by an airplane designer than by an automaker. In-fact, it was. William B. Stout served as chief engineer of Packard's aircraft division during World War I. After the War, he designed a high-winged monoplane without the struts and wires that characterized earlier aircraft. Still later, his design for a three-engine commercial aircraft served as the inspiration for the successful Ford Tri-Motor.
Inspired by aviation techniques, the Scarab - named after the hard-shelled Egyptian beetle - with its metal panels over a framework of tubing, took much of its strength from what was essentially an exoskeleton. Not only was the exterior and much of its design revolutionary, the interior packaging was most astonishing. Unlike its contemporaries, the fenders were incorporated into the body and the running boards dispensed with - thus reducing wind resistance and interior noise. Flush window glass and hinges were quite novel, too; as was flow-through ventilation with dust filter, thermostatically controlled heat, electric door locks, movable seating (including a table), and indirect interior lighting. The interior features understated wood trim along with a varnished wicker headliner and leather seats. Five of the nine produced are known to exist today. At $5,000 when new, the vehicles were sold by invitation. Owners including chewing gum king Phillip Wrigley, fellow investor William Dow, Robert Stranahan of Champion Spark Plug, and Harvey Firestone.