Movie producer turned small-batch supercar guy James Glickenhaus has had a team working on a new version of the “Baja Boot”–a badass 1960s dune buggy famously driven by Steve McQueen–with the goal of making a street-legal vehicle capable of racing the Baja 1000. Now, it looks like the car’s really running and driving.
“Boots on the ground,” is a cute way of saying at least one of these things has actually been built and started, which is a huge accomplishment! It looks like Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus had a reveal party in Monterey for Car Week, which makes sense since the asking price of these things will be in the quarter-mil neighborhood.
You can also listen to it. But, check your headphone volume first.
A little more auditorially dulcet is this musical painting montage:
And finally, a few pics of the new Boot with the old Boot uploaded by Mr. Glickenhaus:
Earlier notes from the Glickenhaus shop indicated that the new Baja Boot would run a 5.0-liter V8 and have 20 inches of suspension travel. That’s a lot. A lot–a Raptor claims about 13.
As for the O.G. Baja Boot, you might not be surprised to learn James Glickenhaus bought it in 2010. Its origin story is actually pretty interesting–here’s a good technical rundown credited to Peter MacGillivray of 4 Wheel Off-Road, from Steve McQueen Online where I found it:
“...the Hurst Baja Boot, brought to life by designer Vic Hickey. A General Motors engineer and desert racing fan, Hickey transformed his preliminary sketches into an actual vehicle in less than a month. Fabricated from SAE- 1010 13/4-inch steel tubing, the 3,450-pound vehicle boasted zero front and rear overhang and 9 inches of vertical wheel travel. At 112 inches in length, this hybrid four-wheel-drive buggy relied on a suspension system that included parts from Corvette rear drive assemblies, Olds Toronado axleshafts, and a Dana transfer case. Inverted from their normal positions, the drive assemblies allowed the driver to disengage the transfer case so the Boot could be operated in front-wheel drive only. A collapsible steering column, 11-inch Hurst-Airheart disc brakes, and a 20-inch-diameter, six-blade fan with reversed pitch (to blow air away through a Chevy truck radiator) were among the vehicle’s most innovative features. Even the 350ci V-8 was used in a unique manner: Hickey installed it backward in the chassis, in front of the rear axleshafts.”
There’s even more Baja Boot history on Offroad Xtreme. The original Boot had a rollercoaster career; it came together in an impressively short time, then proceeded to struggle in its early races. McQueen reportedly drove it in the ’68 Stardust 7-11 desert race and the ’69 Baja 1000, but failed to finish either.
The car did apparently go on to win the ’69 Baja 500 and race into the 1970s, though.
Now that Glickenhaus’ version is running and driving, here’s hoping it will accomplish the herculean feat of earning earnest 50-state street-legal status in the U.S. and also being able to finish the Baja 1000 before the race clock runs out. I’m still skeptical, but, excited to see it’s being tried.