As a speed addict, Steve McQueen raced such a machine on several occasions

If you happen to be a fan of Steve McQueen and a petrolhead (sometimes these two are intertwined) then you surely know the man used to hoon a Baja Boot every now and then. His first appearance in the wacky off-roader happened during the 1968 Stardust 7-11 race, a 320-mile liver-punching off-road spree that allowed the participation of both cars and motorbikes. Without possessing the status of the Dakar Rally, Stardust 7-11 didn’t lack the element of danger as it crossed the Amargosa desert. But Steve McQueen’s middle name was danger so there he was, steering a Chevy-powered 450-horsepower contraption that leaned on a space frame architecture, sent power on all four corners, and abused sand dunes with an independent suspension setup. Five decades later, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus brought the Baja Boot back with a modern twist.

The SCG Baja Boot

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus announced plans to build a reinterpretation of McQueen’s Baja Boot back in 2018 but the topic has been surrounded by silence ever since. However, a couple of Instagram posts uploaded by the company’s official account made our interest pique. So we went further and investigated the matter and we’re happy to report that SCG is keeping its promise, fellas. Not that we expected any different, but it’s nice to see carmakers (small or large) going for the “my word is my bond” creed. Unlike Fisker, who’s been announcing new cars way faster than it actually manages to launch them.

Now, back in 2018, SCG said it would come up with two versions of the Baja Boot: a two-door soft top and the road-legal race derivative. Each was set up differently from the other, given different purposes, yet even the mildest iteration would make for a cracking machine thanks to a 460-horsepower LT1 V-8 engine married to a GM-sourced 4L80-E gearbox.

Power would go to all four 17-inch Method Race wheels shod in BFGoodrich Mud/Terrain KM3 tires kept.

An independent suspension setup with up to 19 inches of travel and Fox coilovers would handle the rough terrain while stopping power was touted to come from a Wilwood braking system with DynaPro calipers and flying-saucer-sized 12-inch (30.4 centimeters) rotors. But that’s the road-focused version.

Steve McQueen Would Be Proud of SCG's Baja Boot Exterior
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SCG 2-Door Road Baja Boot Specs
Wheelbase 116 in
Width 84 in
Weight 5,200 lb/2,358 kg (estimate)
Power 460 hp
Suspension travel 19 in
Fuel capacity 45 gallons
Range 400 miles highway/200-300 miles off-road

The racy version of the Baja Boot, the one that’s supposed to take on Baja 1000 is a different story. It’s not only wider at 88 inches (as opposed to 84 inches) when fitted with a race suspension setup that allows an even greater travel (22 inches instead of 19 inches), but also a lot more powerful.

Instead of the 460-horsepower LT1, SCG went for a fully blown 650-horsepower LT4 V-8 twinned to a race-prep Turbo 400 gearbox.

The carmaker also managed to bring the buggy’s weight down to an estimate of 4,900 lb (2,222 kilos). Sure, that’s still as heavy as a modern full-size SUV but with the newfound grunt, proper brakes (rotor size has gone up to 14 inches), and chunky BFGoodrich Baja T/A KR2 tires, we’re in no doubt that the SCG Boot will give Baja 1000 a run for its money.

Steve McQueen Would Be Proud of SCG's Baja Boot Exterior
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SCG 2-Door Race Baja Boot Specs
Wheelbase 116 in
Width 88 in
Weight 4,900 lb/2,222 kg (estimate)
Power 650 hp
Suspension travel 22 in
Fuel capacity TBA
Range 400-500 racing miles

Final Thoughts

Steve McQueen Would Be Proud of SCG's Baja Boot Exterior
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Now, let’s recap the story. SCG promised it would launch the Baja Boot somewhere in 2019 and it looks like that’s already taken care of. Moreover, this year’s Baja 1000 race takes place between November 19 and November 24, so technically, there’s enough time for SCG to finish the project, get it over with the proof of concept and pre-competition testing, and finally enter the contraption in the famous off-road race.

Even if, let’s say, that doesn’t happen, the idea of such a vehicle can easily transcend motorsport purposes and materialize elsewhere. There’s absolutely no reason why such a concept wouldn’t make an apt rescue/exploration vehicle that can get to remote places faster than anything else that rides on wheels. But for now, we’ll sit back and see how SCG’s Baja 1000 efforts will pan out.

What do you think?
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