The last time Scout Motors backed a team in a race, E.T. the Extra Terrestrial was the biggest movie of the year and the late, great Olivia Newton-John was encouraging everyone, “Let’s get physical.” That was 1982, when Sherman Balch and James Acker driving a Super Scout II won their class in the race 1982 Pernod-SCORE International Baja 1000. International Harvester had stopped producing Scouts two years earlier, in fact, but hung in to help Balch and Acker win the Baja 250, Baja 500, Mint 400, and Parker 400 in 1982 as well. For the 41st anniversary of that win and as a signal of intent, the new Scout Motors returns to Baja with a vintage ancestor. Volkswagen’s all-electric off-road brand is backing restoration shop Anything Scout and its 1976 Terra pickup dubbed the Race Terra in this year’s NORRA Mexican 1000.
No, the Race Terra isn’t electric. That square snout hides a four-cylinder ICE. Scout Motors CEO Scott Keogh said, “Off-road racing serves as a proving ground for American automotive die-hards. The Baja peninsula, in particular, is the spiritual home for high performance off-road racing. As we build Scout Motors, it’s only fitting we start in Baja in classically proven trucks to capture the essence of Scout. From there, the NORRA Mexican 1000 is a chance for us to draw inspiration from Scout racing heritage and learn how to best inject future products with off-road DNA and rugged capability.”
Sean Barber, owner of Anything Scout and majordomo of the Anything Scout Vintage Racing Team, said, “We started building the Race Terra in late 2022 and quickly turned around a vintage style dirt-trouncing machine. The idea was to keep it simple, keep it strong, and keep it Scout.” resulting in a competition rig that’s been “tastefully restored to respect the vehicle’s original ingenuity.” In 1982, all the ingenuity a Terra needed was a 3.2-liter International Harvester four-cylinder. Said to be in stock form, that engine made 86 horsepower back in the day. Instead of the three-speed synchromesh manual transmission and 4.09 gears, the Race Terra fits a close-ratio four-speed manual shifting through 4.56 gears. Other upgrades include Dana 44 axles, a modern Baja suspension, and 33-inch General Grabber X3 tires.
Electric Scouts won’t start down lines until 2025. You can check out the vibe they’ll be going for when the Mexican 1000 starts April 30 in Ensenada, concluding May 4 in San Jose del Cabo. Keep your eye on the Legends Era 4×4 class, where the Race Terra will dice with entries like a 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer and a 1972 Ford Bronco.