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By now, you all know that the International Scout SUV is returning. Volkswagen is poised to begin production of the all-electric Scout in 2025. But for now, it needs to get the Scout back into the car buyers’ crosshairs. So it is fielding a 1970s Scout to return to compete in the fabled Mexican 1000 this year. 

Why enter a vintage Scout?

Scout Baja 1000
1972 NOORA Baja 1000 | Scout Racing

To that end, it is prepping a vintage 1976 Scout Terra, the pickup truck version of the Scout SUV, for a return after a 50-year absence. Wow, 50 years! The NORRA Mexican 1000 race is a historic, off-road race that pounds participating vehicles. Winning is a marketing coup manufacturers can build advertising around for years.

“Off-road racing serves as a proving ground for American automotive die-hards,” said Scout Motors CEO Scott Keogh. “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.” 

What powers the Baja 1000 Scout?

2023 Baja 1000
2023 Baja 1000 entry | Scout Motors

The NORRA Mexican 1000 is a way to connect to the Scout’s past, and to its future owners. It’s also a way to lay a foundation for the return of the Scout. Vintage Scout retailers Anything Scout, and owner Sean Barber, is part of the collaboration. He says, “The idea was to keep it simple, keep it strong, and keep it Scout. This is what Scouts are made to do.”

Now, while you may think the Terra is running an LS engine, or maybe an EV system plucked out of a current VW, you’d be wrong. Propelling this through the Baja desert is an International 195ci four-cylinder engine. Hooked to it is a four-speed manual transmission. The back end spins a Dana 44 rear axle with alloy axle shafts. In turn, it spins General Grabber X3 35-inch off-road tires. 

When was the last factory-backed Scout?

1972 NOORA
1972 NOORA Baja 1000 | Scout Racing

The last entry of a factory-backed Scout competing in the NORRA Mexican 1000 was in 1982. Then, Sherman Balch and James Acker won the race. So, if Volkswagen is all-in on its Scout EV and the brand itself, it’s time to capitalize on the successes of the past to telegraph its future intentions. That’s what it is doing. 

For us enthusiasts, nothing could be better. Racing, whether electric- or gas-powered, will be as motivating a factor for sales as it has ever been. So while racing enthusiasts lament the demise of gas-powered engines, electrification is ramping up. 

This year, the NORRA Mexican 1000 starts in Ensenada on April 30 through May 4, when it ends in San Jose del Cabo.


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