She may have never finished higher than 37th place (in a Chrysler Saratoga in 1952), but I have huge respect for anyone that attempted to tackle the mighty Carrera Panamericana. Jacqueline Evans, however, was not content to just do the race once. Ms. Evans was a piloto at every year of the Carreras running—from 1950 to 1954.
Arguably it was the 1953 race with her behind the wheel of the Eva Peron tribute Porsche 356 for which she’s most remembered. The car is certainly among the most famous liveries of the period. With its vibrantly painted portrait of the recently deceased First Lady of Argentina. Although she ran overtime which resulted in her disqualification in the race she is among the most photographed racers that year. Whether it was because of the exotic livery, the relative novelty of a woman racer, or because she just looked so very cool is anyone’s guess… but I’m sure glad she was.
En representacion de las mujeres del mundo indeed.
Christian sent in this photo of his Lincoln, “La Bestia” tackling the mighty Carrera Panamericana. Even in its modern interpretation, the Carrera is no joke and participants tend to be of one of two camps: Those that just had to do it once—and after a week of grueling conditions wonder what made them do this treacherous thing—and those that return year after year ready for more. Christian is the latter, and that deserves some props, don’t you think?
I love sharing photos of readers’ cars, guys. Keep ’em coming: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s a shame that the original patron and pilot who owned these armbands aren’t identified. Whoever they were, I’m a little surprised that the driver’s identification is in better shape than the sponsor’s. I would imagine that 1,910 miles of Mexican road dust would shred that piece of fabric during the race, but here it is looking damned good 60 years later. (The auction lists it as a “sponsor” armband, but I’ve also seen “patrocinador” used to mean “team owner”.)
Buy it now at $1,995. Sounds expensive to me too, but when are you going to see another one of these—let alone two of them?
Along with the map and video from earlier today, here are some photos from the 1966 or 67 road races held on the temporary street circuit along the beach in Tijuana. There’s some street action with the Formula Vees entering turn one at the end of the long beachside straight, the drivers in the production class lining up for their LeMans start, and some track shots of some MGAs and Sprites. Excellent stuff here.
Now that looks like a happy bunch of drivers.
La Carrera Panamericana 2009 is set to start in a few short days. While most of us won’t be making the trip, Coop will be photoblogging from the road. He’s already begun with photos of the trip down to Huatulco for the start. Head on over to his blog for updates over the next several days. Have a great race, Coop.
Coop’s a veteran of a few Carreras. Check out his photos from his previous races.
Update: Coop made it safely back and has hundreds of photos on his Flickr stream.
Diving back into the wonderful bounty of Life Magazine images hosted by Google, we find this puzzling shot. The Life caption says this is the winner of the Carrera crossing the finish line—which isn’t true. That’s Jean Behra, crossing the finish line, but he didn’t win. His #7 Gordini T24 was ultimately disqualified from the official standings because he exceeded the maximum allowable time. Even after finishing so far behind the overall winner that his time is irrelevant, I’m impressed that there’s still quite a crowd gathered at the finish line to welcome him home.
I don’t point out this captioning error to diminish Behra’s achievement. Simply finishing the Carrera was an incredible accomplishment. We often hear of the difficulty in learning the 45 mile Targa Florio circuit. We’ve long been regaled with tales of the twisting motorways of the Mille Miglia. The Carrera Panamericana, however, looks like it was something else entirely. It dwarfed all of these epic races with a run distance of 2,176 miles. Two Thousand Miles. So you can see, despite the disqualificiation, Jean Behra should be immensely proud of crossing that finish line at all. Google has more of the Life photos from the Carrera that year, oddly they largely focus on portraits of a competitor’s wife – maybe the photographer had a crush.
1953, of course, was Lancia’s year at the Carrera. Fangio and Bronzoni piloted the winning D24 Pinin Farina to a winning time of 18 hours: 11 minutes. That’s an absolutely astounding 120 mph average for 18 hours!
Here’s a quick video recap of the short life of the Carrera Panamericana (before it’s contemporary resurgence as a rally, that is).
also, Replicarz offers a 1:18 scale reproduction of Behra’s Gordini for your desk.
See more of our selections from the Life Vaults here.