Track Map of the Past: la Carrera Pinar del Rio

Reader Photos: Back to Havana

A few weeks ago we were fortunate to receive a handful of photos from racing driver Mandy Alvarez of the Cuban road racing scene experienced as a child in Cuba. Our luck has grown, because Mandy has dug back into the archives for another round of marvelous shots of racing on the island.

With Fangio kidnapped by the revolutionaries, it fell to Maurice Trintignant to take the driver’s seat in Juan Manuel’s Maserati. He finished 11th. It’s hard to imagine climbing into the racing seat, now knowing the fate of your teammate, but the show must go on.

At the ’57 Grand Prix Alfonso de Portago (#12) passes Juan Manuel Fangio (#2). Fangio later took the lead—and the race—when de Portago pitted and was unable to continue. Man, do those street lamps look awfully close. It’s photos like this that remind us that drivers were a whole magnitude of bravery higher than we see today. Even Monaco is surrounded by walls for the weekend.

Fangio and Bertochi on the Saturday of the 1958 GP (prior to the kidnapping)

Left to right: Guarino Bertochi, Fangio's mechanic. Juan Manuel Fangio. Porfirio Rubirosa. Wolfgang Von Tripps. Unknown gentleman with mustache. Unknown young man,possibly one of Batista's sons. Presidente Fulgencio Batista.

Testa Rossas lined up and ready

Eugenio Castelotti pushed to the grid

Thanks again, Mandy!

We’d always excited to share more reader photos with Chicane readers. Drop us a line at

Reader Photos: Cuba ’57-’59

Mandy Alvarez wrote in with some photos he took as a boy in Cuba, and with stories to boot!

“On the 1954 Buick century #20: That was a brand new car owned by Vaillant Motors the Buick distributor for the complete island. Mr. Vaillant was a good friend of my father Raul Alvarez del Corral, and sold him the car right after the race. The car had simple modifications: Lowering springs, open exhaust and they removed the wheel coves. It had the “nail head” 322 cubic inch V8 engine.

It ran in one of three or four annual road rally races held every year, something very similar to La Carrera Panamericana. This one was from Sagua La Grande to La Habana (Havana) a 310 kilometers race. The Buick was victorious in the stock car category covering the distance in 2hs 13 min 14 sec averaging 136.907 kph. The field consisted of 37 cars ranging from Oldsmobile, Dodge, Lincoln,Chrysler, Hudson Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford,Mercury one Panhard and the Buick. The driver was Jose Salazar Cubillas.”

This is the grid from a support race for the 1957 Gran Premio de Cuba. Mandy says,

“This picture was taking in Havana, Cuba on the Saturday before the 1957 Cuban GP (won by Fangio). This is the start of one the four national races held. #70 a 1957 Buick Special won this particular event. The driver Albelardo Carreras.”

Mandy’s lifelong passion for motorsports started early, and he went on to race himself in SCCA, IMSA, and FIA sanctioned events, including an appearance at the Daytona 24 Hours race. Below are several other photos from the 1957 and 1958 Cuban GPs, and other Cuban races taken before he left the island in the wake of the revolution.

Thanks for sending these in, Mandy!

We’d love to share more reader photos with Chicane readers. Drop us a line at