28-minute film of the 4th Carrera Panamericana has been digitally
restored by "Rare Sportsfilms" and is now available on high-quality
color DVD for the first time ever!
From 1950 to 1954, the famous "Pan American-Mexican Road Race" was truly one of the great races of the world. Cancelled after five years running mainly because of the loss of life (26 were killed, mostly bystanders), the 1953 edition was the bloodiest, with nine fatalities. Although no actual wrecks are shown, you'll see the aftermath of the Felice Bonetto crash.
Divided into four classes of cars (Large & Small Sports cars, and Large & Small Stocks), the 1953 "Run For The River" begins in Tuxtla Gutierrez Mexico, continues north through Mexico in eight stages over a period of five days, and ends near the Rio Grande River at Ciudad Juarez after a total of 1,912 grueling miles! This film follows mostly the Lincoln contingent of Johnny Mantz, Chuck Stevenson, Walt Faulkner and Jack McGrath. The Big Stock class also includes Cadillac, Buick, Chrysler, Olds and Mercury. The Small Stock class (115 HP Max) consists mostly of Fords and Chevys. The Large Sports class includes Lancias and Ferrari's, and the Small Sports class is mostly Porsche. However, the 1953 race will always be remembered for the Lincolns, which so completely dominated the Big Stock class. This video captures the spirit and exotic flavor of those great Pan Am days!
The color and excitement of the beginning of the long event are shown as the race gets underway in the early morning hours, with the Lancias of Piero Taruffi and Felice Bonetto shown running on the open road and in the mountains during the first day of the race. Small Sports cars shown leaving are Karl Kling's Porsche and Adolph Brudes' Borgward. Later the Chryslers of Bob Korf and Frank Mundy are seen in action. The unique roadside pit set up by the U.S. Lincoln team is shown during the first day and you'll see Stevenson and Faulkner driving in for tire changes. Bonetto and his Lancia win the first leg with a new record speed of over 94.9 MPH for the 329-mile first day.
In the morning, Bonetto and the Lancias depart and Jack McGrath leaves in his #95 Lincoln. "Ak" Miller's unique "Miller Special" is shown, and it becomes the most famous and popular entry in the race. That his "home-made hot rod" is still running at the end of the second day is considered by most fans, remarkable. Lancias lead the cars into Mexico City at the end of the second day, then Mantz, Stevenson and Faulkner arrive. Night work in the Lincoln garage area is shown on Stevenson's #52.
The third day begins with Bonetto shown leaving, but the veteran Italian driver loses his life when he crashes on leg four on the road into Leon.
During the fourth day's activities, the Lancias of Eugenio Castellotti and Taruffi are shown, along with Ak Miller's car and the Lincoln garage at Parral. At the end of the day, Mantz and Faulkner in the Lincolns arrive in Chihuahua, 1-2.
The final leg from Chihuahua to Juarez is a flat and straight road and the big Lincolns are shown running at top speed. Spectacular shots from a small airplane flying alongside provide magnificent closeups of both the Lancias and the Lincolns. At one point, McGrath and Stevenson are racing side-by-side on the two-lane road! Mantz and Faulkner are also shown barreling along during this segment. During this run you'll see Louis Rosier's Talbot and Efrain Ruiz-Echevarria's Ferrari. Umberto Maglioti wins the last leg in his Ferrari, but Fangio's Lancia wins the overall Big Sports class. Mantz, Faulkner and McGrath arrive at the finish line in that order, but Chuck Stevenson wins the overall Big Stock class for the event. Great shots of Mantz, Stevenson, McGrath and Faulkner after the race! "Ak" Miller is shown coming into Juarez 12th overall, and C.D. Evans, in his pale blue '53 Chevy, wins the Small Stock class. The Lancias of Fangio, Taruffi and Castellotti sweep the top three positions and seven of the first nine Big Stocks finishing were Lincolns!
You can get your own color copy of
this historic race now available on high-quality DVD only from Rare
Sportsfilms! Send only $29.95 + $4.00 shipping & handling. (Illinois
residents add $2.00 tax to:
"RARE SPORTSFILMS N",
1126 Tennyson Lane,
Naperville, IL 60540