The last Pan American -Mexican Road Race was run in 1954 and, as in the previous year, Mobiloil sponsored a beautiful color 28-minute film that tells the story of the race and promotes the Mobil-sponsored Lincoln entries. Altogether five classes of cars were entered, with a new class, the European Sports, being added to the four other classes from the previous year: Big Sports (mostly Ferrari and Jaguar), Small Sports (mostly Porsche and OSCAs), Big Stocks (Buick, Lincoln and Cadillac), and Small Stocks (Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, and Studebaker). Perhaps the most interesting and definitely the most popular car of all (as it was in '53) is Ak Miller's Hot Rod Special that charms the crowds and once again amazes the fans with its outstanding performance.
Shown before the grueling 1,908 mile,
five-day race are drivers and mechanics Chuck Stevenson, Johnny
Mantz, Bill Vukovich, Jack McGrath, Chuck Daigh, Piero Taruffi and
C.D. Evans. In the early dawn of Day 1, cars and drivers are shown
leaving Tuxtla Gutierrez and heading north toward the mountains
to Oaxaca. In this DVD you'll see the Porsche of Jaroslav Juhan,
Walt Faulkner and Chuck Stevenson in the big Lincolns and Tommy
Drisdale's Dodge #226 all leaving the starting line on their long
journey. C.D. Evans even has time to sign an autograph as he waits
to depart in his blue Dodge #217! On the road to the mountains you'll
see great air views of the cars at speed on the road: Octavio Anza
in his Ford, Manuel Munoz's red Buick Roadmaster and the silver
Porsche of Juhan. After only 200 miles, Jack McAfee's red Ferrari
slid off the road, killing his co-driver Ford Robinson. The crash
scene is shown in this video. Cameras are strategically located
along the winding roads in the mountains and catch the cars flying
around the hazardous turns: Phil Hill's white Ferrari with Luigi
Chinetti's red #24 right on his tail, Yuyo Mariscal's Buick Century
and the Fords of Andres Ferreno and Oscar Calaben, both of Argentina.
At the first Lincoln pit stop 217 miles north of the start, Walt
Faulkner is shown in for service (4 tires in 3 ½ minutes). Ferrari
driver Phil Hill beats Umberto Maglioli into Oaxaca, as both cars
are shown flashing across the finish line at 100+ MPH only inches
from the crowd of fans! Ak Miller's Hot Rod is shown next and Faulkner
leads the Lincoln contingent. Work is only allowed on the cars for
one hour after arrival before they are impounded for the night.
Work is shown being done on Anza's Ford and Ray Elliott's Dodge
Nice closeups are shown of Phil Hill, Maglioli, Faulkner and Ford driver Mickey Thompson as the cars line up to leave on Day 2 and the trip to Puebla and on to Mexico City. Again, camera shots from above show the cars at speed on the road, including Maglioli, Phil Hill and Faulkner, plus in-car camera shots of the road ahead thru the windshield give a good feel for the race. Maglioli beats Hill into Mexico City, with Ray Crawford now leading the big stocks. The biggest cheers of the day however are for two Mexicans, Fernando Maciel and his co-driver, who push their stalled Buick the last two miles to the finish line, then are carried away exhausted!
It is during Day 3 that cameras set up at a tricky curve between Leon and Zacatecas catch the spinout of Jorge Sorai's light blue Chevy. This is the site of Mickey Thompson's wreck and his smashed Ford is shown, as well as a couple other hair-raising skids. From the ancient aqueduct at Zacatecas Phil Hill, Crawford, Faulkner, Juhan, Consalvo Sanesi's Alfa, Moises Solana's Dodge, and C.D. Garcilazo's Studebaker are all shown as they zoom through town. Out on the open road to Durango, American Tommy Drisdale takes the small stock lead in his Dodge V-8. Ray Elliott's Dodge and Scott Yantis' Studebaker are also shown. Ray Crawford's Lincoln is shown roaring into Durango with the big Stock lead at the end of the third day of racing.
On Day 4 cars shown during the 437-mile trip to Chihuahua include Ray Elliott, Ak Miller and Crawford, whose co-driver waves out the window at the photo plane during spectacular overhead shots of the cars out on the open road! As the cars pull into Chihuahua Hill trails Maglioli in the first place battle of the Ferrari's. Only 87 of the 149 cars who started the race are still running.
The final day is a speed run over mostly straight roads north to Ciudad Juarez on the Rio Grande River. Maglioli sets the pace at up to 175 MPH over the 222-mile final leg. Hill and Ak Miller are shown as well as Argentine driver Tony de Rosa's spinout in his #117 Lincoln, with Ramiro Aguilar's Dodge close behind. The fans help push the rolled Lincoln back onto the road and de Rosa continues on to finish the race 11th in Big Stocks! Umberto Maglioli is the over all winner, taking home $18,000 first place money and crossing the finish line at Juarez with a record setting average of 107 MPH for the entire 5-day distance! Phil Hill's white Ferrari is second. Next come the Small Sports cars, with Hans Harrmann of Germany just edging out Guatemalan driver Jaroslav Juhan for first place. Both cars flash across the finish line side by side! Ray Crawford and Walt Faulkner make it a 1-2 sweep of the Big Stock class for Lincoln, the third year in a row that Lincolns have won the Big Stock class. Two Cadillacs finish next, with Keith Andrews and Ed Stringer 3rd. and 4th respectively. Alfa Romeos finish 1-2-3 to sweep the European Stock class. After the race, the two top Alfa drivers, Consalvo Sanesi and Sergio Montovani, both of Italy are shown in their cars. Dodges come in 1-2-3-4 to sweep the Small Stocks class. First place finisher Tommy Drisdale and C.D. Evans, both U.S. drivers, are shown following the race. Finally, but still ahead of the Volkswagens, comes the battered Lincoln of Tony de Rosa. After the race, nice closeups show several drivers, including Maglioli, Hill, Chuck Stevenson, Walt Faulkner, Ak Miller and Italy's great Piero Taruffi in his Ford 6 (8th in Small Stocks).
Besides the cars and drivers already
mentioned in this description, many more are shown throughout the
DVD, such as Joacquin Palacios's Pegaso Z102BS, Porfirio Rubirosa's
red Ferrari, the Buicks of Riva Palacio, and Mexicans Pat Zoccano
and Luis Solares (top finishing Buick), the Packard of Jean Trevoux
of France, and Louis Chiron's OSCA MT4, Mexican driver Fernando
Murphy's #104 Lincoln, Roberto Belmar's Studebaker, the Porsche
of Fernando Segura and the Alfa Romeo's of Piero Carini and Mario
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)
"RARE SPORTSFILMS N",
1126 Tennyson Lane,
Naperville, IL 60540