The 2012 Carrera Panamericana in Mexico

This October, around 100 vintage road and race cars will line up in southern Mexico to race 1600 miles north across the country.  It is seven days of racing time trials over paved roads, through some of the most beautiful countryside. 

The race was resurrected in 1988, this modern day event is border-to-border sports car racing on open roads in Mexico, similar to the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio. The original race ran from 1950 to 1954 and was regarded as the most dangerous road race in the world. The terrain was rough, without guardrails and on occasions flat-out down the long straights of the new Panamericana Highway.

In 1952 Ferrari built three special coupes called the the 340 Mexico to take on the Mercedes-Benz team that used the powerful 300SL. An ex-Ascari Ferrari 340 Mexico sold recently at auction for $3,685,000. Another Ferrari 340 Mexico sold for $4,290,000 showing the importance of the race and its historical significance.

Porsche enjoyed success in the Carrera Panamericana, mainly class wins. A Porsche 550 Spyder won the Small Sports Car category in 1953. Some Porsche road cars have been named after the famous race, these include the Carrera and the 4 door touring Panamerica. Similarly, the Porsche Targas is named after the Targa Florio.

The world’s top drivers of the 1950’s came to compete including Phil Hill, Juan Manuel Fangio, and NASCAR legends Hershel McGriff. The race was canceled in the mid 50’s but has since been resurrected as a classic road rally.

Every night the race stops in a different city. Expenses will vary greatly from entrant to entrant, some make it to the start line for around $24,000 although this will only go upwards.