View Full Version : Other: La Carrera Pan-America Road-racing

09-06-2012, 05:49 AM
I'm wondering if there's any PanAmerican racers here?
You know the racing that's located in Mexico & driven on ordinary roads.
I think it would be interesting to find out if there's any of them who's been modifying the front suspension for better handling instead of putting a completely different suspension in their old Studebaker.


Pat Dilling
09-06-2012, 09:39 AM
You might check here as well: http://racingstudebakers.com/

09-06-2012, 11:03 AM
I've done it twice -- once in a '57 Olds and most recently in 2006 in a '54 Olds. We took 3rd in the Original Pan Am class in '06. I also went down on year on a motorcycle to watch the last two days of the race from Zacatecas to Nuevo Laredo. I went across the desert at 125 miles per hour between Concepcion Del Oro and Monterrey and I was not catching up to the lead cars on the transit stage.

I don't think any of the Studebakers I ever saw were anything less than a Winston Cup car with a Studebaker body running in the Turismo Mayor class. And there were a lot of them. By the rules you need to keep a certain amount of the original frame for that class but for the most part they are all running something like a Mustang 2 suspension and extending the roll cage to make the frame quite rigid. One fellow did run a '53 in the Original Pan Am class but not one of the years I was down there so I never got a good look at it -- just pictures on the web but he was running the original suspension. You can tell what kinds of mods have been made by what class the car runs in. In Turismo Mayor most cars have a SBC 327, rack and pinion and the whole works. The problem with doing a modification to the front suspension or steering is that it immediately throws you into Turismo Mayor against some very, very fast machines. Original Pan Am requires a mostly stock car with upgrades only for the purposes of safety -- fuel cells, disk brake, that sort of thing. There was a documentary from a while back about some fellows that took what would have been an Original Pan Am car changed over to rack and pinion and they found themselves in the same boat.

I have a bunch of pictures around here somewhere...




You'll have to forgive the rather crappy picture software. I really ought to move them over the flickr....

Don Jeffers
09-06-2012, 02:03 PM
Thanks for the links.

I enjoyed the photos, every one of them. I do like seeing people enjoying life, and there is a lot of that in these photos.

Smiles came easily, lots of creative automotive art as the result of much thought and hard work. And the celebration of life at the end of the day. And I do know how much the Mexicanos appreciate automobiles.

Muchas gracias, Comandante Waltz.

09-06-2012, 04:31 PM
Pat, I'm usually at RacingStudebakers but it's sometimes difficult for me to post threads or even reply there, maby because I'm located in Europe, but yeah, sometimes it works.

It's just that I've been following the thread 'bout modifying the front suspension & then I thought "what about them PanAmerican-in-Mexico-racer-folx-with-all-their-winning-Studebakers?"

09-06-2012, 04:50 PM
I think the fellow who ran a '53 in the Original Pan Am class a few years back is around here somewhere. He must have made some minor within-the-rules upgrades like progressive rate springs and different shocks. And I'm sure he changed the stance of the car to get the nose down and his roll cage extended quite a way into the engine compartment so I bet the frame was much more rigid. I remember seeing pictures of the car as it was being constructed. It was a complete build from the ground up so he probably had new kingpins and all that, but he was restricted to the original design. The rules can be applied rather loosely -- so there is some leeway, but you can't put in an airbag suspension or anything, and you need to be able to negotiate the Topes (speed bumps) that act as the default traffic control device in every town you drive through. I've seen Porsches have to creep over them diagonally or risk high-centering. You need to run the original wheel size (i.e. 15 inch) and I think you are limited to 7 inches in width. You also have to run the same type of rearend that was stock -- so a Dana 44 would be acceptable (any ratio) but you couldn't convert it to a 4-link and stay in Original Pan Am. I've seen guys get reclassified for various infractions. The guys in the '53 ran a 289 -- technically illegal in Original Pan Am since that displacement wasn't available until after the '54 model year, but I'll bet there was nobody down there who could tell the difference between the various Stude V8's -- and it was still probably the smallest V8 in the class anyway.

09-07-2012, 01:46 AM
Thanks for the links.
Yes- I'll second that!!!

I also enjoyed those pics as well... :!!: