View Full Version : As we approach the start of the La Carrera PanAmericana...

10-11-2017, 12:47 PM
Studebaker Heaven, as the guys warm up....(from the 2016 race)


Now you know where a lot of the '53-54's are....

Commander Eddie
10-11-2017, 01:55 PM
Awesome! That just made my day. I look forward to this race every year and marvel at the number of Studebakers that run in it. They practically dominate this race. Is it the aerodynamics?

Chris Pile
10-11-2017, 04:32 PM
It's the sex appeal.

10-11-2017, 05:38 PM
Or the cubic inches, most of it is at altitude...

10-11-2017, 07:20 PM
Tech inspection ( I like the subtle flares on the white one..)

10-11-2017, 08:11 PM
Awesome SOUNDS! :!:

Dick Steinkamp
10-11-2017, 09:14 PM
This is the year I check this one off the bucket list. I'm flying to Guadalajara Saturday and will be in Morelia Saturday night and Sunday. I'll follow the race through Zacatecas but then I have to head home. Can we hook up?


10-11-2017, 10:08 PM
That was wicked awesome ! ! ! !

t walgamuth
10-12-2017, 06:12 AM
Apparently the rules call for a sedan manufactured when the original carrera was being run with nearly stock body. The 53s are the lightest and most aerodynamic cars that fit the rules, I am guessing. Love it!

I'd love to run the modern Carrera but the course is so dangerous I am afraid I'd get killed even if trying to drive very safely.

10-12-2017, 10:55 AM
This is the year I check this one off the bucket list. I'm flying to Guadalajara Saturday and will be in Morelia Saturday night and Sunday. I'll follow the race through Zacatecas but then I have to head home. Can we hook up?

Dick, I'm jealous as hell that you're going, I'm stuck in SoCal. I'd love to hook up, cause I'm sure these are built exactly like ours.....
Those fellows in the video had their build documented on facebook, and it's got more in common with a NASCAR racecar than a stock vehicle. Regardless, they're the car to beat. If I'm not mistaken, there are various classes that let you run the updated ones, and classes that let you run what was race-prepped in the day (except for modern safety equipment).

Dick Steinkamp
10-12-2017, 11:21 AM
Sorry you can't make it this year. There is always next year. :!: I'll see if I have enough time and expertise to live blog what i see. If not, I'll at least make a report.

Here's a piloto's view from inside the Stude...


10-12-2017, 12:27 PM
I've been 3 times. In 2001 I rode a motorcycle from Minnesota to Zacatecas to watch the last 2 days of racing. Raced a '57 Olds in 2003 and a '54 Olds in 2006. Here's my quick advice:
1. Don't drink anything unless it comes out of a bottle you see opened. Especially don't drink anything with ice in it. I saw 2 drivers and their support crews nearly unable to finish the race when they got sick before the first day of the race. They suspected it was ice in the drinks from BK. I practically live on the apple soda during the race. I avoid street food vendors as well. Bimbo and other packaged food brands at gas stations can be a life-saver.
2. When I walk into the hotel room the first thing I do is throw a washcloth over the faucet in the bathroom so I don't accidentally use it to brush my teeth.
3. Zacatecas is at 7500 feet and La Bufa is at 8500. You'll feel it. If you can hook up with a support group you can get a ride out to watch the day's stage. Really worth it. Also be very careful when walking. That town and the area above the race course is a broken ankle waiting to happen (I have literally seen it happen). On the plus side, there are beautiful silver trinkets available for gifts to the wife. Make sure you get into the tour around town but be careful not to drink too much moonshine mescal. Some fellows from MN did that rather than work on their clutch and had to drop out on the last day of racing.
4. The main traffic control device in the small towns you drive through is the Tope (speed bump). Treat them with respect or you will be VERY sorry (seen this happen, too).

Have fun and show us some pictures!

Dick Steinkamp
10-12-2017, 02:53 PM
Thanks, Bob.

I'll be with a good friend who lives in the Aquascalientes area. He is quite familiar with the race and knows several of the drivers and service crews. We have passes to some of the drivers meetings and will get up close to some of the nightly service and repair activities. We'll be on course for some of the speed stages. I'll stay away from those items you list...I didn't watch it closely enough in India and I don't want a repeat of that experience! :(. (Cerveza is always a good substitute for water ;))

I wish you were racing this year. That would make it even more interesting.

BTW, we missed the Pt Townsend Wooden Boat Show this year, but being big John Stenibeck fans have been over to Pt Townsend several times to keep track of the restoration of the Western Flyer (http://westernflyer.org/).

10-13-2017, 09:21 AM
Think this is from this year’s...

10-16-2017, 08:07 PM
Either day three or day four...

10-16-2017, 11:58 PM
Day four:

10-17-2017, 08:30 PM
Thank you! It appears that at least one is a Starliner/K body and not a Starlight/C body.

From day 8, it looks like at least two Starliners.

10-17-2017, 11:21 PM
Day 8:

10-22-2017, 08:55 PM
And the Stude wins another one...

Dick Steinkamp
10-22-2017, 11:03 PM
Studebaker finishes 1-2-3-4-5.


I got back from Mexico last night. What a fantastic event and experience! I'll try to organize my pictures and videos and post more later.

34 Dictator at the end of a speed stage out of Morelia (Sunday).


Here are the cars arriving in Guanajuato (Monday) at the end of the day's stages...


Cars being serviced in La Congoja (Wednesday). The cars have just raced 16 kilometers up a mountain road from 6,000' to 8,000'. The crews have one hour to service the cars before they race back down the same road.


10-23-2017, 06:15 AM
Dick, would you have any interest in submitting a coverage story to Turning Wheels? With so many Studes in this race, I’m surprised it hasn’t ever gotten any attention within the club.

10-23-2017, 11:32 AM
For those interested in seeing what it's like being in a 700 hp Studebaker competing in La Carrera PanAmericana, see this NBC sports show with Studebaker coverage starting around minute four.


Commander Eddie
10-23-2017, 11:32 AM
Top 5 spots again? Dang!

Ron Strasser
10-23-2017, 12:01 PM
Do any of the 12 Studebakers entered have a Studebaker engine. Or are they all Chevrolet's with custom under carriages.

10-23-2017, 12:06 PM
For those interested in seeing what it's like being in a 700 hp Studebaker competing in La Carrera PanAmericana, see this NBC sports show with Studebaker coverage starting around minute four.


I quit when he called a 1954 Mercury, a Ford Falcon. I may go back when I have sufficient time.

Dick Steinkamp
10-23-2017, 12:13 PM
I no longer belong to the SDC. I haven't for several years now. I had many many excellent experiences belonging to the SDC. Great times! My interests kept developing and changing, however (that durn short attention span ;)). I continue to have a place in my heart for all things Studebaker and for the good friends I made while an SDC member. I'm quite thankful there was an SDC when I was in that phase of my "car life". My recent past projects and my current project (SBC in a 914 Porsche) don't have much Studebaker content :D. I will ask Ann if an article on the Carrera would be interesting to her readers and if a non member can contribute. I'd be happy to write one if that's the case.

Keep in mind there is very little Studebaker in these cars (maybe none). The top cars in this race are pretty much NASCAR underneath. The engines are 360 CID Chevys built by the same shops that provide engines for winning NASCAR cars. A smaller carb detunes them from 850 HP in NASCAR trim to about 650. The altitude detunes them even more :ohmy:. Here's the altimiter on my iPhone at one of the speed sections we attended in Mil Cumbres...


While custom and modified cars are allowed in the SDC, I think it is a relatively fringe aspect of the club and the Carrera may not be interesting enough to the majority of members to warrant space in TW.

A car is about $200,000 to construct. Add that again for spares, a support vehicle and crew, entrance fees, transport, expenses, etc. Probably out of reach for the SDC to sponsor the whole shooting match. However, I'll bet one or more of the cars would be proud to carry a Studebaker Drivers Club decal...maybe even for free.

10-24-2017, 12:28 PM
Always glad to hear from you, Dick, and I still watch your Youtube video(s). I am a big fan of the Carrerra Panamericana and I was given honorary citizenship in Acapulco a couple of years ago. My 55K is on the road and my 54C will be there next year. I always dreamed of driving one or both through Mexico to Acapulco. I took the bus once from Mexico City to Acapulco and the scenery is spectacular. I'm fearful of being shot out from under them (lol) and would love to travel with other Stude folk. Do you know of an other Studebaker folk that would make a trip like that and maybe watch some of the race?

Dick Steinkamp
10-24-2017, 02:52 PM
My buddy that lives in Aguascalientes is a Stude guy. We took two of his Studes to La Congoja on Wednesday to watch the finish of one speed stage, the servicing of the cars, and the start of another speed stage...


The car directly in front is a beautifully restored 53 Champion Starliner. The one in front of that is an original rust free 53 Commander Starlight. I went to Mexico with three long time friends...an Oldsmobile guy, a Porsche guy, and a Chevy guy. They are almost as much fun as Stude guys ;)

10-25-2017, 07:47 AM
Absolutely envious. That would be a trip of a lifetime. I'll have to do some more snooping around to see if I can do some advance connecting and try that myself. Thank you so much.

10-25-2017, 12:23 PM
Thanks to everyone for all the terrific Studebaker posts. What an event. Did you notice the lack of (except for a 56 Pontiac) other representation from Ford, Chevrolet, Plymouth etc.? Sure they could use any other body on the Nascar underpinnings but they didn't.
We should all treasure what great special cars we all represent.
Thanks again for all the contributions for us dreamers.

Dick Steinkamp
10-25-2017, 02:29 PM
Plenty of other makes in the race. About 20 60's Mustangs and Falcons, a flock of 356 and 911 Porsches, a gaggle of BMWs, 1 Dodge Dart, a couple 54 Mercurys, 2 VW bugs, C2 Corvette, 1st gen Camaro, Mercedes sedan, Opel, Datsun 510 and 240Z, Buick, a 54 Olds (won overall in 2013), Mazda rotary, MGA...a good variety.

There are 11 classes. What you generally hear about are the top cars (Turismo Mayor). This is where the Studes rule. In addition to the Studebakers, there was a Pontiac, a Dodge, a Buick, an Olds, and a Mercury in that class.

I'm real interested in WHY Studes are so popular in the top class. I really doubt if it is due to the slippery shape...which is obvious compared to other 1940-1954 cars that would qualify for the class. Top speed is governed to 145 MPH but there are very few straights (if any) that speeds close to this would be obtained. It could be that they are just far more attractive than any other car in the age group (spoken like a true Stude supporter :))

10-25-2017, 05:20 PM
Thanks for the pictures and the color, Dick, makes me feel like I was there as well. Personally, I think the slick shape doesn't hurt, but I think the longer wheelbase may be a positive factor as well. Having a fairly well-developed engine doesn't hurt either, though I'd really like to see how they set it up to run at that altitude.

Dick Steinkamp
10-25-2017, 06:55 PM
Could be the wheelbase, but others had a similar wheelbase ('54 Olds 88 122"). My good buddy who lives in the area knows Doug Mockett who is the 75+ year old driver of the 54 Olds that won in 2013. We happened to be eating dinner in the same restaurant Sunday night. My friend introduced us to Doug who is a perfect gentleman. He spent a lot of time with us patiently answering our questions. I asked him about the altitude. He said they just rejet the carb. They do this often depending on the stage. We observed his team rejeting at a service at 8,000' for a run down the mountain to 6,000'. They all (must) run 600CFM Holleys. Relatively easy to rejet if you have some good bowl gaskets ;). There may be some internal changes also (CR, camshafts, etc) but I didn't push my question.

BTW, all the drivers, navigators, and service crews are approachable and eager to talk about the race, their cars, etc. No big egos to stroke. Just car guys having fun!

10-25-2017, 10:17 PM
Dick Steinkamp, reading through these posts, the V-8 914 Porsche comment caught my eye. There is a pal that lives over here (used to drive fuel altereds) that has 2 of those. One is a hopped up 283, the other one bigger cubes, but I don't remember which.. He drives them just like normal cars, but are they ever sleepers ! He tried the Hilo drag strip one time, but they banned him after one run for running in the 9's without safety equipment, ha ! Neat fellow, nice little cars, and he was wanting to sell one of them a while back. If you want any info, I'll tell him to contact you, or ask if you can contact him.

10-26-2017, 11:07 AM
Thanks for your clarification and further dissertation.

Dick Steinkamp
10-26-2017, 05:50 PM
Thanks, John.

Actually I have the semi tricky part done...the installation of the engine and cooling system. Renegade Hybrids (http://www.renegadehybrids.com/) in Nevada is the "go to" company for all things V8/Porsche. They supply a kit to relocate the water pump from the front of the engine to the side and to move the engine/transaxle back 1 1/4". Kennedy Engineering (https://www.kennedyeng.com/) makes the engine/transaxle adapter, flywheel, super duty clutch, etc. The engine is in and ready to roll as soon as I get an exhaust system fabricated (think bundle of snakes :))






Back to the subject of this thread, Ann would like an article on la Carrera Panamericana, so I'll punch something out in the next couple of weeks and get it to her.