By on October 22, 2012

La Carrera Panamericana 2012 ran its third day yesterday, and we’ve got a report of a five-cars-over-a-cliff wreck during yesterday’s race segment ending in Querétaro.
TTAC’s correspondent in Mexico is Christine The Arc Angel, known to thousands of 24 Hours of LeMons racers as the woman who welds the barnyard animals to their cars after a bad-driving bout. She’ll be sending us photos and descriptions as cellphone service in rural Mexico permits; you can also keep up with the action by reading her blog.
Christine is serving as interpreter for Taz Harvey’s and Rudy Vajdak’s Datsun 510 team, which took the Class A Historic win for Sunday’s race session.
Here’s Doug Mockett’s amazing ’54 Olds, which you may recall hauling ass up the mountain at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb.
The hot topic in Santiago de Querétaro was the five-car crash that ate some very nice machinery. Here’s Christine’s account.
Paul Hladky and Adrian Gerrit in a Studebaker lost it on a corner and stopped , when a Porsche hit them and pushed them about a off the road on the hill. They were fine, until another Porsche lost it and hit the first Porsche, who hit the Studebaker and stuffed it down the rest of this small hill. But then, the story gets crazier. An Alfa driven by Trevor Pettennude and Joshua Finkleman spins out at the same turn and stops, both driver and navigator get out just in time to have a Mercedes lose it and hit their car, bringing the car collection at the bottom of the hill to a ridiculous toll of FIVE cars! Incredibly, everyone is fine, only one broken ankle to report.
Sadly, the first day of La Carrera claimed the life of Javier Dávalos Valenzuela, whose Studebaker rolled in Puerto del Aire.
It’s a shame for classic race cars to go out like that, but we’re sure at least a couple of them will be fixed up to race again. Meanwhile, the trophy girls are getting ready for tonight’s awards ceremonies in Morelia.

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8 Comments on “Carrera Panamericana Crash Destroys Studebaker, Porsches, Alfa, and a Benz; Everyone Survives...”

  • avatar

    “It’s a shame for classic race cars to go out like that”

    One of the six Shelby Daytona Coupes that exist went into the tire wall at Laguna Seca during the recent Monterey Motorsports Reunion. I’m pretty sure that anyone who does vintage racing understands the risk to their assets. Besides, race cars are wrecked and rebuilt all the time. It doesn’t appear to affect their value later on when they become collectibles.

    As an aside, speaking of repair and restoration, I was at the Packard Proving Grounds’ fall open house yesterday and in addition to a number of concours level (and winning in some cases) cars, there were also a number of really nice original condition cars from the 1950s and earlier. A ’36 Packard and a ’54 Ford stand out in my mind. I know it’s a cliche, but things are only original once and just about any professional restoration done in the last 20 years results in a car that’s in far better than original condition

    Marty Densch has done a couple of posts at Cars In Depth about a Mustang he’s been following, a barn find that turned out to be the original Boss 302 prototype, and it was also the personal car of Larry Shinoda, who designed the Boss package. The car is going to be restored in time for the Mustang’s 50th anniversary two years hence, because, as Marty puts it, it’s a complete mess, but those stripes on the side of the car are the first actual Boss stripes. It’s an interesting decision to make. Still, some of the restorations of one-of-one cars, like the concept cars in the collections of Joe Bortz and Steve Juliano, strike me as being a bit like “restoring” a painting of an old master by having a new artist paint over the original. Maybe that’s why so many people are fascinated by the “lake find” Bugatti that the Mullin museum owns and is preserving.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree Ronnie. And I have to wonder: what better way is there for classic cars to go out? If they are going to go, they should go racing.

    • 0 avatar

      I completely agree with you Ronnie. Those type of cars (un restored classics) will get my attention first, even if it is a make that I am not usually interested in. I feel there is way more to learn and see with a true original.

  • avatar

    I once had a wealthy car collector tell me that the only thing worth millions on an old Ferrari was the serial number plate on the chassis. Everything else can be reproduced.

    It’s too bad the Carrera Panamerica is no longer a “main stream” race. Imagine modern race cars competing once again in this wonderful race!

    • 0 avatar

      Modern race cars? One of the reasons the Carrera is so interesting is the eclectic mix of vintage-esqe machinery.
      They did run a class for modern cars a few years back but participation was small, it may have been dropped.

      There are endless other venues for watching modern race cars, and I’d suggest that modern racing is becoming increasingly less “main stream”.

      Good that nobody was seriously injured in this shunt (these shunts?) & sad that a guy died this year. Nobody enters planning to do that.

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    The mercedes Finny occupants will be thankful for Bela Berenyi’s invention of the crumple zone and built in roll frame because looking at the pics,they have done their job very well. Mercedes not only one the original race with a 300SL ,they were rally champs on roads like these in Argentina,South Africa etc.

  • avatar

    Did you hear the one about the guy who bought his 18 year old son a Ferrari F430? Predictably tragic results.

  • avatar

    From the one picture it looks like the Studebaker will probably roll again, if not, at least it took a couple of Porsches with it before it died. What a way to go!

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