BROOKLIN AND THE CARRERA PANAMERICANA
Posted by BROOKLIN MODELS
The Carrera Panamericana was a border-to-border car racing event on open roads in Mexico similar to the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio in Italy. This gruelling race ran South to North, from Tuxtla Gutierrez, near the Yucatan Peninsula, to Nuevo Laredo, just short of the Texas border, a distance of 1.372 miles. Running for five consecutive years from 1950 to 1954, it was described as the most dangerous race of any type in the world. It has been later resurrected along some of the original course as a classic speed rally. Three special “Viva la Carrera” Code 2’s were made by Brooklin representing cars which participated to the race.
The first is the 1955 Chrysler C-300. Unfortunately, while Carl Kiekhafer was preparing the car for 1955, the series was abruptly cancelled due to the large number of deaths in the 1954 race. This great car, that dominated stock car racing in 1955 and 1956, thus never had the opportunity to compete in the fabled Carrera Panamerica. The Race was revived in 1988, but restricted to 1954 and older cars that would have been eligible for the original races. An Open Class was added in 1995 and the Chrysler C-300 finally got its chance to compete. The car, driven by Ron "Juan" Davis and Carl Schneider, ran amazingly well and was running eighth overall on Day 5 when it blew a piston. Emergency repairs enabled it to finish the seven day race. This model is a limited run of 200 pieces produced by Dale Dannefer (USA). The NASCAR type wheels and special interior with shoulder harnesses have been done at the Brooklin factory. The special red paint has also been done there. The accurate Carrera graphics decals were applied elsewhere. This model is authenticated and authorized by La Carrera Panamericana. Each one has an hand painted number on base and is accompanied by a Commemorative Certificate signed by both drivers, Ron Davis and Carl Schneider.
The second model is the 1953 Studebaker Starliner. It’s finished in bright red with a black top. Owned and driven by Carlos Anaya with his co-driver, Eduardo Rodriquez, this car won the race in 1993, 1994, and 1996. The race car was powered by a 350 V-8 Chevy engine producing 450 horsepower. While this engine was not available in Studebakers in 1953, the engine did appear in some of the last Studebakers in the 60's. The model is covered in all the proper decals, including La Costeña, Quaker State, Chrysler Mexico, Corona, MVS Deportes and others. The model, itself, has been modified with the addition of seat harnesses, reverse mag wheels and a front air dam. Removing the bumper and recasting the space behind it modified the front. 200 were produced with number hand painted on the base.
Dale Dannefer released the third model in his Viva La Carrera series in June 2000, the 1951 Packard 250 Mayfair Two-door Hardtop two-tone dark blue and white. The blue portion begins at the front bumper, outlines the grille, covers the raised section of the hood, all of the top and the trunk. There are many differences between the La Carrera Packard and the standard Packard: the grille has been simplified with removal of the grille teeth, the cormorant hood ornament has been removed for better racing aerodynamics and the paint has been removed from the body side moldings, leaving them metallic chrome. Other changes include blackwall tyres on white racing wheels with no wheel covers, elimination of the three rear fender "bottle cap openers", deletion of the fender skirts and simplification of the trunk-mounted rear emblem. Racing lap belts have been added to the grey interior. Additionally, the model is adorned with decals for "La Carrera Panamericana", including the official race number 304 from Corona for 1995. Production of this model was 200 units, with each model hand-numbered on the baseplate. Some models have slightly different decals on the doors and sides.
Author: Gianluigi Cappi
You can find many other Brooklin stories on the fourth edition of the Brooklin Models Collectors Guide. Click here