Notes, 10-15

10. Winding nearly 2000 miles from Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, the Carrera Panamericana course was so treacherous that 26 people perished, forcing the government to suspend racing after the 1954 race. The race attracted well-financed factory teams from Germany, Italy and other nations along with hot-rodders and adventure seekers such as Chester Griffin, who shipped his MGTD to Mexico in November, 1954 and met the car there with his wife and children, who he’d told were on vacation. Bridget was entered in the small sports car category, for vehicles with less than 1600 cc engine displacement. Racing alongside Griffin was the soon-to-be legendary Carrol Shelby, in an Austin Healey. Shelby would suffer a broken arm during the race. The small car class would be taken by José Herrarte Ariano driving a Porsche 550 Spyder. With little money and no support team, save a gaggle of confused children and an angry wife, Griffin drove only the first leg of the race, about 250 miles, before returning to Tuxtla to make amends to his family and arrange shipment of the MG back to Bridgeport.

_Carrera_Panamericana-1954-11-23

11. The bodywork was done by my late father, who was in the trade. There is some indication–although John says he “do[es]n’t recall” it–that the blown BCW-tuned xpag engine and TC gearbox were replaced at that time also with Volvo units, as was then common. My father owned a Volvo P-1800 which disappeared at about that time.

12. AKA “Cannonball Run II;” leaving from Darien, CT near their home, John and then-wife Anne made it to approximately Indiana before a broken clutch sidelined them.

13. John denies this.

14. “’Stunt Midget’ Crashes Dakar Rally,” Daily Mirror (London), Dec. 27, 1978 (p.?)

15. The price was $550, “just to cover the shipping cost,” according to John.

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About stuntmidget

I'm a poor mechanic and general wisenheimer. I love old cars and the stories behind them, true or not.
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