Monday, June 29, 2009

Phil Hill At La Carrera Panamericana

Since referencing a quote a few days ago that Phil Hill made to my son Will and I about La Carrera Panamericana being the most exciting and thrilling event that he ever competed in I began thinking about the cars he drove.

One of them was this 1953 Ferrari 375M Spyder which was purpose built for the 1954 La Carrera Panamericana.

Here we see Phil getting ready for the SCCA National Event at March Air Force Base in Riverside California where drove the car in the thirty five lap main event to a second place behind Bill Spear's in another 375MM Ferrari. In reality this race was meant to serve as a shake down with less than 5 months beore taking it to Mexico.

In this photo Phil Hill and Richie Ginther ready themselves for the start of the La Carrera Panamericana. Phil Hill was the piloto and Richie Ginther was co-piloto and they took second place overall averaging 105.5mph. They were able to win three of the eight legs of the race. They ran out of fuel on the seventh leg and only managed fourth place which put them out of contention for the overall lead. Only 85 of the 146 vehicles entered actually finished the grueling endurance race.

Here they are taking a break in front of a sponsor's business. If you look closely you may recognize the 1954 La Carerra Panamericana poster in the window.

In this photo taken near Puebla, Phil makes repairs for the race to Mexico City. In this photo you can also see how Ferrari modified the body to include a distinctive headrest and tailfin as well as a modified rear body to accept an additional spare tire, and aircraft airscoops were added to help cool the tires. Then the traditional red was repainted white and blue.

Here we see Phil at the wheel while Richie Ginther waves to the fans at 110 miles per hour.

Phil and Richie take a break after a hard run.

Phil and Richie cross the finish line at Juarez after averaging 137mph for the final leg. By the way... that is a La Carrera Panamericana speed record which has not been broken to this very day. That's been 55 years ago folks in a car that was built 56 years ago. Think about it.

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