When General Douglas MacArthur made his famous quote, "Old soldiers never die; they just fade away." he very easily could have been talking about old race cars as well. Not all race cars are fortunate enough to withstand the beating or consequences dealt them while racing long enough to think about retirement but for those few lucky enough to endure nothing can make me happier than to see them in some sort of arena for others to enjoy.
One such arena is none other than the NATIONAL AUTOMOTIVE AND TRUCK MUSEUM OF THE UNITED STATES (NATMUS) which is located in Auburn Indiana. NATMUS is a non-profit museum with emphasis on post World War II cars and trucks but with vehicles on display from 1908 “high wheelers” to current production pick ups. Also you will find inside the doors of NATMUS a Model Car / Truck & Toy Museum (NATMATMUS).
Currently on display they have three wonderful cars that have competed in La Carrera Panamericana. There site says, "The three original La Carrera vehicles on display are believed to be the most currently on display in a single place in America." They may be right since the big display at Petersons Museum was only there for a short time.
Car #120, a 1954 Mercury Monterey, driven by Piloto Peter Frank and Co-Piloto Mark Williams ran three different LCP races (91, 91, 97) and won overall in 1992. It's interesting to point out Mark Williams is one of the most sought after co-drivers in North America. CLICK HERE FOR RESUME.
Built to compete in Turismo Mayor Class, beneath the stock bodywork you will find everything found in a NASCAR Nextel Cup car. During it's last race in 1997 the blueprinted 351 blew up during the race and was replaced with a 302 in a parking lot to finich the race. This car was donated to NATMUS by owner Dr Peter Frank of Bluffton, SC.
Seen here with 1992 overall trophy.
Car #313, a 1954 Ford, driven by Piloto Argentine team mate Americo Guzzini and Co-Piloto Bernardo Guzzini finished 77th overall in the 1954 LCP. Some interesting trivia was that because Argentineans led the roster with 74 cars compared to 47 Mexicans, 39 Americans, 9 Italians and 4 Germans. The number of Argentines was so high because President Juan Peron granted a special permit which exempted participants from paying standard import duties, so it was possible to import a large American car at a much lower cost if it had taken part in La Carrera Panamericana. Coincidentally the name PERON was painted on all of the Argentine cars to pay tribute to Eva Peron, the wife of the Argentine dictator who had recently died. According to the original mileage on the odometer, this car only ran the LCP race and that was it. This care was set up bi the famous Ford guru Bill Stroppe himself and is owned by Howard Singer of La Jolla California.
Car #107, a 1954 Lincoln Capri was driven by piloto Court Whitlock and Co-Piloto Charlie Weber. This car has had some customizing work done such as rear quarters extended 6 inches with 55 Packard taillights, Frenched antenna, 55 Olds headlight rims, moulded Continental kit, Frenched lake pipes, scooped quarters, recontoured fenders and quarters, 53 Lincoln bumpers which are narrowed 6 inches and then the car was lowered 6 inches. (Don't ask me why.) This car is owned by Rob and Deb Butler of Fort Wayne IN.
A special thanks to Don Grogg at NATMUS for taking the time to take these awesome photos and sending them to me and thank you to NATMUS and other orginizations as well as those who donate their cars so that they will be around for many future generations to enjoy.