50 years of Tag Carrera
Half a century ago, one of the ultimate driving watches was born. Here's its story
Posted: 28 Oct 2013
The more you read about Stirling Moss's 1955 Mille Miglia campaign, the more it seems like the single greatest drive in motorsport. Road races like the Mille and the Targa Florio were epic undertakings, unrepeatable feats, not least because they were insanely dangerous, even by the standards of the day.
But perhaps the deadliest of all was the 1,933-mile Carrera Panamericana, which was launched in 1950 to signify the completion of the Mexican stretch of the Pan-American highway. Among the 132 competitors in the inaugural race were a British actress who had married a Mexican bullfighter, and a Texan lady whose Buick wore sponsorship from a bra manufacturer. But it wasn't long before the Carrera started attracting Europe's big guns, both carmakers and drivers. In 1952, the race was split into sports cars and stock-car categories to reflect its growing competitiveness, and future Ferrari F1 world champion Phil Hill lined up in a privateer Ferrari alongside works drivers Alberto Ascari, Giovanni Bracco and Luigi Villoresi. Mercedes, meanwhile, was fielding three 300 SL gullwing prototypes, as part of a live experiment. The car driven by Karl Kling and Hans Klenk would go on to win that year's race, shirking off an attack by a vulture that smashed into the windscreen, showering the occupants with shards of glass and knocking Klenk unconscious. German sports-car newbie Porsche also began competing...
Words: Jason Barlow