The La Carrera Panamericana road race in Mexico is notorious for bringing cars to their knees (or maybe “knee action” would be a more appropriate automotive expression.) The 1964 Jaguar XKE team of Joel Eisenberg and Marcia (candidate for Washington Lt. Governor) McCraw is finding this out first-hand.
Joel filed this report Sunday night to The Four Wheel Drift:
Friday: What we first though was a coolant leak turned out to be brake fluid — misting us while we drove. With tne brake problem we did not arrive until 11 pm — but did so under our own power.
Saturday: After the first speed stage the Lucas gremlin got us and we had to be trucked to Mexico City.
Sunday: Today we started with high hopes and a new alternator. The first speed stage was awesome –on the loop freeway around Mexico City. First time they have ever closed the highway for racing. Then through a town with crowds everywhere (arch and platform for viewing). We lost all electrical! The most exciting (frightening) part– as the semi cabin had no space for us, we rode in the Jag fastened to the top of the car hauler rattling ‘n’ rolling in fear of low bridges reading an email of the Seattle Times expose of the incumbent Lt. Gov. Brad Owen laughing hysterically.
If Marcia wins we can hope she solves some of the Seattle traffic problems by closing the roads for road racing.
Some of the guys talked us into the Mille Migla Rally in Italy this May before the Cannes film festival.
Before people start questioning Joel’s sanity for taking a Jaguar, a marque known to be one step below home-made trailers in electrical system quality, on a challenging rally, it really isn’t the fault of Jaguar or Lucas. First, the Jaguar is heavily modified, so he’s not dealing with a stock electrical system. Second, horrible electrical and mechanical breakdowns are simply a part of rallying. Dirt, radical vibrations and severe loads often make Porsche, Lexus or Mercedes look like they were built under the hands of the Prince of Darkness!
But Joel describes the great craziness of racing: no matter how frustrating it can be when the car keeps failing, the experiences of competition and adventure far outweigh any desire to quit. In the worlds of vintage auto racing and rallying, hope springs eternal — and there’s always another event!