Wednesday, December 15, 2010
The Carrera Panamericana was a clash of car cultures. Marquee drivers like Juan Manuel Fangio lined up alongside oddball entrants like Akton Miller, a Californian who had assembled a little roadster, nicknamed El Caballo, from a hodgepodge of parts. El Caballo had earned a folksy following in Mexico. The locals enjoyed seeing a homegrown car go up against the big factory teams. Miller's opposite was Porfiro Rubirosa, a well-tanned dandy who wore a scarf, polo sweater and kid gloves behind the wheel of his privately owned Ferrari. When the Mexican press mischievously invited him to pose for a photo in El Caballo, Rubirosa sniffed and waved them off. Ten miles into the first leg Miller saw Rubirosa's Ferrari pulled to the shoulder with a steaming radiator. As he shot post, Miller repaid Rubirosa's hauteur by flipping him the finger.