Friday 5th May 1950
The first La Carrera Panamericana road race began. 132 cars entered the 5-day, 2,178-mile race running the length of Mexico from Juárez on the Texas border to El Ocotal on the border with Guatemala. At least one stage was run each day for five consecutive days. The elevation changes were significant: from 328 feet (100 m) to 10,482 feet (3,195 m) above sea level, requiring amongst other modifications re-jetting of carburettors to cope with thinner air. Most the race was run between 5,000 feet (1,500 m) and 8,000 feet (2,400 m). American Hershel McGriff won in an Oldsmobile that cost $1,800, running on whitewall tyres he picked up for $12. His victory earned him $17,533 dollars, a huge sum in 1950. Sadly four people were killed in the race. A four-year-old Juan Altamirano was hit by the car of Jesús Valezzi and Adolfo Dueñas Costa in the first stage in Cd. Juárez before the start of the race. In the same stage near to finish line the Guatemalan Enrique Hachmeister lost the control of his Lincoln. The Peruvian co-driver Jesús Reyes Molina died in the fourth stage in León, Guanajuato when the Nash of Henry Charles Bradley crashed with a bridge in the Florida river. Reyes Molina was taken to León Hospital, where he died. The Nash Ambassador driven by the Americans Eddie Sollohub-Nicholeo Scott hit the crowd and killed a spectator in the fourth stage.