Lucha Libre Racing

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Back to Mexico
October 16, 2011
San Francisco, CA

Mezcal maker, Oaxaca

I'm delighted to have the Lucha Libre Racing Website up and running again. I hope the 6 folks who regularly stopped by to see what the team was up to have migrated to Facebook to follow us (Lucha Libre Racing)
This year I am covering La Carrera Panamericana as a photographer and Tequila Ambassador for my sponsors Tequila FortalezaRacing begins on October 21st in Huatulco, Oaxaca and ends on October 27th in Zacatecas, Zacatecas. I will be photographing the race by day and pouring tequila at the finish line each night. Additionally, I will be photographing the race for event sponsor and official timepiece of the carrera, Frederique Constant. The best place to see the shots: Lucha Libre Racing on Facebook. 

Warren Percell
October 15, 2010
San Francisco, CA

Master sign painter and artist extraordinaire, Warren Percell

The Marshall Teague, La Carrera Panamericana, Hudson Hornet painted by Percell

I drove to Petaluma today to pick up a set of Manos de Mexicanos graphic decals for the Lincoln. Wow! do they look great. Master sign painter Warren Percell made them for me. This guys work is amazing and I am proud to have him as a new sponsor. I also had a chance to rifle through the trunk of the Lucha Libre Racing Roadster and I found another 100 LLR stickers. Wahoo!

Loyal Truesdale
October 14, 2010
San Francisco, CA

As I get closer to my departure date I catch myself reveling in Carrera memories from my runs in 2006 and 2008. With the recent passing of La Carrera legend Loyal Truesdale, I asked Bruce Trenery, the owner of Fantasy Junction, if he had any printable stories about Truesdale.

In the early days, Loyal Truesdale was the US organizer/promoter of La Carrera Panamericana. As Trenery states: "He was one of the all-time characters. The race (La Carrera) would have never survived with out his passion and enthusiasm for it. I'm very sorry to hear that he's passed."

One year Loyal organized a truck to ship our cars down to Laredo. After they'd cross the border, a Mexican truck would take the cars down to Chiapas. Evidently, the truck flipped over somewhere near Guadalajara and the Mexican truck driver ran off into the jungle. Loyal hires another truck to pick up the remains of the cars. We see them when we get into Mexico City, where we had a layover, on our ways to Chiapas.

We head out to the trucking company to see the cars and there's a 356 Porsche that's unrecognizable. When it tipped over, the battery went upside down, caught fire and burned to a crisp. There's a '53 Olds that was Doug Mockett's. It looked like a tomato that someone had thrown on the ground, it was demolished, it wasn't going anywhere. He offered us all the octane boost and stuff that he had in his trunk, and said "we told our wives we would be gone for two weeks" so they got on a plane and headed for the Caribbean. Loyal's car was a Hudson Hornet like mine. It was smashed on one side but it really wasn't too bad. He looked it over, beat on it a little while, then left to attend a party.

My Hudson's roof was smashed in and all the glass was busted. The trucking company gave me some of their guys to help me beat out the fenders, to keep the tires from rubbing. After a few hours we kind of got it running. The cars showed up in Tuxtla Gutierrez, (the starting line) more or less on time but all beat up. The race starts and my car has all sorts of problems (from the rollover) it finally blows up after Mexico City. We put it on the trailer and follow the race from the Mexican guy's support vehicle.

Two nights before the finish, I'm getting to the hotel late and I run into Loyal, who's all dressed up, on his way to a party. I say: Loyal if you need anything out of my car, it's blown up, but I've got extra axles, brake parts, gasket sets, wheel cylinder kits, tune-up stuff, whatever you want. Loyal asks if my horn works? I say: Yeah, why?. He say's: I've been running for a day and a half with no brakes. I say: I've got all the brake parts you could possibly want in the back of my car, if you need them, have at 'em. He says: I want to go to the party, if you've got a good horn relay I'll take that, it's only two more days...

Chiapas Kids

October 11, 2010
San Francisco, CA

Children of a remote village in Chiapas show their school supply bags

It's time. If you are reading this web page, Twitter feed or Facebook page, you need to get off your good intentions and help me help the kids. I'm just over halfway home on my fund raising goals for this year. I've got one week and $1400. to go. Please take the time to go to the GEAR page and buy some Lucha Libre Racing gear. 100% of your purchases go to help the kids. Hats are nearly here, T-shirts are in, get the last of the decals, make it happen, Captain.

Steve Tarpin
October 4, 2010
San Francisco, CA

Steve Tarpin, sponsor of school supply bags for 350

I received an email from my man, Steve Tarpin in Red Hook, Brooklyn today. It said that the school supply bags should be ready to ship by the end of the week. Awesome, is all I can say. When I was drafted to navigate Tom Overbaugh's 1954 Lincoln back in early August, I thought it would be way to complicated to try and bring school supplies to the kids like I did in 2008. The difference this year is I don't have the 6 months to raise the supplies and I'm flying rather than driving to the race, so I'll have to buy school supplies in country.
On a whim, I emailed Steve of Steve's Authentic Key-Lime Pies about possibly sponsoring the Lincoln, it's a big green car, not quite Key-Lime green but close enough. He thought about it for 30 seconds and said "I can't sponsor the car, but I want to help you help the kids. I'm not a rich man, but I know how far a little grassroots fund raising can go in Mexico." He agreed to underwrite the production of all 350 school supply bags!

School supplies ready for delivery, October 2008

So join Steve in helping me help the kids. I will leave for Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas on October 19th. When I land I will buy school supplies locally for 350 kids. I need your help to make this happen. Please take a minute to jump on Paypal and send a small donation. $5.00 will outfit one school supply bag. All donors will be acknowledged here on the website and receive a Lucha Libre Racing decal. If you would like to order a T-shirt or hat that can be done through the gear page on the website. Men's tees are in good supply, womens and kids sizes are a little spotty. Fresh hats are in on 10/11/2010 Paypal

A Sponsor girl helps gets the message out

Happy Birthday Stirling
September  17, 2010
San Francisco, CA

Stirling Moss, going strong at 81

Lucha Libre Racing returns to Mexico
September  01, 2010
San Francisco, CA

Michael Emery to Navigate for Tom Overbaugh in his 1954 Lincoln

It's official, I've accepted a navigators seat for the 2010 La Carrera Panamericana. Tequila Fortaleza has graciously renewed their sponsorship and I look forward to my duties pouring samples of their magnificent tequila. I am also very pleased to announce a new collaboration with Manos de Mexicanos. You can find more information on the good work they are doing with artists in Mexico at their website  Stay tuned as we go turbo-digital with facebook and twitter too.

Driver/Sponsor Wanted
Lucha Libre Racing
Now accepting applications for 2010 La Carrera Panamericana
October 22-28 Chiapas to Zacatecas, Mexico 2000 miles in a Datsun Roadster

Picture yourself here

Want to drive the legendary La Carrera Panamericana?
The Lucha Libre Racing Team is in search of a funded driver to compete this October 22-28th. You'll help a two time La Carrera finisher feed his addiction. Lucha Libre Racing will handle all the preparation, transportation and import details. Simply fly-in to Tuxla Gutierrez, Chiapas, bring your racing suit, helmet and a change of clothes. Pick up your Mexican Racing License and meet the other competitors. With 120 cars from Europe and the Americas your fellow competitors are a mix of very interesting and successful people.

Over 6 days of competition you will drive 2000 miles through beautiful Mexican countryside at 90 MPH. Our racing speed is
approximately half the speed of the front runners. We are the proverbial tortoise from Aesop's fables. Unfortunately, in this story, we won't be the overall winner. However, we will beat 30+/- cars that will blow up or crash. We will pass cars at speed, mainly in the twisty sections. And with only 100 MPH as our top speed, you have a very good chance of returning home safely. Hopefully, with the desire to return and race again next year. Navigation and all details will be handled by two-time Carrera Finisher and Lucha Libre Racing Team Owner, Michael Emery. Additionally, we'll deliver needed school supplies to 350 children in Chiapas and Zacatecas.

(415)728-6960 mobile

Students at Escuela Primera; Amado Nerva, Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas

Finishing Day 5, 2008 Aguascalientes, Mexico

Datsun Roadsters invade Solvang
April  29, 2010
San Francisco, CA

Gray skies, and windmills in downtown Solvang, California

Edward, my 11 year-old son, and I, took a quick road trip to Solvang, a faux Danish settlement in central Southern California, or more like southern Central California. As I've been distracted with developments on the home front, I did not have time to retrieve the Lucha Libre Racing Roadster for this event. While the 6.5 hour drive down, thank you Bay-Area it's Friday, let's-get-out-of-town traffic was made easier in the Jetta TDI wagon, I regretted not making the effort to drive the Roadster. Saturday morning that feeling was doubly bad as the "where's YOUR Roadster?" chorus began.

Ed checks out a giant Danish Clog, "It would make a nice go-cart", he said

Mike Young with his new 1967.5 took home a 1st place in the "Stock Low-Windshield 2000 class

My sponsor, Mike Young, brought his freshly restored 1967.5 2000. He took home a first place in the Stock Low Windshield (1967.5 & older) class. Interestingly, the two best cars in the show were parked next to each other. Mike's perfectly restored stock 1967.5 and Eric Shaw's of Spriso Motorsports 1969 restomod. Shaw took home the "Best-in-Show" award. The quality and craftsmanship of his modifications were astonishing. Mike Young's car showed that they were pretty well thought out originally. Shaw's car showed that if you are going to tinker with what the manufacturer made, you better think it out and make it right and make it MUCH better.

Shaw's Nissan S13 SR20DET Motor and T25 ball bearing turbo looks perfectly at home

Shaw's low windshield & vintage dash conversion, check, Nardi wheel, Lotus seats, very nice

Patina, patina, patina everyone is crazy about patina

Original black plate with tags from 1973, bet there are a few more under there too

Luggage a go-go

Was 12 hours of driving worth the 4 hours at the show? In a word, yes. Thanks and kudos to show organizer Jeff Torres. A great show, sorry I couldn't stay longer. Regarding the field of Roadsters, well it's hard to quantify the enthusiasm and eclecticism of 50 + approaches to the same vehicle. It was great to see Michael Spreadbury of Spriso Motorsports. If he lived closer I think we would see a lot of each other. What nice work he does. It was a treat to see Mike Young's newest project. I've lived a little of his dedication and perseverance via the phone over the last 6 months, nice to see the finished product. What nice work he does. Now if I can only get it for .50 on the dollar...

Carrera to end in Zacatecas
March 31, 2010
San Francisco, CA

Lalo Leon, also known as Mr. La Carrera, has announced the dates and route of the 2010 La Carrera Panamericana. The race will begin in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas and will end in the beautiful city of Zacatecas, Zac. A collective hallelujah was heard from Carrera racers around the world. Bring on the Mescal, the donkey walk and the Quinta Real.

Fortaleza Tequila announces renewed sponsorship of the Lucha Libre Racing Team

In a conference call from Fortaleza headquarters in Tequila Centro, Guillermo Sauza, pictured above and president of Fortaleza Racing was pleased to announce his continued sponsorship of the Lucha Libre Racing Team. "We had a great time with the Lucha Libre Team in 2008. Michael Emery worked his ass off; navigating by day and promoting our product every night. With a car as slow that Datsun, we feel our logo stays in front of the people much longer than if we had sponsored a faster car" Sauza said.
Carrera dreams and schemes
February 1, 2010
San Francisco, CA

The Dover Brothers muy durable Volvo 444 now for sale

So you've been thinking about racing La Carrera Panamericana. I know there are a few of you out there who are thinking that thought. "I want to race the Carrera, what's the best way to do it?" Not to worry Lucha Libre Racing is here to help. My friends The Dover Brothers; Tom Boes and George Sullivan, have decided to put their beautiful and durable 1958 Volvo 444 up for sale. This car ran in Historic A in 2006 and 2008 and proved to be a reliable and capable competitor. Tom is an Engineer by trade and the car is well thought out and cleanly executed. Someone is going to get a great car at a great deal. Call Tom at (616)430-1962

Bill Beilhartz's 2008 Carrera winning Studebaker for sale

The Dover Brothers Volvo 444 not quite fast enough for you? The awesome Studebaker that won the 2008 La Carrera Panamericana is now on the market. According to Bill Beilhartz the car's builder and driver, "It only does 180MPH, but it gets there quickly" In 2008, Beilhartz and his Studebaker out drove the Mats Hammarlund prepared Studebaker's of Swedish racers Stig Blomqvist and Lars Stugemo.  The car is race ready, if you're in it to win it, this car's for you. You can reach Tell him that Lucha Libre Racing sent you.

Lucha Libre Racing Datsun Roadster For Rent

Maybe you just want to get a taste for the Carrera before you jump in and build the car of your dreams. The Lucha Libre Racing Roadster is available. Rent this fine machine for the cost of the expenses to get the car to Mexico and back. There's no cheaper way to do it. The 90hp Roadster is a benign and reliable 100MPH-all-day machine. In 2008 we ran as high as 58th overall. With our legendary reliability (2000 miles on nothing more than an oil change) and better navigation (now I know what I'm doing) we should be capable of easily beating half the field. This is an "arrive and drive" deal. All you have to do is show up for the car show in San Miguel de Allende or a couple of days before the start. Your first job will be to don your Lucha Libre Racing attire. Then you'll spend some time meeting your new friends (the other racers who love the tequila, the charity and that we don't have enough hp to beat them) Then you'll get busy signing autographs, distributing school supplies, signing more autographs, posing for photographs, qualifying, tasting fine tequila, enjoying the local scenery, relax and repeat. More horsepower is available for a slightly larger investment. Interested? Lets talk. You won't regret it. Call me @(415)728-6960 PST or

Happy New Year
December 30, 2009
San Francisco, CA

Peace, prosperity, health and happiness to all our friends in the New Year

Feliz Navidad
December 25, 2009
San Francisco, CA

If you think you've had too many, have two more to be sure

Merry Merry and Happy Happy from Lucha Libre Racing. 'Tis the season. Enjoy the holidays, spend some time with one you love (or lust) and remember that La Carrera Panamericana is only 10 months away.

3.0" x 4.5" High-quality embroidery, perfect for that Dickies work jacket

I found a few patches and decals while sorting the LLR spares cabinet out. Here they are, quantities are limited to stock on hand. Get them while they last. Closed Course, Professional Driver, Do not attempt at home.
Paypal $10 and I'll mail one right out.
Cash in an envelop works too. Lucha Libre Racing 922A Union St SF CA 94133
Support the Team that supports the kids. Stickers still only $5 Act now, operators are standing by.

If you don't have one, get one. If you have one, get another

More photos of Zacatecas from 2008
November 30, 2009
San Francisco, CA

More photos from Jim Nikas, here we are preparing for La Bufa, Joe straps in while I review the course notes

As I sinch up my helmet, check the look of the Federale as he waits for us to get going

Sleepless in Zacatecas, the stress begins to show

The team that brought you the "one oil-change, everybody out to dinner tonight" La Carrera

He's thinking: Mas Tequila? sounds good to me...

Gifts from afar
November 15, 2009
San Francisco, CA

"Rough day" Zacatecas 2008 photo by Jim Nikas

A few photos have popped into my "in" box in the last few days. I'll post them up in the next day or so. The photo shown above came from my neighbor Jim Nikas. We didn't know each other when he introduced himself in Zacatecas last year, but he lives 6 or 8 houses away from the Lucha Libre Racing headquarters. On another small world note he let another team competing in last years Carrera stay in his place in San Miguel de Allende. Next year we hope it's our team staying in his place in San Miguel. Kristen Stewart sent me a great Lucha Libre Sticker she picked up in Mexico. Check out her blog here. She's part of Team TBZ, a family affair, consisting of Vance her brother and Vance her father "Geezer" who lives in Zacatecas. TBZ is one of the finest and friendliest teams running in the Carrera. Rene, their mechanic, and Fernando are great guys too. On the final leg to Nuevo Laredo last year we were on a long fast transit racing against Rene in his service rig, we were flat-out at just over 100MPH and he was cruising at 105MPH towing an empty trailer. Try as we may, we couldn't pass him. Eventually he slowed down, smiled and waved us past. Kristen's beau, Todd Landon, builds some mighty fast Mustangs and provided service for Gerie Bledsoe's Nova this year. Good folks to know.

The 2009 running of La Carrera Panamericana has come and gone. The racers are back at work. All survived the ordeal. Some cars were destroyed but most made it, some, mildly worse for wear. Now many will deal with Post Carrera Stress Disorder. For me this manifest itself in a speeding ticket the weekend after I returned home last year. While driving my son to a baseball tournament, 70 miles South of San Francisco, I got clocked at just over 90MPH while driving a Camry Hybrid service loaner. After driving 2000 miles in Mexico at those speeds, let me tell you, 90mph in a Datsun Roadster feels like 90MPH. 92MPH in a Hybrid Camry, on the 101S, not-so-much.

The Carrera is a powerful mistress. For many, marital and relationship repairs are now in full swing. For the 2009 Carreraistas the scheming about changes for next year is well underway. For most it started somewhere on the race. For those that drove down and back it definitely was food for thought. Those few who tried to blog and race should be commended, participating in the Carrera is hard enough. Trying to keep others abreast of your endeavors is much, much harder than one would think. I enjoyed following the Apple Farmers and The Taxi El Perdido as they battled it out in Historic A+. Unfortunately, for me, the blogs are all put to bed except for the intrepid Gary Faules, who continues to find gem after gem to post. I never found the time for the final recap of the race. It's safe to say most of the bloggers will never flesh out the early reports or finish strong with a tell-all about what really happened in and out of the car. Maybe it's better that way.

Kristen Stewart (I like her shirt) and Linda Robertson 2009 forwarded by Gary Faules

I spoke to Gerie Bledsoe last week, he still sounded exhausted. I clearly remember that feeling of utter, total exhaustion after last years race. I was physically and mentally a wreck on the drive home. Stopping for roadside squats in West Texas. Endlessly, I replayed the navigational mistakes I made that dropped us 20+ places in the overall standings. The organizers listing errors dropped us another 10 places...My mind dwelled mostly on the negative experiences; harsh words uttered in the heat of racing, route-book mistakes, service miscommunications and my general inexperience, all of it ate at me. Two years prior, I laughed at Ted's mistakes, what else could I do, last year we had a chance and couldn't capitalize. Luckily, Dan was still there and saved the day, driving while I took a much needed rest.

After all the development work done since 2006 I still didn't know if the car would be up to the challenge of the Carrera. I had swapped the motor 2 weeks before the race and was running a totally stock '67.5 1600. Mike Young assured me the motor was a good one but you never know what could go wrong and I was worried about everything. A week before we left I did and all-night shakedown drive to LA and back 900 miles at 80MPH. The car was great, too slow, uncomfortable too, but it ran like a top. Quite a relief as Joe had signed up for an "arrive and drive" deal and I wasn't sure I would be able to provide a reliable vehicle after our lousy 2006 run. As it worked out, our mechanics; Brent and Dan had an easy time of it. Jorge, our third mechanic and Datsun expert, set the timing and changed the oil once. Brent added water wetter to the radiator and duct-taped the glove box back together one day. The rest of it consisted mostly of moving the truck and trailer from city to city each day, and finding the service stop and the hotel each night. No easy feat in Mexico.
The service crew slept and ate a fine meal every night, pretty rare. We ran both Carreras on the same tires and brakes. Not intentional, but that's the way it worked out.

Alex Sudea, a British Photographer, having a second wind in Zacatecas, I'm feeling better too

Running the Carrera is much more difficult than any weekend at the track. The distances involved as well as the time and resources it takes to field a car is a serious commitment.  Can't wait until next October when the show starts all over again. Stay tuned. If all goes well, Lucha Libre Racing will be back again.

Historic Reprint
November 16, 2006
Monterrey, Mexico

Pitched sideways in 2nd gear, wearing the Luchador masks of Santo and Hurricane Ramirez the Lucha Libre Racing Team brings the first Datsun ever to contest La Carrera Panamericana through the finish arch in high style.  Picture courtesy of Bret Haller and

Hung-over on Mescal, on less than two hours of sleep, our thoughts are still haunted by visions of the wild night. We have a fine breakfast at La Cabana, my favorite restaurant, and Zacatecas is history. I don't think Mats Hammarlund ever thanked us for leaving the bottle of Mescal with his table when we left Todos Santos. He's still pissed over the Lucha Libre Racing sticker that ended up on his car during the car show in San Miguel de Allende. Little did he know that teams would be begging for those stickers by the end of the race.

Another quiet car ride for the final leg to Monterrey. Could we make it in time for our 6 laps around the racetrack? Would our motor hold? Should we head for the final arch and skip the track? Five hours of driving would give us plenty of time to mull these questions over. We soon began to pass the casualties of the final run. Nobody crashes on this leg but more than one would blow an engine. A Lincoln is out, on the side of the highway, 100's of miles from civilization, rear axle trouble. We can't do anything for them. They have satellite phones but the service crew doesn't have theirs turned on...

Lucha Libre Racing is everywhere

The next car we see is the Toyota-Supra-powered '53 Corvette. Blown engine no-doubt. The driver was a fierce competitor, no Mescal and Lucha masks for him. Onward to Monterrey. A service team from Missouri is being shaken down by a Police officer. Made me think of the 963.00 peso ticket I talked my way out of in Mexico City, turned out to be the exact amount of our steak dinner at Garufa. 963 pesos, what are the odds. We catch the Oklahoma boys service truck at a Pemex and restock them with fresh cold Howling Monkey. These guys are hooked in a big way, they want to distribute the stuff in Oklahoma. I'll look into it, I tell them sincerely. They remind me of the Giant Chimpanzees at the zoo, always ready to sling shit at the assembled masses, beat their chests and swing from a tire. They'll be in real trouble when their 2 day supply of Monkey runs out.

Lincoln with a blown rear end

We're on the outskirts of Monterrey, Ted is navigating beautifully, Russell is now doing the driving, we change into our driving suits in the car. Traffic is so slow that it's apparent that we will miss the track stage and we head for the finish line. We begin to have doubts that we will make the finish arch before our allotted time expires. Finally we spot the stadium. We pull over and have the Datsun off the trailer in a flash. Ted and I don our Luchador masks that we bought the night before in Zacatecas. Why they were behind the bar at Todos Santos? I don't know, but they were exactly what I was looking for. Now how to get across 6 lanes of traffic and into the Stadium. Russell is working on the same problem, unfortunately he's nosed in front of us and we can't see a thing. Some violent horn honking and a few rude gestures he gets the hint and backs up a foot so we can see the oncoming traffic.

The best damn gimmicks

The only shot of our finish

I see our hole, as scant as it is, I rev it to 5000 rpm, dump the clutch, and we launch across the 6 lane boulevard. I'm flat-out-in-second-gear-50-mph-finger-on-the-horn-pitched-sideways-into-the-stadium.
People are beginning to dive out of our way, I'm seeing in super-slow-mo, the kind one experiences just before a crash. Look there's Eduardo Leon, Director of La Carrera, he sure looks panicked as he backs away from the finish arch. Now the finger is off the horn, I need that hand to whip the wheel hard to the left. Photographers and filmmakers leap out of the way. I snap it sideways the other way and we go on fishtailing through the arch. Good thing we're a small car or I might have not made it through the arch at all. We're carrying so much speed I can't make the hard right into the parking lot and have to take a victory lap around the back honking and waving. Photographers and film crews are now running after us. When we park and get out, one of the race teams, a car dealer from Texarkana drawls "You all've got the best damn gimmicks." Damn straight....

Ted and I launch into media-celebrity mode; conducting interviews in spanglish and english. Quickly, we are hustled around to have our photo taken with all the race sponsor girls, mmmm, tough job but somebody has to do it. We like the "Go Fast Energy Drink" girls the best but are contractually obligated (Howling Monkey!) to keep our (grubby) mitts off them.

What would you drive in the Carrera?
October 28, 2009
San Francisco, CA

Coop's shot of me talking to the Dover Brothers outside of Zacatecas in 2008

My 2008 driver Joe Brubaker forwarded this gem from Jalopnik asking the question "What would you drive in the La Carrera Panamericana?" Click the link to read the answers. Unfortunately, some readers seem to confuse the Carrera with the Baja 1000. If I had to race the Datsun I'd like to have a 180hp ultra-reliable U20 in it. If I could build a new car for the race I'd like to do a vintage hop up of a '51 Willys Jeepster with a '54 Ford V-8.

Steve Berry's shot of the ever-genial Doug Mockett

Well, the Carrera rolled into Zacatecas today. The news of the day was led by front-runner Doug Mockett, who had an "off" on the 1st speed section of the day. My Zacatecas pals Vance and Geezer had an "off" too. The Lucky Taco that we followed for 6 hours on the drive into Chiapas last year had a serious "off" just 6km into its qualifying run but has duct taped everything back together and reentered the race.

Steve Berry shot this one of Vance and Geezer's off

Following the Carrera from home is one of the great bummers of this time of year. I can put lime and salt on my pineapple slices and agave nectar in my coffee at breakfast.  I can have my tacos al pastor and drink a horchata for lunch.  After school I can make Mexican hot chocolate for the kids. Tonight I finished my last drop of Fortaleza tequila while cooking Carnitas. I can do all these things but the outcome is still the same. I'm here and the race is going on with out me, bummer. Zacatecas, double bummer. Next year, hell or high water...

Back in the saddle 

October 27, 2009
San Francisco, CA

Feels good to be back

My apologies to the six visitors that peruse this site on a regular basis. My webmaster has been MIA and the website has been out of my control for two months. I finally tracked him down and got the new password and username. Feels very good to be back. The photo above is from our run in 2006 after we had performed a roadside head gasket replacement and thought our troubles were over. We had just finished our first full day of racing in 3 days and came storming into Aguascalientes at 95MPH with a police escort. As we were the last to arrive we received more than our share of attention from the sponsor girls. Clearly I didn't mind.

Coops photo of Bill and Ralph's Lincoln, bent but still running  

The 2009 La Carrera Panamericana is in full swing. Today is day 4 of the 6 day competition. The racers are heading into Tequila today and Guadalajara tonight. Of course in last years race the Lucha Libre Racing team headed into tequila every night. Today the racers are heading into the real town of Tequila and I'm sure there will be tastings for all. Tonight's stop in Guadalajara is the first time the Carrera has visited that city in 9 years.

Coop, Navigator, artist, photographer and blogger

I've been following the race through the blog postings of two teams and the Flickr uploads of Coop. My first read is the story of El Taxi Perdido at Last night these guys took a 1st in class. Sensational for first time competitors. They are competing head to head with our good friends Richard, Nate, Al, Steve and Odvar at These guys are a fun loving bunch but take the racing very seriously. Steve's comments on their blog are too funny. Another place I'm following the race from is Facebook. The info is mainly in Spanish but it gives me that mid-day La Carrera fix before the teams get a chance to upload. The blogger to beat is still Gary Faules. Gary works harder to report what's going on in the Carrera than anyone I know. The other day I had to call him just to commiserate that we are both here when we would rather be there.

A weekend in Monterey 
August 14-16, 2009
Monterey, CA

Fortaleza Tequila was a big hit at The Quail

A few of the famous racers on hand

A stunning Alfa Romeo

Another Datsun?

Adding some 'bling to the booth

Stirling Moss telling me about why he never got to race La Carrera Panamericana

Sunday, hanging with the crew at Laguna Seca

Jesse Alexander takes a turn with my Rolleiflex

Pissed off Pete, the Blastolene Brothers monsterous hot rod

Terry and Joe Brubaker stopped by to see the old ride

Last stop Tarpy's Roadhouse for a Carrera get together

Mexico on my mind 
July 7, 2009
San Francisco, CA

Me, Coop and Tequila Fortaleza in Zacatecas

Since we first ran La Carrera Panamericana in 2006, I've become infatuated with Mexico and racing there again. For me, the Carrera is a constant companion. Whenever I have a bit of a drive, I begin to roll car and sponsor ideas around in my mind. Through my travels in the race and our time living in Zacatecas, I've incorporated a myriad of things from Mexico into my everyday routine. My morning coffee; shade grown from Chiapas. Sugar for said coffee; shaved off a piloncillo. Need a quick bite for the kids; hit the taco truck. Mangoes, pineapples, melon, served with lime, salt and chili powder, just like the street vendors. Celebrating the days events or taking the edge off a rough one; fine añejo tequila, sipped, strait up. Every old car seen around town or stumbled across on or craigslist is evaluated as a potential Carrrera racer. News of the day; swine flu, narco trafficantes, political unrest, comes down to how will it effect the Carrera?

Recently, a few of my fellow Carrera racers were in the news themselves. Coop, the artist extraordinaire, Carrera navigator and photographer was interviewed on The California Report The show aired on KQED my local public radio station, but was broadcast statewide on NPR and internationally via satellite.
His art was just shown at the Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles, to check out and purchase his work go to:

Doug Mockett, Angelica Fuentes and Hershel McGriff in San Miguel de Allende

Racing legend Hershel McGriff 81, winner of the first La Carrera Panamericana in 1950, was in the news as he got set to race the NASCAR Benett Lane Winery 200 at Infineon (Sears Point) Raceway. McGriff, gave up his retirement to take to the Sonoma California road course where he holds the record for most poles. Unfortunately, a mere 2/1000ths of a second kept him from qualifying. Read all about it on Gary Faules excellent blog here and Hershel's blog here.

Never too old to drive the 175MPH "Old in name only" '53 Oldsmobile, Doug Mockett and Angelica Fuentes are preparing to defend their title at Pikes Peak. Read more about Pikes Peak and Doug's racing background here.

Our moment in the sun, crossing the finish line in Nuevo Laredo

I've just received Gerie Bledsoe's preparation and packing list for running the Carrera. I am deeply saddened  that we are not making the trek. The car is ready, if you--gentle reader, are up for an "adventure of a lifetime" experienced through the relative safety of the Lucha Libre Racing Datsun Roadster, let's talk, very soon.

Japanese Nostalgic Car 
May 7, 2009

San Francisco, CA

Swiped this Ben Hsu photo from JNC website, to see their coverage of the Solvang show click here.

Solvang Roadster Show
April 26, 2009
San Francisco, CA

Mike Young goes to town before I can even get out of the car

Spent Friday and Saturday in Solvang California at the 22nd annual Datsun Roadster Show.  After a pair of tacos Al Pastor at the Taco Stop truck on Cesar Chavez at Third just off the 280 Extension I hit the road at noon. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a cold Highball and the Howling Monkeys that are still kicking around the LLR headquarters are for decorative purposes only. Reluctantly, I cracked open a Monster and settled into the 5-hour drive. As the odometer is also my fuel gauge, at 150 miles I stopped for gas and checked my mileage: 27 mpg at 75 miles per hour, not bad. The weather was beautiful and it was great to be lost in my head, jacked up, thinking about ways to fund my next Carrera run. At 5:00PM I rolled into the Motel 6 parking lot in Buellton California where my sponsor and roommate Mike Young was trading laughs with the other Roadster owners.

Two of Spreadbury's creations at the Mendenhall Museum

Immediately Mike got to work cleaning up the Lucha Libre Roadster. After she was clean and presentable we departed for the short drive to the Mendenhall Museum. If you ever find yourself in Buellton, eat your split-pea soup and then hop over to the Mendenhall to see a very eclectic collection of automobilia. We parked in the Museum and began to check out the assemblage of Roadsters. The Spriso cars rolled in behind us and a crowd grew as Spriso founder Michael Spreadbury revealed his newest creation: a 1967 Roadster with a Sr20det motor swap and a 6 speed transmission, built for James Standridge. The fit, finish and workmanship were absolutely exquisite, murmurs of Best of Show began to circulate.

La Carrera Champion Pierre de Thoisy in his 190MPH Studebaker with Lotus racer Rachel Larratt

As I was the featured speaker, I checked in with tireless show organizer Jeff Torres and then left to sort out the AV system. As I don't even own a TV I was unable to get my DVD going. Luckily there were two Roadster loving AV techs, up from Southern California, that helped me sort out the system. They also had a cooler full of Pacifico’s that they kindly shared. Nice bunch, those So Cal guys. My dog-and-pony show went well, nobody walked out or shouted insults. After my slide show I popped in the “Backstage 2005 La Carrera Panamericana Promo” This DVD gave the crowd a brief look at what the Carrera looks and sounds like. Prior to seeing the video I don’t think they actually believed me when I said that all the fast guys are doing over 150mph and 20% of the cars blow up or crash. The in-car footage of Jerry Churchill rolling on Mil Cumbres, a $100,000+ Cobra Daytona Coupe burning to the ground and an upside-down 911 helped my credibility. The best footage is in-car of Pierre de Thoisy taking on La Bufa, in his Corona beer sponsored Studebaker. WOW. It’s hard to find the words to describe what it’s like to be in a 7-time Carrera Winners car as he rings out a record run on the stretch that separates the men from the boys. The LLR La Bufa run was hard but with only 90 hp going up hill, well it’s not quite the same as Pierre’s 500hp Studebaker. WOW was the word.

A fine collection of Datsun Roadsters

Saturday was the show and I decided to put the Lucha Libre Racer out for display only. Last year I was stunned to get a second place in class. The winning car, Ron Carter’s beautifully prepared ’67 Racer was not entered this year so I pulled my car too. I had a great time meeting the other Roadster owners and scores of tourists. A couple of MG enthusiasts were visiting from nearby Santa Barbara. They were discussing my car in Spanish and asked if I had really driven in the Carrera. I said that I had, and they replied that I looked too young. I explained that the original race ran from 1950 to 1954. I had raced in the re-creation of that race in 2006 and 2008. One of the men had grown up in Guanajato during those years and remembers the crash of Felice Bonetto. He said Bonetto was leading the race, dueling with teammate Piero Taruffi at over 120 into town when Taruffi spun out. Bonetto kept on just as hard, and seconds later launched his Lancia off a vado and into the iron balcony of a house. He died instantly. The rumor is the driver’s heart still resides in the cemetery in Silao.

 A 1969 2000 Roadster and the original owner

The SR20det in the Spriso prepared, Standridge 1967

A turbo charged U20

The fine patina of SU carburetor specialist Keith Williams' R16

Our follow up in Japenese Nostalgic Car Magazine

The show had a relaxed vibe and gave me a chance to sell a few shirts. As I still owe Mike Young for that transmission rebuild, the support was greatly appreciated. Ben and Dan Hsu from Japanese Nostalgic Car Magazine were there and gave me a copy of the new issue. They were kind enough to include an update of our 2008 trouble-free run, nice work guys. I pressed them to help me find a Carrera Patron and some new sponsors for the Lucha Libre Racing Roadster, what a jerk I am. Help 'em out and subscribe.

This little guy reminded me of my oldest son when he was 2

Stickers for all my friends

After the blustery awards ceremony/raffle/BBQ it was time to bundle up and hit the road back to San Francisco. My new So Cal friends were deep into the cooler of Pacifico’s as I left the Motel 6 parking lot to howls of "No top, no heater? Ha, you’re gonna freeze!" Yep, even with wearing 7 layers of dirty laundry and a borrowed hoodie, I froze. Time to get a set of heated seats in that thing. I ask Michael Spreadbury, builder of the Best in Show winning car and a new fan of LLR about installing heated seats “no problemo.” he says. Mmm, I say.

Baja Road Trip
April 03, 2009
San Francisco, CA

The Palleys, still crazy after all these years

While many of my La Carrera Panamericana brethren were heading to Texas and points South for the Chihuahua Express, the Lucha Libre Team went to Baja to take care of some personal business. As I've written in the past, my motivation for running the 2006 Carrera was my college buddy, Rolf, who waged a gallant 3 year fight with cancer. I last saw Rolf as I passed through San Diego on our way to the 2008 Carrera, he passed away the day we drove through San Diego on our way home from the race. A memorial to him was painted on our car and it brought smiles to the faces of thousands as we raced 2000 miles through Mexico.

In memory of Rolf

His dying wishes were to have his ashes dispersed at his favorite surf spot in Pacific Beach (San Diego) and in San Felipe, Baja California where we had so many epic camping trips during our college years. After he passed, we took care of the Pacific beach portion of the deal last Fall. There was an estate sale that followed and the money gleaned was used to purchase food, clothing and toys for an orphanage in Tecate, Baja California. My 2006 Lucha Libre Racing Navigator, Ted Donovan, researched and vetted the orphanage and painstakingly noted the ages and sizes of the children in order to purchase new clothing for each child.

Last Friday morning, 10 college buddies assembled at Ted's house to load the van and hit the road. Laughing and joking, we listened to 80's music on satellite radio, as we drove South to Tecate.
After all we heard about the US cracking down on vehicles heading South into Mexico, we crossed the border uneventfully, there was no search of our 15-person van for weapons or other contraband. After we arrived, we learned that Mexico was on a time zone an hour behind us. With nothing to do, we stepped into Caliente, the Sports book, to have an early morning beer and to place a bet on the March Madness NCAA Tournament. I don't follow college basketball, nor am I smart enough to gamble, so I spent my money on a bag of treats from the panaderia next door.

At the newly prescribed hour, we met our guide in the Zocalo and departed to find the orphanage. 15 miles South of town we turned down a dirt road and began a 40 minute search for the elusive structure. After a few stops to ask for directions we found the large, recently built home. We drove up and Ted jumped out and knocked on the door. An American man in his late 30's answered. He knew nothing of our visit, but welcomed us in. A dozen very clean and well dressed children were in the large living room adjacent to the front door. The American women running the house had Mennonite-like head coverings and were attending to the duties of the morning. We explained who we were and what we were doing. They OK'd our mission and we began unloading the van. The first boxes contained toys and a jolt of joyful electricity ran through the children.

Happy children at the the orphanage in Tecate

We unloaded the van quickly and said our goodbyes. Armed with fresh directions, we were in the van and on the main road headed back to Tecate in no time. Ted and our guide discussed their favorite taco stands. They agreed that they liked the same one the best. Upon arrival tacos and sodas, in those heavy, returnable bottles, were ordered and we sat down to a tasty feast. The realization that my calling may be racing through Mexico, finding the best taco stands and tequila bars in each city, swirled through my head.

Three tacos al pastor, por favor

We said goodbye to our guide, then stopped at the beer distributor to load up the coolers, thus began the 2 hour drive to San Felipe. While our driver behaved, the rest of us did not. As soon as we were out of town, we began draining those bottles as fast as we did 20 years ago. Felipe arrived on schedule, 3 pee breaks down the road. As it was Spring Break, we were surprised not to find a single college student. Evidently, they lacked the geographical knowledge to know that the serious drug cartel problems were 700+ miles away in Juarez. 100 miles away in Tijuana, there was some crime directed towards tourists a few years ago but nothing recently. Kids, what do they know. Other than a few snowbirds from Canada and a small cadre of American retirees, we had the town to ourselves. We were staying at Kiki's a spot that we had camped at in years past. They have recently built a small number of comfortable motel rooms. Long gone is their famous sign "No dinero, no caca" as well as the Coco Loco Bar where the slogan "Coco locos make you love longer." never worked for me.

Low tide on a lonely beach in San Felipe, Baja California

Saturday morning we had breakfast and then headed to the Miramar Bar for beer and ping pong. The highlight of the day was when Big Olaf, my Con Surfboard connection, and I took each other on while holding paddles connected to a battery dispensing an ever increasing voltage of electricity. There was gut-busting laughter from the participants and spectators alike, as Olaf and I played on, screaming and taunting each other to be the first to drop the paddle. Glad to report I was the braver, or in this case, the dumber, of the duo, as I ultimately prevailed, outlasting Big Olaf as the voltage increased to the point where he finally threw the paddle.

A sticker in memory of Rolf joins the Baja and Carrera racers on refrigerator at the Miramar

Back at the beach we hired a fisherman and his 15' boat. Ten of us piled in with Rolf's urn and a bottle of Fortaleza Anejo. We headed out to Sea through calm waters. 10 minutes out, we reached the spot, Ted made some remarks and began to pass Rolf's remains and the tequila around the small boat. As group photographer, I stood up in the bow of the boat to make a shot, the Panga rolled and I lost my balance and fell. I protected my vintage Leica, but landed chin first on the gunwale. It felt like I had just taken an upper cut from Joe Frazier. I needed to stop the pain. As the Fortaleza and ashes made their way to me, I emptied both. Rolf over the side and the Anejo straight from the hand-blown bottle into me. Back on the beach, successful in my pain reduction method I proceeded punch-drunk and drunk-drunk to lie down for some sun. Unfortunately, I stepped on some glass and cut my heel. As Jimmy Buffet says; "Cut my heel, had to cruise on back home." He's right I had to get back to my room and take a nap.

Kevin takes on "Ninos de Lazaro" in an Lucha de armas

I rallied for a second and third wind, attending a family BBQ thrown for us by Lazaro, the owner of The Corona Bar. The bar is now closed, but it was the scene of many fun nights on trips past. It was a beautiful affair with three generations of his family attending and carne asada tacos worth (Rolf's) dying for. Sunday, we had chorizo and eggs and loaded up the van for the trip North. While my antics on the boat and after provided most of the entertainment we did have a bit of excitement on the road from Mexicali to Tecate. A set of headlights raced up behind us, then on came the flashing lights and siren. Banditos? Drug Cartel hit men posing as Police to rob us and steal our rented van? Were we fools to come to Baja? The uniformed Federal Police Officer motioned Ted to get out of the vehicle and follow him to the back of the van. Would Ted be shot immediately to show us that he meant business? Were our wives right, was Baja too dangerous? If I wasn't so tired and sore I'm sure one of those thoughts would have crossed my mind. Ted was now kneeling behind the van, where the Officer showed him that a trim piece was falling off the bumper, he wanted us to secure it so it didn't fall off completely. I produced a small roll of gaffers tape from my camera bag and the Officer deftly taped the trim piece securely to our bumper. Thanks were exchanged and we rolled on to the border for a 2 hour wait to cross. We showed our passports and after a question or two we were waved across. No problemo.

Sticker Stories
March 11, 2009
San Francisco, CA

Racing legend Hershel McGriff displays a Lucha Libre Racing Sticker

Since we first ran the La Carrera Panamericana in 2006, thousands and thousands of our team stickers have been handed out. Occasionally, I get a call about a Lucha Libre Racing sticker sighting. Last week, it was my sister, she called to say she saw a LLR sticker on the back window of a pick-up truck in Petaluma, California. It took me a day or so, but I figured out who the owner of the truck was and how they got the sticker. Recently, I saw a Honda Civic parked in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, sporting a LLR sticker on the bumper. I'm tickled that I don't know who owns the car or how they acquired a team sticker. The best Lucha Libre Racing sticker story comes from fellow La Carrera racer Gary Faules, originally published on his blog and reproduced here with permission.

In Lieu Of Payment

Ever experience a chain of events that intimately resulted in you being the one getting in trouble when in reality it wasn't your fault? Sort of like being in the wrong place at the wrong time or as in this case the right place but at the wrong time.

Because I had been a bit under the weather this weekend my wife and I decided to stay at home for the day to rest then later we would go to the evening mass. Each Sunday my wife lays out my jacket for me and then places the offering envelope inside the same pocket so that I won't forget it. Then as the usher comes along and passes the offering basket I reach in my pocket, pull out the offering envelope and place it in the basket. Sounds pretty cut and dried wouldn't you say?

Well it should have been and would have been had it not been for my good buddy Michael Emery. Not long ago I was visiting with Michael during the San Francisco La Carrera Panamericana Fiesta. Being the full time promoter that he is, while I was introducing Michael to a friend of mine he began handing out some of his team stickers. In the process Michael handed me one as well and not wanting to forget it I simply placed it in a place where it would not get lot or damaged. Yep, you guessed it. In the very same pocket that my wife puts Sunday's offering envelope.

So here we are as the choir is singing away and here comes the ushers baskets in hand working their way down each row as they collect the offerings. When the usher got to our row and began stretching the long handled basket in front of everyone so that he could reach all the way to where I sat I simply did what I always do. I reached inside my jacket and grabbed what I assumed was the envelope and tossed it in the basket. Everything was fine as far as I was concerned until I heard my wife gasp so I quickly looked in the direction of her horrifying gaze only to see everyone else staring at me with looks that can only be described as disturbing. It was at that very instant that I saw what the usher was looking at and without saying a word he quickly slid the basket back in my direction.

It seems nobody thought a
Lucha Libre Racing team sticker was a reasonable offering. I can only assume Michael might feel differently but none the less I quickly found the envelope still in my pocket and exchanged it for the decal. The jab in my ribs that my wife gave me told me not to expect anything special for dinner tonight.
What does all this mean? Hell I don't know but I do know one thing... I'm keeping my wife the hell away from Michael Emery for awhile. May he rest in peace.

The Fiesta was a good opportunity to catch up with racers we knew and meet a few that we didn't. Among those that navigated, the conversation always turned to how difficult it is to even get the car to the starting arch each morning and find your hotel each evening. Among drivers, the stories were usually about hazards met at speed and narrow escapes, or if they were standing within earshot, how bad their navigators were.

I had a chance to see my friends from the New Years day Anti Football Run, Conrad and Martin, who were last seen doctoring Martin's Alfa sedan on the backroads of Sonoma. Diligent readers may recall that Martin and Conrad are running an Alfa Sedan "Taxi" in this years Carrera. Through our conversation I learned that Conrad and I first met in Zacatecas, in 2001 when he was racing a Henry J with a Hudson motor. By the time they arrived in Zacatecas, the car was on the trailer and Conrad was helping the Ferrari 330 team that became my inspiration to race the Carrera. It's a small world.
The final word on their New Years day problem was a failed oil pump, closure at last.

Tequila Fiesta Success

January 26, 2009
San Francisco, CA

Tres Agaves' Ashley Miller gets a lift from luchador Chicano Flame

Technical glitches have kept me from making this update and I apologize to those of you who were on the edge of your seats waiting to see what happened at the Fortaleza Tequila Tasting last week. One of the unintended benefits of racing a Datsun Roadster is it's narrow enough to fit through a standard set of double doors. This lucky detail allowed me to park the Lucha Libre Racing Roadster inside the party room at Tres Agaves Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Lounge. As I carefully drove through the doors with 2 inches to spare on each side I thought I better make arrangements to pick up the car tomorrow. There was no way I would be in any shape  to do this in reverse at the end of the night.

Lucha Libre Racing's Joe Brubaker, Luchador Chicano Flame and Navigator Michael Emery

Chocolatier Timothy Childs and Shelley Alger sample Fortaleza two ways

Late night dancing with the Datsun at Tres Agaves

Taste the memories
January 13, 2009
San Francisco, CA

Thursday the green flag drops at Tres Agaves...another fine photo from our man Coop

A Reminder, Tres Agaves is the place to be for those who would like to help the Lucha Libre Racing Team share some Carrera Panamericana memories. Thursday 1/15/09 from 8pm to 11pm the tequila will flow courtesy of our sponsor Fortaleza Tequila. Taste the memories, see the pics, meet Chicano Flame, renowned Luchador and spread the love Fortaleza style. Tequila legend and owner of the Fortaleza Distillery, Guillermo Erickson Sauza, will be on hand to answer all of your questions on the distilling arts. Meet the Lucha Libre Racing Team and see the trusty Datsun Roadster that ate up Mexico's toughest 2000 miles with nothing more than an oil change.

Tequila & Lucha Libre
January 11, 2009
San Francisco, CA

Chicano Flame took the hair of the semi-conscious Vennis DeMarco in the mask vs. hair match

If you missed local Lucha Libre legend Chicano Flame at the Fog City Wrestling 1st Anniversary party, Saturday, fear not. The Flame will stop by the Fortaleza Tequila tasting at Tres Agaves Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Lounge this Thursday night. In the match, Flame was bruised and bloodied but ultimately prevailed to take the hair of Vennis DeMarco. Flame will stop by Tres Agaves at about 8:00PM to shake hands and sign a few autographs. He's the real deal, so if the Tequila has you thinking that you can take his mask, think again.

Anti-football run

January 5, 2009
San Francisco, CA

An Essex Terraplane next to a '58 Ferrari Tour de France sums up the Anti-football run

After we rung in the New Year, I snatched a few hours of sleep and was up at 5:30am to drive to Dad's place, 40 miles North, to pick up the Lucha Libre Racing Roadster. I haven't done a thing to the car since I rolled it off the trailer November 3rd. After I gave my Dad's Basset Hound Daisy a good 10 minutes of attention I got the garage door up. There she is, filthy in her authentic La Carrera Panamericana dirt. A quick look underneath, no puddles, good. Oil check, water check, forgot to disconnect the battery, let's see if she'll start. A little choke and off she goes like it's Zacatecas and we're ready for the last day of the Carrera. My 12 year old son Robert made the trip with me and on 3 and a half hours sleep was a little cranky. We pulled out of the garage and drove down the street to get some gas. 4 gallons of Premium was all she would take. Time to get the gloves and hat pulled tight for a 3o minute drive to Poggio in downtown Sausalito. Bundled for the drizzly cold we arrived at 8:00 on the dot. Coffee time.

Mike Young's 160hp Datsun, strains to keep up with our 90hp racer

We get the releases signed and get in line for coffee and a hot chocolate. The line's not moving. I see Martin Swig and say hello, then it's Randy from, and Laurence Anderson, a local Rolls Royce Specialist and his neighbor Eric Zausner, a fellow Carrera racer who has a fantastic Ferrari collection. I'm back in front of the Lucha Libre Roadster for a minute and see Bruce Trenery, who runs Fantasy Junction in Emeryville. Bruce raced in the La Carrera Panamericana for the first 5 years it was run and has some great stories to tell. I parked next to Mike Young who's driving his 1967.5 2000 Datsun Roadster. I thought it would be neat to have both of our cars next to each other but his car really makes mine look like a beater.

We follow a Lancia and a 1949 Oldsmobile through Dogtown

Bruce Trenery's 1963 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale

Martin's Alfa and the Lucha Libre Racing Roadster in Pt Reyes click to see his Carrera Project

We have a few minutes to socialize and check out the other cars then the motors fire and off they go. Mike has gotten away ahead of me and I pass a few cars to work my way up to and by him as it's always better to have your mechanic following. We have a nice run up twisty Highway 1 to Muir and Stinson Beach. The '49 Olds we're following rolls along nicely although I know it's on drum brakes. He pulls over to let us go by.
In Pt. Reyes we stop for a coffee and a pastry at the excellent Bovine bakery. I saw Martin and his sweet Alfa, he's planning on running the Carrera this year. I gave him my best advice, preserve the car and beat the competition on the twisty parts, but take it easy enough to be there at the end. I also told him that Navigation was my downfall this year and that it was much harder than driving. I was following Martin out of Pt Reyes and immediately made a wrong turn, this year's route had changed slightly from last year's and I was going the wrong way. Mike Young diligently following along. 5 twisty miles later I reread the directions and made a U-turn. Back we sped, amazingly there was Martin who must have waited 25 minutes for us to realize our error and make our way back. I like this guy.

Alfa, Alfa, Alfa, oddly we drove behind the same group last year although we were all in other cars

The feeling of following another car made the drive exponentially more fun. Quickly we found another 4 cars and we were back in it. The elation was just like when I had gotten us lost on the Carrera and then we caught up to the the tail of the pack. Amazing. Martin's Alfa suddenly loses power and we all pull over; 2 Datsuns, 3 Alfa's a Morris Minor and a MG TD. Mike and Gerard diagnose a lack of spark and the failed Pertronix distributor as the culprit. Conrad Stevenson, an Alfa specialist has a tool kit in his 30's Alfa and pulls the failed distributor. The train rolls again with the Alfa's off to look for a distributor and the Datsuns back to Sausalito for Lunch. Another great day behind the wheel instead of in front of the TV.

Mike and Gerard pull over to offer a hand to a disabled Alfa, a bad electronic distributor was the culprit

When Small Cars were interesting

Fortaleza Fiesta
January 2, 2009
San Francisco, CA

"Drinks for all my friends"

Fortaleza Tequila and Tres Agaves Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Lounge invite you to a night of sensational Tequila sampling, fabulous Mexican Cuisine and La Carrera Memories from the Lucha Libre Racing Team.
See up close and in person the not-so-speedy-but-super-reliable Lucha Libre Racing Datsun Roadster.

Join us at 8:00pm January 15th at Tres Agaves 130 Townsend Street at 2nd  San Francisco 415 227-0500
This not-to-be-missed fiesta is free, if you have any questions.

Tequila legend, Fortaleza's own Guillermo Erickson Sauza, will talk about his approach to distilling at the Distillery of the month Dinner which precedes our event. Tequila aficionados will get to taste tequila alongside a coursed meal, while Sauza speaks on Tequila and the distilling arts.
The dinner is from 5:30pm to 8:00pm the cost is $85 per person.

Reservations can be made by contacting Ashley Miller at Tres Agaves 415 227-0500

Feliz Navidad
December 24, 2008
San Francisco, CA

Feliz Navidad 2008

and his Leicas
December 3, 2008
San Francisco, CA

Navigators chat caught by Coop and his Leica M6 on Tri-X

Coop captures 90hp set to launch when the green flag drops

These two gems arrived in my Lucha mailbox just before Thanksgiving. They were sent by fellow Carrera Co-Piloto and artist "Coop." Unfortunately, Coop's ride spun a bearing in qualifying. He spent most of his time shooting the race with a Leica M6 (film) and a Leica D3 (digital.) While saddened by his misfortune, I am happy to see his work. To check out his Carrera photos visit his Flickr page.

From the Co-Pilotos seat

November 22, 2008
San Francisco, CA

Co-Piloto and photographer during a transit stage Oaxaca

We saw more crashed Mustangs than any other make

Grazing cattle on a speed stage

We passed this truck before we found out how well the rocks were stacked

Flat-out at a bit over 100MPH trying to pass a Cement truck racing us at 95MPH

Skid marks into a turn on a Speed stage outside of Zacatecas

Learning how to win
November 21, 2008
San Francisco, CA

2008 LCP winner Bill Beilharz (on right) doing his homework in 2006 training with the Lucha Libre Racing Team
also pictured LLR Crew Chief Russell Roach (center) and the FBI's Most Wanted Man; Glen

Quote of the week from race winner Bill Beilharz: "The way my car is geared it will only go 180 MPH but it gets there fast. " The quote was lifted from fellow racer Gary Faules excellent blog. Bill has posted brief descriptions of his day by day experiences in winning the 2008 La Carrera Panamericana.  The highlights include: timing fiascoes, heat exhaustion, seats that become so hot they smoke, helpful gas station attendants that pull your hood pins so your hood goes flying open during the next speed stage, passing the Mexican Rally Champion who was driving the car that was supposed to be making sure that the road ahead is all clear, sliding into and through several concrete posts, spinning into a section of grasshopper infected tall grass, beating the former World Rally Champion around the race track at Queretaro, and slowing down just enough to allow grazing cattle to cross the road on La Bufa. If you ever wondered what it's like to be in the car that wins this race, this is a great insight. Bill is too brief and humble to do justice to all the true hair raising adventures he and Jorge had but it is a good start.

Post Race

November 17, 2008
San Francisco, CA

On Friday I heard from Gerie Bledsoe, the US Director of the La Carrera Panamericana. He has sifted the wrecks and crashes out of the final race results and has compiled his list of unofficial "official" finishing results. The Lucha Libre Racing Roadster moved up ten spots to 70th from the La Carrera Panamericana list which had us at 80th. 107 cars started in Chiapas and 89 crossed the finish line in Nuevo Laredo. 7 cars ran in the Exhibition class, their results do not feature in the finishing order. Lalo Leon, director of the La Carrera Panamericana, said that this year's cars were "faster and more durable" than in previous years.

Our finish place has been a source of pride and pain for me. We had the least amount of horsepower of any car in the race other than the 1959 Veggie Oil Mercedes. If you've been following this site, you know that they broke down on day one and then spent 5 days fixing their tow vehicle before driving 24 hours straight to meet the race at the finish line in Nuevo Laredo. We ran like a Japanese watch, strong and trouble-free. In Mexico City our mechanic Carlos, dialed in the timing and
adjusted the carbs. He changed the oil in Aguascalientes. In another heavy day of repairs Brent used roll bar tape to repair the glove box. We ran this Carrera and the 2006 race on the same set of tires and brakes. The pre-race reccomendations of Gary Faules and race preparations of Mike Young and Greg Tuetken paid off in a trouble free run. Unfortunately my navigational skills left much to be desired and added unesscessary stress to an already stressful event. Gerie said I should have the navigation and timing down by my 4th or 5th Carrera.

Post Race
November 11, 2008
San Francisco, CA

My email inbox today had a link to a fine set of photos from Mexican racing photographer Enrique Cedillio.
I've added a few choice images below. To view his Picasa Web Gallery click here.

Using all 90hp we thundered past the Mustang, believe it or not 

Getting my morning exercise running our time card up

The menacing Studebaker of 2008 Carrera winner Bill Beilharz, sporting a Lucha Libre Racing sticker

A horrific crash, the navigator of the Studebaker reportedly escaped with bruises and a broken leg

Post Race
November 06, 2008
San Francisco, CA

Team Lucha Libre Racing 2008 L to R Dan Brubaker, Michael Emery, Joe Brubaker, Brent Zerull

Now a word from our sponsors
November 04, 2008
San Francisco, CA

Tequila Fortaleza made in the tradition of our grandfathers

Baja Bound, insurance for all Mexico

Con Surfboards the legend lives

The people that helped make it happen

Hi ball energy drink and Japanese Nostalgic Car Magazine

Super sponsor Mike Young and Datsun

The passing of a pal
November 03, 2008
San Francisco, CA

Rolf Metzger, a real pal 1960-2008

We have a winner

October 30, 2008
Nuevo Laredo, Mexico

Bill Beilharz winner 2008 La Carrera Panamericana

Finish, race day 7
October 30, 2008
Zacatecas to Nuevo Laredo

Awaiting our finishing medal in Nuevo Laredo

Mmmm hmmm

Locals squint to get a look at the Lucha Libre Racing Roadster as they cross the finish line in Nuevo Laredo

Not how you want your car to look at the end of the race, although this one finished under it's own power

Finished in fine shape an oil change and timing adjustment was all we needed

Race day 6
October 29, 2008
Aguascalientes to Zacatecas

We distributed the last of the school supplies in Zacatecas, one lucky child also got my iPhone

A couple of happy boys in Zacatecas

A happy girl in Aguascalientes

Fans wave on the back roads of Aguascalientes

Dan Landon readies the "Nadar in '08" Corvair for the final day behind the wheel

Race day 5
October 28, 2008
San Luis Potosito Aguascalientes

An orderly procession into Aguascalientes

Doing my part to keep under dressed women warm

Cowboys on the road to Aguascalientes

In transit following a Euro Chevy through some road construction

Race day 4
October 27, 2008
Queretaro to San Luis Potosi

Our man on the street in Queretaro

Rush hour as we depart Queretaro

Miguel, our super, fan sees us off

Chrislana, navigating for her husband in a Studebaker, while her two sons drive their own Studebaker

Jalpan, a beautiful stop for service and lunch

Our filthy little race car before the 10th stage of the day
Race day 3
October 26, 2008
Mexico City to Queretaro

Doug Mockett gets the Power down leaving Mexico City

We had a great day in the car, marred only by navigational mistakes getting to the starting arch and to the last racing stage at the Autodromo, in Queretaro. We moved from 102 to 59th overall. Stormin' like Norman. Our "Rope a Dope" strategy is starting to pay off. The car is running strong. Carlos our mechanic from Mexico City dialed it in and Joe said it felt like he put a new engine in it. We now have fans, a couple that we met in San Miguel, they're decked out in Lucha Libre Racing bling, following the race and cheering us on. Amazing.

Making friends with the man

Through the arch at the end of our 1st stage

Boys in the crowd trying to get a look at the parade of race cars

Francisco's Datsun 510

Happy Joe after our arrival in Queretaro

Into Mexico City
October 25, 2008
Oaxaca to Mexico City

Almost the last to arrive we were amazed by the crowd that stayed

A very rapid transit following a Lincoln at over 90mph down into Mexico City

Our lucha libre change purse got a workout with all the tolls

The crowds of Tehuacan
October 25, 2008
Oaxaca to Mexico City

The local paparazzi were relentless

Fearing our 15 minutes of fame were running out we inched our way through the crowd

We eventually succumb to a local TV interview and a massive autograph session

Joe gets busy signing autographs

Trying to depart Tehuacan, as slow as trying to enter

Race days 1 & 2
October 24 & 25, 2008

Chiapas to Oaxaca and Mexico City

This Sunbeam Tiger had a rough time on the 1st day, both driver and navigator are ok

A Vette and Papa Gregrory's Studebaker in transit

A tamale seller brings some Lucha style to his bucket

Rebar bridge another classic from the disorganisers of the Carrera

Tom and Paul in the propane-powered Lincoln were the first of several casualties we passed

A Mescal seller in Oaxaca

The ancient press produces 2000 bottles a year

Hauling away the thatch

When your tow rig needs a tow, Team Sol shine spent 8 hours in the tow rig retrieving their tow rig

Ron Lee's Kurtis rolling to the starting grid in Chiapas

I don't always drink beer, but when I do...

Primaria Escuela
Amado Nervo
October 24, 2008
Chiapas, Mexico

Fourth grade boys delight in exploring their bags

Happy recipients of the Lucha Libre Racing School Supply bags

Fifth grade girls proudly display their bags

Professor Jorge
October 24 2008
Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas

Long time friend of the Carrera, Professor Jorge lands 70 bags for the children of his village school

Painting the Datsun
October 23 2008
Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas

The long task of painting the hood is finally underway only 4 hours after it was supposed to be finished

A film crew stops by to record the masterpiece

3:30AM on race day, the finishing touches are applied

Arrival in Chiapas
October 21 2008
Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas

The first one off the trailer wins

John Gregory, father of Hermanos Locos directs the unload

Gerie's brew crew L to R Bob, Al, Brian and Hans

The drivers get younger and younger

A big fan of our little car

Synching the carbs, three stooges style

South to Chiapas
October 19 & 20 2008
San Miguel de Allende to Chiapas

Thankfully, Brent was behind the wheel for the hairy drive South

How strong they look until they tie on the mask and step into the ring

Lucha Libre is everywhere

A verdant country under black skies

San Miguel de Allende
October 18, 2008
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Hershel McGriff winner of the 1st La Carrera Panamericana (1950) with Brent and Joe

Local girls having pan and jam

Checking out the fine machinery and getting to know our fellow Carrera racers

Getting a chance to make a new generation of La Carrera fans

Check out how relaxed McGriff is behind the wheel, I like Doug's hat and he has the best navigator by far

Following the vegetable oil Mercedes and a XKE to the car show downtown

Not the alley one should drive their trailer down at 1:45AM, thanks again to the Transit Police for the rescue

Rolling to San Miguel
October 16-18 2008
California to San Miguel de Allende

Our first Carrera Car sighting, at our hotel, in El Paso

My favorite way to eat fried chicken cooked in biodiesel if possible

Making some friends along the way

Ahronn, the first of many in Mexico to get his photo taken standing next to the car

The last visit
October 16, 2008
San Diego, California

Ted and I stopped by to see Rolf today. Hard to put the visit into words. He was unable to open his eyes but managed a smile when we told him his cartooned likeness (probably stuffed between two buxom women) was going on the car. He would ride with us the length of Mexico, no D cup would be safe. In 1984, as a "wet behind the ears" college freshman, Rolf was one of the first people I met. As he had gone to junior college for 5 years before transferring to SDSU he knew a thing or two about having fun. He decided to make my roommate and I his "projects." His goal was to teach us everything he had learned in 7 years of college in 3 months. I think he succeeded. If nothing else, he taught me that having fun was important, to surf and spend time in the ocean was sacred, to laugh was critical and to laugh at yourself was the best. Vaya con dios amigo, we'll miss you.

Dan and I got on the road and I called Ted to say thanks for arranging the visit with Rolf's mom. I told him how sad I was. Not missing a beat Ted says "Yeah, I got in the car and was nearly crying, crying that you're doing the Carrera without me." Most of the day was squandered on things I should have done weeks ago. We ran a number of errands, checking a multitude of things off our list. We hit the road at 3:30 PM and arrived in El Paso at 3:30AM PST 5:30AM local time, ouch.

On the Road
October 15, 2008
San Francisco, California

Car builder Greg Tuetken gives her one last look and says "Have fun down there."

After a quick stop at Sears Point raceway to pick up a fresh set of tie-downs we settled in to the rhythm of the road. We began hitting the Hi Ball energy drinks and got to San Diego easily. Cantina Mayaheul was hopping several of my good friends were there and the ceveza was cold. We sampled Los Abuelos Fortelaza Tequila and a good time was had by all. Next stop El Paso.

Carmen Walden
October 15, 2008
San Francisco, California

Carmen Walden Development Director Lucha Libre Racing

The irrepressible Carmen Walden delivers another batch of school supplies. On our last day in town, Carmen called, she had another donation for me. She gleefully said: "I have $10 from the cook (from Zacatecas) at a local Mexican restaurant and $40 from a woman at the gym." The donations were rapidly transformed into several bags of pens. Her only request is that I weld a sidecar onto the Datsun and take her next year...

Shannon, my checker at the .99 store kicks in a buck "It's for the kids."

Racing for Rolf

October 14, 2008
San Francisco, California

Rolf (center in gray) on his 48th birthday, this Summer, surrounded by his friends the Palleys

Today was my last day at home. We load the car tomorrow at 6:00AM (hopefully) and take off for San Diego. I need to see my old pal Rolf one last time before he's off to the great Cantina in the sky. I was getting all the last minute things done that one has to when departing on a venture like La Carrera Panamericana. I called Ted to check some details on an event slated for Wednesday night. We will be back
at Cantina Mayahuel, our 2006 San Diego launching spot for another tequila tasting and fiesta. Our new sponsor, more on that later, is throwing a little party to show the car to a few VIP's. Ted told me that our pal John Hughes challenged the Palleys (collective name of our college buddies) to come up with some money to: "help Emery help the kids and memorialize Rolf on the race car."  Ted, ever the collector of funds, told me: "the check is in the mail, just do something great on the car for our old pal." What a great group of Palleys.

Classic Rolfie, poolside in San Felipe circa 1986

Running errands in the Cobra
October 13, 2008
Marin County, California

Holding our line on the freeway on ramp

After a 900 mile round trip in the Roadster she needed a quick clutch adjustment. Joe was itching to get in another drive, so he met me at Brent's shop. We left the car and went for a quick lunch of Mexico City-style tacos at La Fiesta. They serve the best tacos Al pastor I've had. That's saying something as I eat tacos Al pastor nearly everyday. Brent got the clutch adjusted and we went for quick ride over to Greg's to pick up a set of hood pins. Joe and I went in the Roadster and Brent and James followed in the Cobra. Joe stomped on it and held our line as we entered the highway on-ramp. As the saying goes "there's no substitute for cubic inches" and in flash they were by us and braking hard to get down to double the speed limit as they entered the 101. Luckily, I got a ride in the Cobra on the way back to the shop. Wow. The only similarity I could draw between the Cobra and the Datsun is that people look and usually smile as you go by. Although in the Cobra you don't have long to see them.

Japanese Classic Car Show
October 12, 2008
Irvine, California

Jay Leno, whose first car was a '67 Datsun 1600 Roadster, promotes the LLR team

Wearing a down jacket, wool scarf, a Ben Davis knit cap and wool-lined winter gloves, I climbed behind the wheel of the Lucha Libre Racing Roadster. It was Saturday night and I was headed out for a little drive. An all-nighter to Irvine for the Japanese Classic Car Show. With my ipod to keep me company and lots of caffeine (a 16oz Howling Monkey from the secret stash) to keep me awake I rolled out of Greg's garage at 11:00PM.The Roadster ran flawlessly. Should have worn thermals though, as I had to stop every 100 miles to get out of the car, get a hot drink and warm myself up. At a truck stop in Bakersfield at 3:30AM I bought a 6 pack of socks, two pairs went on my feet making three pairs on each foot. The other pairs became gauntlets to keep the frigid wind from going up my sleeves. I also bought a roll of electrical tape to redo my headlights but first I taped my pant legs shut to keep the wind from blasting there too. At 4:00AM I put on a pair of goggles to finish the outfit. Needless to say, I was quite the sight when I stepped out of the car at 7:45AM. Another Howling Monkey helped me through the day and eventually I warmed in the 75 degree sun.

Bam Bam and Bambino (Ted and Teddy) came to the show

After I got the car cleaned up I took a walk to find Ben and Dan Hsu who were setting up the very busy
Japanese Nostalgic Car Magazine booth. Ben gave me a copy of the magazine and I was astonished to find that our story was told in 9 pages. I sat down and began to read. It might have been the exhaustion of the all-nighter but tears dripped off my cheeks as I read about my friend Rolf, the
impetus for doing the race,short timing it after a 3-year battle with Cancer. As I gathered myself together my co-piloto,Ted Donovan and his son Teddy arrived. Teddy jumped into a new LLR shirt and Ted gave me the latest on Rolf's condition. As they say nobody gets out of this life alive. Rolf's just going a lot sooner than he should have. Teddy took his turn behind the wheel as he missed the irony in Ted's voice as he said "Daddy drove in this car with Loquito for 2000 miles can you believe it?"

A JCCS family and their new Lucha Libre Racing Bling

The PR wheels keep turning
October 10, 2008
San Francisco, California

We made the cover, can't wait to see it in person this Sunday

The new issue of Japanese Nostalgic Car magazine will be at the Japanese Classic Car Show this Sunday.
Somehow we made the cover, yes we are the tiny red car in front of the yellow building. I can't wait to see the coverage inside. To subscribe or check out the blog click it here.

Our BAT friends with a timely reminder that if you're still solvent paypal us a fiver

Those thoughtful folks at are keeping an eye on the calendar so they know that we're leaving next week, they also know that we're still scratching for a sponsor. If you still have a weekend home and moved to cash 2 weeks ago, think about helping us out. Guerrilla marketing at a deep discount. If you're in a financial meltdown like the rest of the world paypal us a fiver and feel good about helping some kids in need.

Introducing Brent Zerull
October 10, 2008
San Francisco, California

Our new mechanic with a few of the cars in his collection

It's time to introduce our mechanic, Brent Zerull. The Lucha Libre Racing Team is mighty fortunate that this guy has signed on to help us along. Brent is a retired contractor, he's currently fulfilling a life long dream to be a full time hot rodder. He has a dandy collection of cars, a few are seen in the photo above. He says he's happiest when he has grease under his nails, and if we're real lucky he won't get too happy on our trip. At Joe's 60th birthday party, last Saturday night, I got my first chance to ask Brent about his concerns regarding the trip. He thought for a moment and then in a flash of self-deprecating humor said "You guys finding out I don't know what I'm doing." After looking at his car collection, it would be hard for anyone to say he doesn't know what he's doing. He's taken almost every car he has, stripped it down and redone it beautifully. I see a very thoughtful car builder with an eye for tidiness and detail, unafraid to make an upgrade where needed. You should see the independent front suspension on his '65 Mustang. Amazing. Each one of his cars is subtle in their magnificence. We are very lucky to have him.

"The clutch on this thing is just like the clutch on my Cobra"

One week to D-Day

October 08, 2008
San Francisco, California

It’s crunch time at Lucha Libre Racing. We leave October 15th, one week from today. The car’s undergone quite a transformation lately. Car builder Greg Tuetken has nailed everything on the punch list and I'll be driving her tomorrow. Two Sundays ago, we pulled the motor and transmission and installed the newly rebuilt unit from Mike Young. Long time readers will note that Mike also supplied the very tidy 1967.5 1600 that is now powering the Lucha Libre Racing Roadster. To make it easier to get the motor out we pulled the radiator, now a aluminum Ron Davis racing unit, also from Mike Young. The radiator is now backed by a 16" Spal fan, better than the 12" that was on before. We also replaced the hoses, the 160 degree thermostat and added water wetter for good measure. Cool, I hope, very cool. The new transmission went on without much trouble and the entire thing was assembled and back in the car in time for Greg to catch the season premiere of The Simpsons. The only thing that went wrong was that the wiring began smoking when we turned the lights on to go for a short drive. Greg assures me he will have her rewired in a jiffy.

Still have a 401K or a house, buy a shirt or a sticker

On my first drive after the transmission swap there’s a new clunk on start up. It may be the exhaust bumping on the frame. It may be something more serious.  There's also a new and alarming tapping noise on acceleration. Other than the aforementioned, the new transmission feels good.

School supplies stacked sorted and ready to go

Last Saturday I organized and inventoried all things related to Lucha Libre Racing piled up in my garage.
The first group inventoried was the T-shirts. We have all sizes in stock and NEED to move ‘em out.
If you’ve been longing for a Lucha Libre Racing T-shirt now is the time. Operators are standing by.
After the race I won't have any left and I'll be too deep in debt to make any more so get 'em NOW. If you are hankering for a hat send in your order now too as they will be in stock for a day or two at most. Red or Black.

The next item was to count and repack the school supplies. We have 307 packs of pencils, (10 to a pack)
275 spiral bound binders and 100 yellow legal pads. The Canvas bags are at the printers and will be ready by the time we head out, hopefully. I’m still looking for a great deal on pencil sharpeners and pens. Anyone?

Lucha Libre Racing approved El Tonayense taco truck

Nearly all of the school supplies have been donated by Carmen Walden. Carmen is a new friend of the Lucha Libre Team. She learned about our trip to Mexico through Gerard Chateauvieux a friend of Mike Young’s who was on the short list of mechanics for the Mexico Travel squad. Carmen came on like gang busters. She is a true adventurer and loves to support direct micro-philanthropy.

My first interaction with Carmen was to receive a donation of school supplies for the team. Then she pitched our project to Airline Ambassadors, a foundation formed by airline workers that does great philanthropic work around the world. Quickly email exchanges between the chairman of Airline Ambassadors and Carmen were flying back and forth. Airline Ambassadors agreed to donate school supply kits that I could pick up from their warehouse at LAX.  Unfortunately, just after I got comfortable that the donation was a done deal, they performed an audit to see how many kits they had. They didn’t have any, newborn baby kits and wheelchairs, but no school supply kits. Bummer and a reminder to "never count your chickens before they hatch."

Friend and supporter, John Hughes, tries out the navigators seat. Ouch

Undeterred, Carmen began a campaign to raise the supplies herself. She recently passed the hat at a meeting of a philanthropic group that she belongs too. They voted to donate $100 worth of supplies to the cause. SCORE!Another day while shopping at Targetshe excitedly called, she found a bargain on 70 page spiral bound notebooks, how many did I want her to pick up?  All? OK. She bought the entire amount the store had. Then she went to the nearest Target and did the same. Following her lead, on a trip to see the car this week I did the same. Buying every 70 page spiral notebook that Target, Novato had in stock. She found a bargain on 10 packs of pencils and bought the entire lot as well. I’ve been meeting her after I pick up the kids from school, we park on Guerrero Street @ 19th to make our clandestine swaps. Bags and bags of pencils and spiral bound note books shuffle from her trunk to my car. Now they're neatly packed, counted and waiting to go to Mexico to make some kids very happy.One person can make a difference.

Mike works the hammer

Helping me to find an alternator bracket

With his trusty companion, Jack

The next person to mention, again, is Lucha Libre Racing sponsor Mike Young. This guy can not do enough to help us out. He dropped a pair of U bolts with me the other day before he took off on a trip to Southern California. All it took was a question about do U bolts ever break? "Not usually," he said, "With your 1" body lift, you might have changed the geometry and stressed that link." Or it might have just broken after 41 years.
If you're in the market for a beautiful Datsun Roadster or early Datsun 240Z
Mike is a true gentleman, a square dealer and he's going broke helping this team get to Mexico.

In the two years that I’ve owned this car I can not say enough about the help the Mike has provided. Every problem I’ve had he’s diagnosed correctly, usually over the phone. If Lucha Libre Racing were the Cash Cab he’d be the grand prize winner. I guess 35 years working on the same marque, makes one an expert. The next time I see him he’ll be loading a plastic crate full of all the things that can break or fail for us to take to Mexico. Hopefully he'll get them all back unused. No more failed water pumps to hamstring us this year.

This just in, Greg has sorted the "clunk" on start up, the transmission mount was bumping the frame, fixed. Fixed is the tapping on acceleration, the air cleaner was touching the brake master cylinder, fixed. New wiring installed and working. Rear axle seal replaced and no longer leaking. La Carrera ready?
I'll answer that question in the next two days. Lot's of miles will go on her before the weekend.
If all is well I'll drive her to Irvine for theJapanese Classic Carshow on Sunday.
If we get to Irvine and back OK, then we'll be La Carrera Ready.

Champoli Strive, Encourage, Inspire
September 29, 2008
San Francisco, California

Found this one on a recent Google search. I'm glad that the folks atChampolifind our story inspiring. Currently it seems a little exhausting. The Lucha Libre Racing Roadster has been getting the once over twice as we get down to approximately 2 weeks before departure. So much to do, so little time, so little money. Last week I picked the Roadster up from team sponsor and Roadster expertMike Young. He had taken care of a number of niggling items, none mission critical but all made the car nicer and easier to operate. After a test drive, Mike suggested a front end alignment. He didn't like the way the car pulled to the left if you let go of the wheel, didn't  like the aggressive camber on the front wheels either. When Mike can't do the needed work himself he goes to great lengths to get you into a shop where one of his friends will take care of you. Unfortunately, he didn't have any friends in the alignment business currently but called all of his other friends with repair shops to find out where they would go for alignment work.Larkin Brotherswas the recommended alignment shop by the "Friends of Mike" collective. In the interim I had run the car into a shop that I had bought tires from several times in the past 20 years. The counter guy was very helpful and was a Howling Monkey devotee. He peppered me with questions about why the Monkey wasn't being sold any longer. He knew all the details of the stuff, that it was a local company, distributed by the Miller Beer folks, that they went to a higher caffeine content at the end and best of all it was only .99  his key ingredient.

On the rack at one of Mike's many friend's shops.

Unfortunately after my new energy drink expert/tire guy got her on the rack and took a good look at the front end he determined he couldn't align the front end with out a number of rare and expensive parts. I thought it was time for a second opinion and went with Mike's friends, friend Larkin Brothers. After the car was assigned to the alignment guy he put it on the rack and I slipped into the "no customer" area for a look and a chat. The first thing he said is that he knew theLa Carrera Panamericanafrom when he was a boy growing up in Oaxaca. The race went a mere three blocks from his house. He demonstrated how he would stand with his mouth open and his hands over his ears as the cars raced by. A good omen. The second opinion from my La Carrera Panamericana fan revealed that indeed parts were needed to make the front end perform. Mike Young to the rescue. He was in the San Francisco branch ofDatsunsports.comand I dropped by to pick up the pieces. I showed him the spare ball joint from my 1966 parts car and Mike pronounced it better than the newly manufactured ones.

Hungover in Lucha Libre bling, forcing a smile for my neighbor who wanted to take my picture.

The next morning the car went back to Larkin brothers with a box of front end bits. Confident that they could do the job I went down the street for a breakfast burrito. I had an outrageous hangover to cure and a breakfast burrito and a bottle of Mexican Coke seemed to be the first step in getting rid of it. Now that I'm in training full-time for the Carrera, I'm eating spicy Mexican food everyday and trying to gradually ratchet up my alcohol consumption. In the spirit of training, I had been drinking the night before with my old College roommate and an old girlfriend that we both had a "thing" with, at different times though. We stayed out late and drank too much and I was in the car on 3.5 hours sleep and hungover, perfect conditions to simulate the Carrera.
Still feeling rough later that afternoon when I picked up the car, I was amazed at how great the car felt,
$500 well spent. For the first time since I've owned the car she tracked straight and true.

The following day I was feeling smug as I drove the car across the Golden Gate bridge to meet my Lucha Libre Racing TeammateJoe Brubaker. He's been itching to get out in the car and I've been putting him off until she was right. I finally felt that shewasright and on a glorious Indian Summer day I was zipping along at 75MPH just a few minutes from my destination when the transmission slipped out of gear. It felt as if I had pushed in the clutch and popped it into neutral. Well I guess I was in neutral because when I went to shift back into top gear there wasn't any. Losing speed in the far left lane, I checked my mirrors, recently relocated by Mike, so that I can actually see out of them, and darted across the lanes of traffic to get to the shoulder. I worked her into 3rd and slowed down to exit the highway. Just when she was running so well...

In the market for a fast and clean Porsche Carrera?

I met Joe at S Car-Go a high performance Porsche shop where he was having a few things done to his beautiful (now for sale) Turbo Carrera. Remember why Porsche calls their fastest model Carrera? Some old race in Mexico back in the 50's I hear...I broke the news to Joe and tried to spin it that now we would be racing on a rebuilt transmission. He had the "what can go wrong next look on his face" as we drove back to his place. I assured him that the car would be ready and sorted by the time we left for Mexico but I'm not sure that he was convinced. Hell I'm not sure that I'm convinced.

A wall of used transmissions and yard full of spare body parts at Mike's Roadster Ranch.

The problem when a transmission goes out on a Datsun Roadster is that the motor needs to come out to get the transmission out. Mike Young to the rescue. In two years of calling him with various automotive maladies he's never made an incorrect diagnosis. His remedy is what amazed me. He suggested I drive to his Roadster Ranch and pick up a rebuilt transmission out of his "valuable parts container" I nursed the Roadster up the highway with out the use of top gear and eventually rolled her into the shop of my car builder Greg Tuetken. Dear old Dad met me there and we proceeded on to Mike's Roadster Ranch in Dad's minivan. A hour and a half later we had arrived. Mike gave us a tour of the place and I shot some photos. We pulled the rebuilt unit from the weather-tight container and loaded it up. A smattering of other parts made up the rest of the load and after an hour or so we headed out into the darkness back to Greg's shop. Mike gave me the rebuilt transmission with the agreement that after we pulled mine he would get it rebuilt and I would pay the tab, he would wait until I was back from the Carrera as he knew I was out of funds, amazing. We dropped the parts off and dad drove me back to San Francisco, I filled his gas tank and sent him home it was 11:30 PM he had to get home as he knew his basset hound would be worried about him.

International news sensations
September 12, 2008
San Francisco, California

"Si se puede!"No longer the sole provenance of Barack Obama's supporters,"Si se puede"is now the rallying cry for the the Lucha Libre Racing Teamsponorship developmentdepartment. Want to bring your advertising message to 3,000,000 people lining the roads from the rural villages of Chiapas to Mexico City?

Wondering if you should advertise on a fast car or slow car? Bet on a first place finisher or last place?
Fret no more, Lucha Libre Racing is here to help."We believe that advertising on the last place finisher offers more value for your advertising dollar as your message stays in front of your potential client longer"says
Lucha Libre Racing's Michael Emery, 2006 Carrera Panamericana veteran and navigator for this years assault.

Bigger than CNN and Fox news combined (in Puerta Vallarta)Banderas Newshas picked us up and is promoting our cause. Known to their readers as "Puerta Vallarta's liveliest website." Banderas urges travel and tourism business' not miss this bargain international advertising opportunity with the Lucha Libre Racing Team. Get in while you still can. Prime positions are available now. Operators are standing by. Sponsor now, sponsor often.

Si se puede!

Jalopnik plugs the Lucha team

September 09, 2008
San Francisco, California

Murilee Martin and the good folks over atJalopnikdropped this plug into cyberspace today. If you're not readingJalopnikalready, you should be. Check out their sensational coverage ofCarrera'spast. I've got to poach a few of theirpoached videos. After you watch Rusty's Crash, scroll down to the French documentary of the 2005 Carrera. Although the dialog is mostly in French, the sound of the Carrera cars at full speed transcends language and is positively intoxicating. Fast forward to the 44:45 minute mark to see a horrific "off" on La Bufa, in Zacatecas. Amazingly, both driver and navigator sustained only moderate injuries.

Jay Leno's Garage
August 25, 2008
San Francisco, California

My epic Summer road trip has come to an end. Six weeks and 8000 miles in the Sequoia with my three kids is about as much of me as they can stand. I've been busy attending to a multitude of details since returning. One surprise was a score for the PR column. I found the Lucha Libre Roadster had made it's way to Jay Leno's Garage website.  You can see it for yourselfhere.
July 25, 2008
San Francisco, California

Professional Pitchman, Michael Emery, for

The Lucha Libre Racing team got some PR help from our friends Thinking about buying an old car? This is a site that you need to check out everyday. Even better, if you're like me and just want to look at old and interesting cars, this is the best site I've found. Check 'em out.

Summer update

July 19, 2008
San Francisco, California

Piloto, Joe Brubaker

Introducing my racing partner and friend, Joe Brubaker. Joe will be handling the driving for the Lucha Libre Racing Team this year. Yours truly, Michael Emery, will move into the navigators seat. Ted Donovan, my navigator for 2006, will move into Director of Advance, Webmaster and School Supply Distribution Specialist. Joe's nephew, Dan Brubaker, will handle a multitude of duties for the team, including 2nd mechanic and fixer of all problems, babe magnet and correspndent for The lead mechanic job has been filled. More on that soon. For more on Joe's are work check

He'll get more than a sticker this year

Here's the untold story of the Lucha Libre Racing Team and our running of La Carrera Panamericana. In the Summer of 2005 an old College buddy was riding his bike at the beach and had a stroke. He was 45. Quickly, he learned he had brain cancer and a 4% chance of survival. That Winter, 20 of our college pals gathered to spend some time with a friend and talk about life. I decided it was time to check something off my list of grand adventures. After talking about it for 5 years, Idecided to run La Carrera Panamericana. The idea was to run the race as a fund raiser to help my friend pay off his medical bills. As it wasmy friend didn't want me to publicize his plight andMedi-Cal eventually picked up his medical expenses.

I just returned from a trip to San Diego to spend an hour with my friend for his 48th birthday. I doubt he'll get to see his 49th.
My friend loved Mexico. In the infancy of the internet he founded Mexiconline, dedicated to promoting travel and tourism to Mexico. My running of the Carrera this year will be a reminder that life is short, you must strive to live fully each day. This year, instead of a memorial to my friend, we've decided to do something to help the people of Mexico that changed both our lives. We are raising money to bring school supplies to rural schools on the race route. Our goal is to outfit 500 children. You can help us help the kids by buying a sticker, a T-shirt or by having your name painted on the car.

During our weekend in San Diego to see our friend, Lucha Libre Racing managed to get out and promote the brand. We visited San Diego's newest gourmet taco shop and had a great meal. If you are in San Diego or visiting any time soon pop into theLucha Libre Taco Shopand tell 'em that Lucha Libre Racing sent ya.

Tacos adobado, tastes like al pastor to me.

Bam Bam Famoso in his prime.

Tiny chows down on a carne asada burrito.

The San Diego road trip had meant to be a durability test for the Lucha Libre Racing Roadster. In the shake down Gary Faules found combustion gases in our coolant. Blown head gasket? Couldn't be. We just had that head redone. Mike Young pulled the head and we sent it to the machine shop for pressure testing. The head came back OK. No explanation for the leaking gasket. Unfortunately, when we had the head off we found the number 3 cylinder had some old corrosion that wasn't allowing the rings to seat. First the top end, now the bottom end too? Out goes the old U20, nothing but a waste of time and money. Team sponsor Mike Young is now building a 1600 for us. The upside is that we'llfinallyhave a motor that we can count on. Another benefit is that we will be back in the Historic A category where we ran in 2006 instead of the much larger and faster Historic A+ category. Stay tuned.

Gary Faules and Mike Young look things over.

Making friends at Lahina's beach house.

Sports radio icon Chris Ello, Xtra 1360 on your AM dial.

Sometimes I wonder
July 8, 2008
San Francisco, California

The Lucha Libre Racing test mule at Pismo Beach California

Another off-road Datsun Roadster fromJapanese Nostalgic Car.Sometimes I wonder if racing a Datsun roadster in La Carrera Panamericana is the right way to go. Looks like I should try the BAJA 1000 next.

It's official, we're in the race
July 1, 2008
San Francisco, California

Check out our competition

At long last the powers in Mexico have posted our entry. It's official, the Lucha Libre Racing Roadster will compete in the Historic A+ class.Piloto Joe Brubaker, will make his Carrera debut driving the #286 Datsun with the navigating duties being handled by yours truly, Michael Emery.

Datsun legendMike Younghas come on as a sponsor. He's been looking
overthe motor and has already found the pesky coolant leak that has plagued the car for months. Mike's loyalty runs deep and he's not afraid to show it. I received several calls that someone was seen wearing a Lucha Libre Racing T-shirt at the prestigious Palo Alto Concours d' Elegance. That someone was Mike Young, 30 years experience fixing Roadsters, an in-house parts collection that is unrivaled, andournewest sponsor. Stay tuned for more.

Professional driver, do not attempt
June 23, 2008
San Francisco, California

"Closed course, professional driver. Do not attempt."

In his new capacity as Director of Race Preparations,Gary Faulesof California's Best Racing Team assesses the Lucha Libre Racing Roadster's fuel flow under heavy acceleration. Gary reports the Lucha Libre Racing Roadster to be "very sound" although he has made a short list of upgrades that team engineer Tim Arnett will fix. The first area to address is a better radiator. Back in the day, Pete Brock and Bob Sharp professed the stock system adequate for sprint racing. They weren't running La Carrera, so an upgrade makes great sense. Eagle-eyed Datsun racerRon Carterspotted a Honda Civic del Sol aluminum racing radiator in a Roadster at the Solvang show. That may be the best low buck solution yet.

"On location, touring 'round the Nation."

From the good news department: Ben Hsu ofJapanese Nostalgic Car Magazinereports that the photo shoot of the LLR Roadster went well. We will be featured in the next issue. Unfortunately, the next issue is experiencing "some delays" it should be on the newsstands before we head to Mexico this October.Nissan Sport Magazine
is also going to run a feature story on us in their Fall issue covering Nissans 50th Anniversary. Look for it on newsstands October 2008. They will also run full event coverage in their Winter issue, out in early 2009. Potential sponsors take note.

Junk in the trunk.

As I've said before, get 'em while they're hot. T-shirts and stickers are in stock. Operators are standing by.

Modifications and more
June 5, 2008
San Francisco, California

Tope Killer, a hybrid concept for the Baja 1000andLa Carrera Panamericana.

I've named Gary Faules, ofCalifornia's Best Racing Team, Director of Race Preparations for the2008Lucha Libre Racing run of La Carrera Panamericana. He's been very concerned about how to prepare the LLR Datsun Roadster for the grueling 6-day 2000 mile race. His preliminary ideas blend the best of the Baja 1000 witha little more clearance for those topes...He knows a heck of a lot more about racing than we do, so I must say, we're open to all ideas. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting development.

Motoring J Style
May 26, 2008
San Francisco, California

The Lucha Libre Racing Roadster fools them again.

The headline writer would put it something like this: "Rain dampens turnout at Motoring J Style." David Swig's Motoring J Style show shined through the rainy weather because of the reunion of theBREracing team. Pete Brock, the founder of Brock Racing Enterprises is a genius car guy, who's best know for having penned theCobra Daytona Coupefor Carroll Shelby. To Datsun owners he's best known for running thedefactoDatsun factory race teams of the late 60's and early 70's.

Michael Emery and Pete Brock, who says "Lucha Libre Racing, what a great name for a racing team."

Driving a little-known Hino,Brock began his foray into campaigning Japanese cars.In 1966he won the largest sports car race on the West Coast in front of 100,000 fans at Riverside Raceway. After Toyota took over Hino, then the largest producer of trucks in Japan, Brock thought he had a contract to develop the Toyota 2000GT for racing. In the 11th hour, his former employer, Shelby swiped the deal and Brock was out. In a move fueled by revenge, Brock went to Toyota's rival Nissan and pleaded to campaign their cars. Nissan USA wasn't interested thinking that their Fairlady Roadster was already outdated. Brock went straight to Nissan in Japan and found favor with legendary Mr Katayama. The Datsun BRE partnership was founded. Through the racing successes with the Roadster, 510 and 240Z Datsun became the top selling Japanese brand in the United States. For more history ofBREcheck'sown web site.

Ron Carter's beautiful 240Z and the most famous Datsun of all time the #46 BRE 510 driven by John Morton.

Brock's vintage helmet. He still looks like he's fit, if not wild enough, to jump in any car and race.

BRE mechanic Kirk Allegro, went on to own and campaign an ex-BRE Roadster to 3rd in the Nationals.

Floyd Link, BRE Datsun engine guru. At 79, he's still building engines for his son's vintage racing Datsun 510.

ARadio Controlled BRE 510 is checked against the original for color and design accuracy.

Three of the famous ones together in Nissan's Field of Dreams...or in the case of LLR "Field of Schemes."

This lovely Motoring J Style Girl braved the cold drizzle in her hot pants to hand me this award.

Mike Young pulled an award for his exquisite 1964 Datsun Fairlady. This car is for sale. Email for more info.

Fresh stickers and t shirts in all sizes are now in stock. New design, check it out and buy 'em while you can.

The Bling is back
May 19, 2008
San Francisco, California

Just in time forMotoring J Stylethe coveted Lucha Libre Racing T-shirts are back. Get 'em while you can. Available in all sizes, men, women and kids too. White with red ringer collar and sleeves, women's shirts are slightly sheer and fitted, a bit racy I might say. While I'm shamelessly promoting the team I might as well let it fly that Lucha Libre Racing will be racing the 2008 La Carrera Panamericana. There I've said it. The cat's out of the bag. In addition to raising money for the car, we are also raising money to purchase school supplies, that we will distribute along the 2000 mile route.
More details to follow. Stay tuned.
Corporate and business sponsors needed.

Motoring J Style
May 14, 2008
San Francisco, California

This Saturday May 24 2008 catch the Lucha Libre Racing Roadster, BRE'sPete Brockand Nissan Racing legend John Morton with his 1972 Trans-Am winningDatsun 510. Count all 399 other cool old school Japanese cars too. Check out drifting and rally-cross demos, J style swap meet, the hottest new car mag out thereJapanese Nostalgic Car magazine, dozens of vendors and beautiful Asian girls in mini-skirts. My good friend Ron Carter will be there too, although sadly, he won't be in Lucha Libre attire. Nothing like a big man in tights.  Solano County Fairgrounds, Vallejo California. Be there or be square. If you see my mini luchadors, take a minute to support the cause and buy aLucha Libre Racing sticker.
Muchas gracias amigos. For more information check out:
Motoring J

La Carrera Reunion
May 10, 2008
South Pasadena, California

Ron and Elaine Lee hosted a lovely
reunionfor Carrera veterans at their beautiful South Pasadena home and garage. To say that Ron's collection of cars iseclectic would be a gross understatement. In the photo above he and Elaine are in front of his 1955 Kurtis. This car was built to run the 1955 La Carrera Panamericana. Unfortunately, due to the Mercedes Benz tragedy at Le Mans in 1955 and the high number of causalities from prior years of the Mexican Road Race, the 1955 La Carrera Panamericana was never run. The Kurtis would have to wait until 1991 to race in Mexico. To read more about its history check outGary Faulesblog.

Ron is the type of owner who really drives his cars. The Kurtis just returned from running the crash-filled2008 Chihuahua Express. His 1932 Chrysler Indy car just completed a 130 mile reliability trial.
For the 2008 La Carrera PanamericanaRon is building an El Caballo de Hierro, of sorts. Judging from the craftsmanship on the cars in his collection, it should be a show stopper.

A few of Ron's cars

Abuelito andCarrera Director Eduardo Leon with his granddaughter.

Ron and Gerie Bledsoe North American Director of the La Carrera Panamericana.

Brilliant artist, navigator andblogger"Coop"

Four views of his 1932 Chrysler two-man Indy car.

The reunion was a good time. I drove Gerie Bledsoe and Gary Faules from the Bay Area to Pasadena and back. On the way down we were so busy chatting that we missed the Highway 152 turn-off and had to cut over at Coalinga. The road we cut over on was spectacular. I'm sorry that I wasn't driving the Lucha Libre Racing Roadster as the Toyota Sequoia just doesn't have the same handling characteristics. As the scenery blurred by, the talk in the car turned to the need for a "Carrera California." With the recent demise of the No Frills Iron Bottom Rally there is a void that an enterprising person and Rally organizer could fill. As Gary and Gerie are encyclopedias of racing knowledge. I took advantage of their captive status and asked every stupid question that I could think of. Their sage advice was well worth the time and gas. I wish we had a few more miles to go as I have many more stupid questions.

Ron's "Saville Row" Roadster, stripped down in bare metal and gorgeous, the D-type isn't too bad either.

Unfortunately, the reunion was a mild mannered affair. We had booked hotel rooms in case the after party had us needing them. As it was, a good time was had by all but the festivities ended at 8:30PM. Good thing Bam Bam Famoso and Loquito didn't attend. As it was, we decided that it would be better to force our wives to kick out their boyfriends by 2:00AM and we headed home.My wife was visiting her Mother for the weekend so I had the house to myself. Luckily the parking Gods smiled on me and I was able to land a parking spot in my neighborhood at 3:30AM. More reunion coverage atBret Haller's unlimited class blog.

Datsun Roadster Show
April 29, 2008
San Francisco, California

Over the weekend Lucha LibreRacing took dear old Dad to Solvang, California for the 21st Annual Datsun Roadster Show. Under bright sunny skies, 79 Roadsters were displayed at 1st and Mission in the charming Danish town. One of the highlights of the show was meeting Ben Hsu, editor of the new magazine and websiteJapanese Nostalgic Car.Devoted to Old School Japanese cars this magazine is well done and a great read. Check out the Roadster show coverage on the website under"events"If you like what you see take the time to let them know and subscribe.

A photographer checks out the details.

Lucha Libre Racing in good company.

The dreaded plaque build-up.

Datsun racer Ron Carter, was the impetus in my attending the show.He emailed me many months ago to invite me in an effort to bolster the showing of Racing Roadsters. Ron who was also traveling with his father, won the class with his beautiful 1967.5 2000cc Roadster.His car is truly stunning.

Ron's multiple award-winning Roadster.

Ron speaks from experience.

I am happy to humbly report that Lucha Libre Racing was awarded 2nd placein the Super Modified class.Tim Arnett (my engineer) has also helped Ron, working as his pit chief at the Coronado Classic last year. Ron wears his Roadsterrather thandrives it. He's a big guy and makes Bam Bam Famoso positively look like a shrimp.In addition to his beautiful Roadster he has a perfectBREreplica 240Z and a racing 510 project that is in restoration. Check his Datsun collection out at hiswebsite.

RonCarterand his Dad, Mack. Check out Ron's hat

Datsuns on display at Mendenhall's Museum of Gasoline Pumps and Dry Racing

The weekend's festivities opened at Mendenhall's Museum of Gasoline Pumps and dry Racing Hall of Fame in Buellton, California. Jack Mendenhall who started the museum must have been quite a character. Learn more about him and his Salt Flat Racing and Baja Desert Racing at theDry Racing Hall of Fame website.

On display at the museum is the Banshee, a wild and woolly off-road racer. Based on an Olds Cutlass but with a custom fiberglass body that was shortened 14" by George Barris. The mid-engined monster was driven by actor James Garner. He sat sandwiched between the 455 cu in motor--encased in a sheetmetal shroud--placed where the passenger seat would have been, and in front of twin fuel tanks where the rear seat used to be. The tanks were simple metal affairs, with massive Le Mans style flip-up caps. No sign of the high tech fuel cells seen in race cars today. Garner, often a top finisher, drove the Banshee to it's only victory in 1972 at Riverside.
As he approached the finish line he began to check out the crowd andcrashed just short of the finish line,as he pitched his helmet in disgust he learned that due to his substansial lead he was awarded 1st place.

The Banshee is currently offerred for sale onEBaywith a Buy-it-now for $75,000

The Banshee

Check those vintage details onMendenhall's own 1972 Cutlass off-road racer.

More Datsun Roadsters
April 26, 2008
Solvang, California

1965 Datsun 2007 Best of Show winner.

Jeff Torres' 1967 1600 Roadster

Seen on the street.

All the pretty Roadsters, all lined up.

One smooth three-banger
March 25, 2008
San Francisco, California

Webstats update
As of March 25, 200813764visitorsfrom 41 countries have checked out
"Howling Monkey"and various versions of "Howling Monkey Energy Drink" lead all other search strings generating 34% of the March traffic.

A sad note about my sponsor, Howling Monkey. In a conversation with the Monkey Man himself, Minott Wessinger, I learned that the "Monkey" is on hiatus. Manufacturing has been stopped and inventory is selling at markdown. A measly 99 cents will get you a "Monkey"nowwith 25% more caffeine.

I recently took the boys to
Scottsdale, Arizonato see the Giants during Spring training. I had two all-night drives (Thursday and Sunday) to watch 3 baseball games. Howling Monkey got me through. The trip from San Francisco down took 11 hours. During which, I consumed one 20-ounce Starbucks decaf on the way out of town at 7:30PM and two "double shots" in a can, between 11PM and 3AM. Dark chocolate covered espresso beans a bag of David's sunflower seeds and some beef jerky served as dinner. While coming down from the last "double shot" at 3:30AM I opened a can of Howling Monkey. Quickly, I was scanning the lonely road for a well lit gas station, hopefully with a clean (and open at 4AM) bathroom. Thus found, I became the personification of a Ralph Steadman drawing. Howling Monkey, man that stuff works.

I was wide awake at 8:30AM as we arrived at the Giants Stadium. As luck would have it, we pulled in with Peter Magowen, Managing General Partner of the orange and black. Strung out on the Monkey, having driven all night, razor stubble and hollow vacant eyes to prove it, I began to babble incessantly about rookies Manny Burriss and Brian Bocock. Players that we knew from the Cape Cod League that are in camp with the Giants. Eventually, Robert persuaded me to let Mr. Magowen get into the stadium so he could go to work.
As I said before, Howling Monkey, man that stuff works.

Robert lands the Bat boy job for the Seattle Mariners.

Bengie Molina dreams of being a famous luchador and navigating La Carrera Panamericana.

Had the Roadster out this past Saturday. On my second shakedown loop from the Lucha Libre Racing garage to the Rouge et Noir Marin Cheese Factory, I decided to open her up and see how she does. Third gear, pulling to 5000 all was well, but at 5200 she ran out of ummph and began to cough. I pulled over and popped the hood, as I suspected, one of the spark plug wires had become loose. I suspected this because I had just read Tim Arnett's latest race report from Laguna Seca where his Roadster was the smoothest running 3-cylinder in the race. His Roadster crapped out at 5200 as well. Back in action, foot to the floor, through the gears, 5000, 5500, 6000 into 5th at 6200 rpm just into 3 digits on the speedo as I let up. These Datsuns are so tough that they can run smoothly on three cylinders. Come to think of it, I probably drove 125 miles home from Tim's shop on three, wouldn't surprise me...

Gerie Bledsoe, US Dictator/Director, of the the La Carrera Panamericana says it's time to get your money in. The Entry fee for the 21st La Carrera Panamericana is $5500 before the end of March $6000 after that,ifthere are any slots left. The interest in the LCP is higher than ever, no doubt due to the brilliant and humble website showing all comers how fun this race can be.

We need a sponsor, muy rapido.

Support our team, get promoted
March 05, 2008
San Francisco, California

Uli Becker Named President and CEO of Reebok

CANTON, Mass. & HERZOGENAURACH, Germany--(BUSINESS WIRE)--adidas AG has appointed Uli Becker as President and CEO of the Reebok brand. Uli Becker, currently Chief Marketing Officer of Reebok, will succeed Paul Harrington, effective April 1st, 2008. Uli Becker will report into Herbert Hainer, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board, adidas AG.

“Uli Becker’s proven leadership and global marketing expertise make him uniquely qualified to take the revitalisation of the Reebok brand to the next level, both internationally and in the US.”
said Herbert Hainer, Chairman and CEO of the Executive Board, adidas AG.

Uli, these girls love my Adidas racing boots, mmmm mmm good.

Uli Becker is Chief Marketing Officer of the Reebok brand since May 2006. In this position, he oversees the Reebok Global Marketing Group, which includes product, sport and entertainment marketing. Prior to this role, Uli Becker was Head of Global Brand Marketing of the adidas brand and Managing Director of adidas International B.V. in Amsterdam. Under his leadership, adidas became one of the most awarded brands in the world including “Advertiser of the Year” by the prestigious Cannes Festival in 2006. Uli began his career at adidas in 1990.

Long known for thinking out-of-the-box, Uli states that his landing the CEO title can be traced directly to his brilliant decision to sponsor an unknown race team in the 2006 La Carrera Panamericana.
"Because of that Lucha Libre Racing deal, half of Mexico is wearing our product and I'm the new CEO, amazing." said Becker.

Please visit our corporate

Check your Head
January 28, 2008
San Francisco, California

With a freshly resurfaced head the Lucha Libre Racing Roadster is back on the road. It had only been 300 miles since Datsun Roadster racer and engineering genius Tim Arnett swapped out my old motor. You may remember I had some trouble with that motor during the 2006 La Carrera Panamericana. Before you scroll down to refresh your memory, in short, we lost the water pump on an speed stage that had a great altitude change. Not to mention attitude change. The ensuing service debacle (detailed earlier) led to a fool-hardy charge up a curvy mountain road, a road so steep that we had to pull over andadjust the SU's. Not knowing that the water pump had failed, we continued to climb which led to severe overheating and blowing the head gasket. After being towed15 milesby Ignacio, a fantastic local mechanic, we were able to catch up to the rest of the racers who had just enjoyed one of the greatest fiestas of the race. We replaced the head gasket and sourced a water pump but the damage was done. Months later I learnedthe headwas cracked.

After selling a few photographs to a client in the East, I had amassed the needed capital to address the damaged motor. While looking for Roadster parts on Craigslist, I found Tim Arnett. He had just sold a 1600 motor that had been prepped for the Nationals. Luckily he had a stock aluminum head, a nice upgrade from the head I had just cracked. While looking around his shop I spied several 2-litre Roadster motors. They were back-ups for his
fleetof racing Roadsters. After a little begging he agreed to sell and install one for me.

Last May after a few weeks of refurbishment, I drove the Roadster out of Tim's shop, but before I made the 125 miles to the Lucha Libre Racing garage it was overheating. La Carrera flash back #106. The problem was quickly found, the alternator had slipped on it's custom-made bracket and the belt slackened, thus the water pump wasn't turning as fast as it should and the motor got hot. Evidently the motor got hot enough that the head gasket was slightly compromised. Not that I knew that then. La Carrera flash back #108.

Summer vacation and 8 weeks of travel with the kids came and went.
In September, when they went back to school, I began to reacquaint myself with the Roadster. After a couple of 25 mile loops on the back roads of Marin and Sonoma I realized the Roadster was losing water. Lots of water. It wasn't leaking on the garage floor, it was boiling out while driving. Of course the temp gauge was only reading 160, basically normal.

Though none of the tell-tale signs were present,Datsun guru Mike Young, diagnosed the blown head gasketover the phone. Flash back #110. Both the oil and the radiator water looked normal. Another 125 mile drive to Tim's for diagnosis and repair. Eventually the problem was indeed diagnosed as a blown head gasket.

The gasket was blown in a manner that allowed the combustion gases to escape thus pressurizing the cooling water so the coolant acted as if it were boiling when it was running at a normal temperature.
Tim had the head resurfaced and then found during reassembly that the cam was slightly rubbing so after much gnashing of the teeth (mine) the head went back to have the interior "relieved" He also found that the bolt on the alternator bracket was stripped. New bolt installed complete with jam nut.

On a balmy and dry 48 degree dayI picked the Roadster up and am happy to report that she ran flawlessly,andat the proper temperature, for the 125 miles back to the Lucha Libre Racing garage. After two weeks of sitting, I checked the water levels yesterday and all looks well.

Now to find a new sponsor and get back to racing.

Glen says "Quit screwing around and buy a bleepin' shirt." Get yours today. Cervaza not included.
Operators are standing by.

New Years greetings
January 01, 2008
San Francisco, California

T-shirts are back
January 01, 2008
San Francisco, California

Not quite in time for Christmas, but in time for your New Years resolution. A very limited run of adult Mens sizes Medium to 2XL made by Gilden 100% cotton. White with red ringer trim. A faithful reproduction of the original--the hottest shirt of the 2006 La Carrera Panamericana, get them while you can. Email to order yours today $25 includes tax and shipping. "While supplies last." Side effects may include uncontrollable laughter, temporary memory loss and tourret's-like syndrome when dealing with over heating vintage Datsuns. See your doctor to find out if your healthy enough for Lucha Libre Racing. Marca Registrada.

Anti-Football Run
January 01, 2008
Sausalito, California

Lucha Libre Racing was delighted to tag along with the New Years dayAnti-Football Run. My friends over atwww.bringatrailer.the invitation, unfortunately the LLR Datsun Roadster was still in the shop working out some head troubles. More on that later.I love the Volkswagen Beetleof Senior Ramon. Ready for La Carrera Panamericana in vintage Speedwell livery. The patina on this car was spot on and I urged him to upgrade the roll cage and join us in Oaxaca this Fall.

Enter Mike Young, vintage Datsun Guru, and my go to guy for all my car related questions, who volunteered to drive me in his beautiful 1970 240 Z. This car is for sale. Original paint and refurbished mechanicals. Low mileage. See more photos of it

TheAnti-Football Runis the most eclectic car rally I've ever seen.

“In eighteen years, our drivers have learned nothing of the Rose Bowl (A retail flower shop?), the 49ers (those gold diggers?) or a touchdown (sexual harassment)”, reveals organizer Martin Swig. “And while they may be totally ignorant of football, they do know how to keep a ‘41 Buick moving mostly forward, nursing a ‘56 Alfa Romeo into a full 5,000 RPMs, or avoiding drum brake fading on a ‘39 Packard.”

Although a few new cars ran with us, the AFR is for interesting cars made before 1975. I saw a stunning VW 21-Window Micro Bus, seen in the photo with the vintage Beetle above. New and old Ferraris were there too, a new 599, and a vintage 275 and 275 Spyder, a 330and a 246 Dino. There was a RHD Aston Martin DB 5, several Alfa's from the 50's and 60's a couple of beautiful Healeys and Triumphs, a '49 Cadillac, a '33 Ford Hot Rod, a 50's Olds, and MG's and Jaguars of every era. The run included an original condition Datsun 510Wagoncomplete with Kragen after-market hubcaps,David Swigdrove his super clean Toyota Corolla SR-5.

On the first leg, Sausalito to Point Reyes, we followed a lovely Alfa and thebeautifulBring-a-Trailer 1963 Split-Window Corvette. In turn we were followed by three beautiful Porsche 356's each representing a different point in the models long run.The red Ferrari 275 Spyder rounded out the immediate chasers.

From Point Reyes to Petaluma, we chased a Lamborghini Muira S and a Ferrari 246 Dino, Amazing!
When was the last time you saw either of those models on the road, let alone both tearing up the back roads together.

We graciously let a MG and a Porsche Carrera RS jump in. The woman driving the MG was a real hot-shoe.On a four-way rural intersectionshe dove inside the Muira and we didn't see her again until lunch, she was finishing hers as we sat down to order ours. The Carrera RS eventually got by the two Italians and a few miles up the road had a nice meeting with a California Highway Patrolman. The CHP wrote him up for a paltry 12 miles-an-hour above the speed limit. Must have been those lime-green-go-fast graphics and duck tail.

The last leg of the run, Rohnert Park to Glen Ellen and back to Sausalito, had us following a stunning 1962 Bentley Continental R and being followed by David Love's, lovely 1958 Ferrari Tour de France. That's some rare company for our 240Z. The driver of the Bentley had his foot firmly planted in the plush Wilton wool carpet, he treated his three passengers to quite a ride. Mike pushed the Z hard and barely stayed with him.

The rally ended up back in Sausalito atPoggio, an Italian restaurant in theCasa Madronahotel. Mike and I had a fabulous meal in a room absolutely full of car nuts. To celebrate I had a Bloody Mary and Mike had a Clausthaler. Then we zipped back to the City as I had to make amends to my wife and children who spent the first 5 hours of 2008 without me. Can't wait for next years run.

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