By Burt Levy
The sequel to "The Last Open Road". Another hilarious ride through motorsports history with the gang from Finzio's Sinclair. Ferrari vs. Mercedes-Benz at the 1952 Carrara Panamericana, the 1953 12 Hours of Sebring, etc.
"May be event better than the original."
2000 Benjamin Franklin Book of the Year award-winner.
NOTE: As a special offer for SPEED SPORT customers, Burt will personally sign and personalize any of his books. Just include your request details in the "special instructions" box at checkout.
Reprinted from VeloceToday.com
December 11th, 2002
Of the three works of fiction by Burt Levy, Montezuma’s Ferrari will probably be read by Italian car enthusiasts first—primarily because of the title, and the stirring painting depicting the 340 Vignale Ferrari Mexico (S/N 0224 AT) on the cover. Well, the 340 Mexico ain’t Montezuma’s. Or Buddy Palumbo’s either.
S/N 0171 EL and 0161 EL
Levy recounts the 1952 Carrera Panamericana in vivid detail, putting young Palumbo in the co-pilot’s seat of a Mexican-owned and entered 212 Ferrari, which was promised to be sold to Big Ed Baumstein after the race. Levy’s Mexican driver, Javier Premal, had purchased the 212 immediately after the 1951 event, and was going to buy one of the new team Ferrari cars entered in the 1952 race, after that event was finished. In which case Premal would be free to sell the old Ferrari coupe to Big Ed, who wanted a Ferrari even more than a C-type Jag. Got that?
In the book, all of the steamy financial arrangements were made by Carlo Sebastian, a prettty good stand-in for Luigi Chinetti. Premal was loosely based on Pablo Aguilar, who indeed did buy the 212 Ferrari Vignale coupe, S/N 0171 EL, right after it won the 1951 Carrera in the hands of Taruffi/Chinetti. And like Premal, Aguilar did enter and drive it in the 1952 Panamericana.
The second Ferrari entered in the 1951 Panamericana was S/N 0161 EL, driven to second place by Ascari and Villoresi. This too, was sold to a Mexican by the name of Paco Ibarra right after the 1951 race, and Ibarra finished 7th in the 1952 race with the car. To tell you what happened to the Auguilar/aka/Premal Ferrari would be to give too much away. Curiously, both 0171 EL and 0161 EL were sponsored by Sinclair Oil Company, the same gas Palumbo’s pumped back in New Jersey. Now remember not to put names to all those fictional characters Levy created----
Where are they today?
As far as can be determined, S/N 0161 EL is still in the possession of Lorenzo Zambrano of Mexico City, restored and featured in Prancing Horse # 97. Panamericana race winner S/N 0171 EL is a bit of a mystery. The search for Montezuma's Ferrari goes on. Reader's ideas and comments are welcome.
Two of the four 340 Mexicos were sold after the 1952 race, but not to Ibarra or Aguilar, but to Allen Guiberson, who was buying more Ferraris than Big Ed could even dream about. The Mexico Spyder was owned by Bill Spear, and the third coupe was retained by Chinetti. Per Marcel Massini, the serial numbers of the 340s entered in the 1952 event were 0222 AT, 0224 AT, 0226 AT and the Mexico Spyder was 0228 AT.