This 1972 Datsun 240Z is a Carrera Panamerica Racer
A look inside a dedicated Carrera Panamerica competitor
Few races have captured the adventuring spirit as fiercely as the famed Carrera Panamerica from the 1950s. The Mexican equivalent to the Mille Miglia, La Carrera Panamerica is a race aimed at pioneering drivers and robust cars. In the newest episode of Petrolicious, collector and vintage racer Taz Harvey gives us an inside look at his fabulous 1972 Datsun 240Z used in the Carrera Panamerica.
As Harvey puts it, the Z wasn't the first car he ran in the Carrera. Working at a Datsun dealer, he initially prepared and competed behind the wheel of a boxy little Datsun 510, before graduating to the 240Z out of the need for a taller top speed.
As it sits right now, the little Z-car is putting 220 hp to the rear wheels. That might not be a good amount for modern racers, but the 240Z tips the scales at a meager 2,400 pounds. According to Harvey, that's more than enough power for the race. "On crowned roads in Mexico, when you're going 100 mph, you're constantly putting in steering input. That's what makes it exciting…you're really going fast."
It isn't just the racing that draws Harvey to Mexico. He sees the Carrera more as an all-encompassing adventure, rather than just a motorsports event. "Racing, it's not about the race—it's about the trip" said Taz Harvey. "I mean, the trip is fabulous. Going down there, living in Mexico for two weeks, it's an adventure."
Take a look at the Carrera Panamerica Datsun 240Z in the video below.