Dave’s Carrera debut with copilot D. Rouse is a good one though some local talent was needed to keep all up to speed.

 VRS mid-day SERVICE


 One of those late nights, 2007

One of those late nights, 2007

Found in Finland

A Ford Falcon Rally car imported decades past in the era of the Monte Carlo factory team cars. A spare or a box of parts? The documentation was simply not there, but the car had a good Scandinavian rally record, was solid, needing only some added cage and “Carrerafication” . Bill said ‘Get to work” and we did.

 2008 & the Falcon arrives in Tuxtla Guiterrez, but why do they park our cars and trailers near the junk pile...hummmm?

2008 & the Falcon arrives in Tuxtla Guiterrez, but why do they park our cars and trailers near the junk pile...hummmm?

New Car means tech inspection will be a job. Here Sven moves the car along while Bill, Murray and the chief of Tech negotiate just a bit.


With it all inspected, explained and documented per above Bill and Murray are soon up to speed on the qualification prior to Fridays start.

New Car, first midday service and ALL’S WELL!!


But Dave's Not!!

Volvo 444, Dave and co-piloto Nat Mundy are down the side of a mountain somewhere north of Tuxtla. Not hurt we’re told but the car will need some work!!! We head south in a hurry!!!

 I get the body back in line

I get the body back in line

 Tim’s then got a complete front sub-frame change in short order

Tim’s then got a complete front sub-frame change in short order

 Before sun up, but done

Before sun up, but done

 It was a long night as Tim’s face shows

It was a long night as Tim’s face shows

Nearing Mexico City, Volvo at speed blasts by though the aft end still shows some sign of the down the mountain off road. GO Dave!



FIVE QUARTS OF OIL! Brian shouted into the phone as a Jet landed at the Laredo Airport to bring Murray, Brian and Bill back from La Carrera 2009. Eight days, well over 2500 punishing rally and race miles, class wins on all days but one, and a very solid overall event finish of first in class among a strong field of competitors. Yep, it’s true, the only parts the Shanahan-Smith 65 Ford Falcon required was five quarts of oil. Not even one per day!! Yea sure, there were the usual nightly safety checks, altitude tune tweaking, and driver ergonomic adjustments, but the car performed flawlessly as did both Driver Bill Shanahan and Navigator Murray Smith.

Congratulations are in order to all, not the least of which is the VRS team who, under Brian’s direction, with Bill’s insightful oversight, assembled another car that could not be stopped or beat. The pictures tell the story and a huge WELL DONE to all who worked so hard and performed just perfectly to put another Carrera properly to bed. YEP, 5 Quarts of Oil…that’s what he said!!!!

Motoring while some are having trouble, Team Shanahan-Smith-VRS and the mighty Pepsi Falcon power on to Stage wins, and a spot well up in the OA hunt!


FINITO AND WELL DONE!! L to R, Our helper, Ian, Herb, Murray, Bill, Sven, Gund and Brian!!


2010, The year of Senores Gussack Mundy & tech Ritchie (center) and their rapid Volvo PV 444


2010; proof that you win some & you lose some!! This turned out not to be the Falcon’s year. After an issue with timing and scoring proved irreconcilable , and then a motor change was needed at the end of the last day. Bill opted to spectate rather then thrash about with no end in sight. So here we see our trusty Ford Falcon still willing but unrecognized by the time keepers and so it’s ready for a ride home.


All is never lost: Being a part of La Carrera and simply the road trip and spectating is quite a treat. Hotels are accommodating, ambience exciting with culture and food to savor.

 Camino Real, the old bull ring in Zacatecas

Camino Real, the old bull ring in Zacatecas

Dave, Nat, and Chief VRS Tech man Tim bring the Volvo in well up in the standings and tidy. The smiles tell the tale!


PHOTO CREDITS: Great photos do not just happen by Accident: Thanks Kenneth…for always being in the right place at the right time! VRS staff Kent, Tim, Tracy and Brian also helped.