La Carrera Panamericana 2018


A race through Mexico with Jeff and Chris Mason.


Automotive Restorations, Inc. and Vintage Racing Services have a long and storied history with the famous Carrera Panamericana rally through Mexico. In years past, we've supported our clients' Corvettes, Mustangs, Volvo PV544s and P1800s, and Ford Falcons. This year we had the pleasure of building and supporting a spectacular Volvo 122s for the Mason brothers. 


Our job was to get the car prepared in Connecticut, transport it down to Oaxaca, Mexico for the beginning of the race, and to keep it running in top shape over the course of the Carrera. Once in Oaxaca, it was time to give the car one final check before car and drivers would spend the next week at the limit. After passing tech and applying the requisite promotional decals to the car, the Masons took to Oaxaca’s local highways to do some testing on the open road. They found themselves surrounded by a wide range of classic rally cars and sensed that the stage was set for some serious competition. The team was confident; Jeff and Chris asked all the right questions, got communication between pilot, & co-pilot up to speed and prepared themselves for the race ahead


The Volvo Amazon is a chassis we know and love at ARI. and have had great success with in the past. Years ago, we built a black Volvo 122s to run through both La Carrera and Targa Newfoundland. The result was a wonderfully capable and reliable car that sees rally and track use to this day, as well as the occasional trip to Caffeine and Carburetors. In fact, our 122s was the inspiration behind the Jeff and Chris Mason's Volvo after they drove it during a race weekend. 


To say the car performed well would be an understatement. La Carrera Panamericana is famous for putting both car and driver through the wringer, claiming many casualties along the way. Be it mechanical failure or going off course, danger waits around every turn. The Masons and their Amazon navigated it all beautifully, performing exceptionally well across each stage and showing how robust these classic Volvos can be. As an added bonus, they were a hit with spectators! 


The end of each Carrera is a time to celebrate and 2018 was no exception. We had much to be excited about: a rally well raced, a car both well-built and well driven, with driver and navigator consistently aware of rule 1: “to finish first or well, first you have to finish!”  That they did with not a wheel put wrong and, most importantly, all enjoyed an unforgettable shared experience. Of course there’s lots more to this story, and a really an entertaining blow by blow can be found on Jeff’s website, Driving La Carrera. The smiles on all our faces and medals around each of the Masons' necks attest to the quality of this experience in the arena of classic motorsports. Viva La Carrera!


Congratulations Jeff and Chris!
We can't wait for next year.