Buenos Aires-Caracas: The great adventure of the TC

At the end of 1948, Turismo Carretera held the South American Grand Prix, a grueling 15.000-kilometer race. The first part joined Buenos Aires with Caracas and after a controversial final, the victory was in the hands of Domingo Marimón ...

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Quietly the South American Grand Prix de 1948 could have inspired Julio Verne to write a book in the best style of "Around the World in 80 Days" or "20.000 Leagues Under the Sea". Is that this competition was an authentic adventure of the Road Tourism since it was disputed over 15.000 kilometers traversing seven countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Chile).

Domingo Marimón was left with the victory of the Buenos Aires-Caracas.

History would have it that the first part of this test, which was played between in Buenos Aires y Caracas throughout more of 9.000 kilometers, take more relevance. But it was not on a whim, but because of everything that happened throughout their 14 stages and for its controversial ending ...

As you might imagine, this grueling marathon - which served to promote the Pan-American route - was not easy to organize. At first the race was going to start in Caracas, but the starting point was rightly changed to Buenos Aires, understanding that it would be very difficult to transport all the competitors - mostly Argentines - to the Venezuelan capital.

The start system was also innovated, giving priority to the participants. Thus, 141 enrolled They were divided into three groups: the Grand Prix winners, the winners of minor races and / or stages and, finally, the non-winners and debutants. The select group that paved the way was made up of Juan Manuel Fangio, the Uruguayan Héctor Suppici Sedes, Oscar Gálvez, Ernesto Blanco (who did not start), Arturo Kruuse, Ricardo Risatti y Emilio Karstulovic. In the second, meanwhile, stood out Juan Gálvez, Pablo Gulle, Domingo Marimón, Eusebio Marcilla, Tadeo Taddia, Rosendo Hernández y Jorge Rodrigo Daly. In the third they stood out Félix Peduzzi, José Froilán González, Daimo Bojanich, Ernesto Petrini y Carlos Solveyra Tomkinson, Among others.

Oscar Gálvez was there to win, but he wanted to.

Due to the characteristic of the event, the cars were specially prepared. The engines, for example, were decompressed and the chassis were extremely beefed up. The vehicle fleet was varied, although Ford y Chevrolet they were the majority with 65 and 60 vehicles, respectively. Also, they ran three Mercury and many others Plymouth. There were also two copies of Nash, Lincoln y Buick and a representative of Dodge and at de Soto.

The race, which started on Wednesday October 20, from the beginning had a dominator: Oscar Gálvez, who was unbeatable in the first three stages. Precisely, the third partial triumph of the Ford driver was overshadowed by the accident that cost him his life. Julian Elguea and his companion (they fell from a bridge to a cliff 200 meters high) ...

While the Gálvezs were in charge of the clocks -Juan had won the fourth stage by taking advantage of his brother's delay due to a defect in the steering bar-, Fangio was the protagonist of a great comeback since time had been lost at the beginning of race due to an engine failure. With a devilish rhythm, El Chueco jumped from the 79 º place he occupied in the General at the end of the first stage at the 23 º on the sixth day of action. He even came victorious in the fifth stage, beating Oscar by just over eight minutes. However, the Balcarceño's onslaught was interrupted in the seventh stage - already in Peruvian territory and in the middle of a revolution - by a serious accident, where his companion lost his life. Daniel Urrutia. Marcilla's gesture is still remembered from that incident, who helped Fangio and Urrutia and took them to a hospital ...


This is how Fangio's Chevrolet was left after the rollover in Chicama.

When Juan Manuel Fangio began the first part of the Grand Prix of South America made him hopeful of achieving his third victory in 1948. He never thought that this adventure would end nine days later with him in a hospital and mourning the death of his companion Daniel Urrutia. The fateful overturning took place leaving the bridge of Chicama, during the seventh stage. According to Fangio himself, he left the road when he was blinded by the reflection of the lights of his lanterns on the white walls of the houses of the town called Huanchasco, through which the race was passing. “There was a curve to the left that I didn't see. Furthermore, I believed that on the outside of the curve there was a cliff and not an embankment. So I wanted to follow the curve and the car moved, because that piece at the exit of the village was paved. When I grabbed the sand from the shoulder, the car went around and around ”, the Balcarceño reported opportunely, who had astonished in the previous stages by the great speed that he gave his Chevrolet in his eagerness to catch up with Oscar Galvez.

These tragedies produced in the first half of the competition - even two spectators died in another accident - did not intimidate the competitors who had their minds set on reaching Caracas. While some did the impossible to continue in the race overcoming all kinds of obstacles, the Gálvez brothers fought inch by inch for the victory since they found no opposition in any rival.

Multitudinous welcome to Oscar Gálvez, great dominator of the "Buenos Aires-Caracas".

As it could not be otherwise, the ending had the necessary nuances so that this adventure decidedly occupy a place in the history of the TC. In his attempt to narrow differences with his brother in the last stage, Juan went off the road. Luckily for him, Oscar helped him and towed him in with a fourth. But the good gesture of the Aguilucho was not well rewarded since the engine of his Ford noticed the effort and was seriously injured. Thus, Oscar was losing ground to the point that the first to arrive in Caracas were, successively, Victor Garcia (who stayed with the stage), Marcilla and Marimón, who, given Juan's delay, was already celebrating second place ...

When the night was already welcoming the crowd that was in Caracas, Oscar appeared towed by a late-model Buick. Taking advantage of a decline along the way, Gálvez crossed the finish line and thus, agonizingly, stopped the clocks with a difference of five hours on Marimón, becoming the winner of the test. But Gálvez's joy did not last long since he immediately Fulvio Pastor, the sports commissioner of the event, informed him that his arrival had been illegal because he had crossed the finish line with the engine off. The gesture -not endorsed by the regulation- of Federico Herrero, Oscar's companion, who started the car and crossed the finish line again.

Eusebio Marcilla finished 2nd. It was a good reward for the pilot who helped Fangio and Urrutia after the accident on the seventh stage.

Logically, Gálvez appealed the sanction; but there was no case and Domingo Marimón became the unexpected winner of the competition. Days later, Oscar would have his well-deserved revenge on the return from Lima to Buenos Aires, but that's another story ...


Domingo Marimón, winner of the “Buenos Aires-Caracas”, had to go through many hardships to reach the end of the competition. “My race was dangerous and luck abandoned me at the beginning… The first stage was easily won, but a problem with the engine temperature forced me to wait a while and consequently, I lost any chance to win. In the second, I got into a river and the engine stopped, so I also lost a lot of time. In the ninth, I was going at high speed when I felt that the car was not obeying the direction. When I got hold of it, I stopped. When I got out of the car I saw how the left wheel was going towards a ravine. I ran after her for 150 meters and lost an hour "Marimón told the Caracas newspaper "La Esfera". Finally, "Toscanito" was more than eloquent in saying that "In the end I was lucky that firstly I had accompanied Oscar Gálvez".


  1. Domingo Marimón (Chevrolet), 118h37m18s
  2. Eusebio Marcilla (Chevrolet), 118h49m59s
  3. Juan Gálvez (Ford), 119h07m59s
  4. Salvador Ataguile (Ford), 122h21m45s
  5. Daimo Bojanich (Ford), 122h30m58s
  6. Manuel Merino (Ford), 123h58m47s
  7. Victor Garcia (Ford), 124h02m00s
  8. Ricardo López (Ford), 124h14m58s
  9. Guido Maineri (Ford), 125h00m32s
  10. Tadeo Taddia (Chevrolet), 126h01m03s
  11. Juan Marchini (Ford), 126h56m11s
  12. M. Vinardell Mollinero (Ford), 127h32m06s
  13. Eduardo Orcola (Chevrolet), 127h59m20s
  14. Dario Ramonda (Chevrolet), 129h20m53s
  15. Mercury Giuliano (Ford), 129h24m14s
  16. Ernesto Baronio (Ford), 133h29m49s
  17. José Lorenzetti (Ford), 133h45m12s
  18. Fernando Nery (Chevrolet), 143h04m59
  19. Américo Berta (Chevrolet), 135h05m42s
  20. José Manuel López (Chevrolet), 135h26m35s
  21. Angel Pascuali (Ford), 135h35m54s
  22. Carlos Lagorio (Chevrolet), 137h23m01s
  23. Miguel Beltrame (Ford), 138h35m24s
  24. Oreste Casaroli (Chevrolet), 138h51m24s
  25. Luis González (Ford), 139h01m42s
  26. Alberto Provera (Chevrolet), 142h03m18s
  27. Guillermo Merenghini (Chevrolet), 142h07m59s
  28. Bartolomé Ortiz Sanz (Ford), 142h31m11s
  29. Eduardo Della Magiora (Ford), 148h31m36s
  30. Vicente Tirabasso (Ford), 149h19m11s
  31. René Nelly Pfister (Chevrolet), 151h05m32s
  32. Guillermo Martín (Chevrolet), 152h05m19s
  33. Alberto Foilloux (Ford), 152h42m19s
  34. Roman Balta (Chevrolet), 154h04m51s
  35. Rafael Leizán (Chevrolet), 155h05m07s
  36. Herminio Magaracci (Ford), 155h36m01s
  37. Luis Santos (Ford), 155h50m06s
  38. Rafael Staccioli (Ford), 157h42m08s
  39. Hermo Orihuela (Ford), 158h07m59s
  40. Jordán Senés (Ford), 161h38m22s
  41. Domingo Sanguinetti (Chevrolet), 165h54m00s
  42. Eugenio Bría (Ford), 166h04m26s
  43. José Rodríguez (Ford), 172h23m20s
  44. Américo Giménez (Ford), 175h40m20s
    Average: 80,726 km / h.

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Diego durruty

Journalist with 30 years of experience. Worked in magazines STROKE, The graphic, Coequipier y Only TC, on the Internet sites SportsYa!, e-driver.com y kmcero.com and on the radios Rock pop y Vorterix.com. He covered the Dakar rally for the German agency dpa. He currently drives Two Daring Guys, a car magazine that is broadcast on Tuesdays from 18 to 19 by RadioArroba.com; is editor of motorsport in Red Bull Argentina, columnist on the show WorldSport (AM Splendid) and in Surf & Rock FM.  He is also a teacher in SPORTS. Now you can read it on his blog: automundo.com.ar.

A comment

  1. Excellent chronicle and summary of this famous race. With so many emotions and vicissitudes… .when reading… this writing… makes you go back… to those distant times… ..1948 year of my birth… and the son of an enthusiastic runner from those decades… .Francisco Armando Cremer… Argentine lived in Chile … !!!

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