Mike Pearlman On The NORRA Mexican 1000 The Happiest Race On Earth

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Manage episode 304061132 series 2768449
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Mike Pearlman was a teenager growing up in Los Angeles when his father bought a used 1964 Toyota Land Cruiser. Ed Pearlman was a florist and an avid hunter. The utilitarian 4x4 looked like the perfect vehicle for the upcoming deer season and delivering flowers. Not long after, Mike's friend was driving the Land Cruiser on the highway; he didn't know that you had to shift gears manually and blew up the motor. Ever resourceful, Ed found that a Chevy V8 would fit. With Pete Condos's assistance, Pearlman soon had a hot-rodded Corvette motor under the hood!

Ed Pearlman read about the 1966 record-setting run from Tijuana to La Paz on Triumph motorcycles by Bud and Dave Ekins, Eddie Mulder, and Cliff Coleman. Pearlman thought that he could beat their time in his hopped-up Land Cruiser. While searching for wider tires, he met Dick Cepek, selling farm implement tires out of his garage. Cepek traded six tires for a chance to ride shotgun. Their attempt at the record failed, but the idea for the first off-road race was born-the Mexican 1000!

In this conversation, Pearlman shares stories from the founding of the National Off-Road Racing Association, those early Baja races, and how with Eliseo Garcia Jr., they revived the Mexican 1000 as a vintage rally. Enjoy this conversation that originally aired on July 13, 2020. For a taste of off-road racing, you can join Slow Baja in the Safari 4x4 Class for non-race vehicles. We drive portions of the actual racecourse, see the most scenic parts of the racing and make time for tacos, tequila, and tranquilo!

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