The word Carrera, meaning race in Spanish has been a staple in Porsche naming sequence since the 50s. But does anyone know why? Where did this name originate from? Here is the untold story of the legendary Porsche Carrera name…
This story of ours takes place in the 1950s, a simpler time when the Porsche 911 was still an idea stirring around in Ferdinand Alexander Porsche’s head, James Dean was taking on the world, and the Cold War was getting under way. Meanwhile, in Mexico, a rather quiet place at the time, there was a race being hosted: The “Carrera Panamericana.” The Carrera Panamericana wasn’t your ordinary race however, as the name suggests, the Carrera Panamericana was a cross-country ordeal. Racing from one end of Mexico to the other, the race consisted of 9 stages, and 5 days of constant racing the best part on closed public roads. Running for 5 consecutive years (1950-1954) the Carrera Panamericana was widely considered to be the most dangerous race in the world, which is exactly why Porsche got involved.
The first time Porsche got involved with the Carrera Panamericana was in 1952, when two private entrants raced their Porsches in the event. For 1953 however, Porsche racing boss, Huschke von Hanstein aka “The Racing Baron,” was ready to officially take on the event. Von Hanstein commissioned Porsche 550 Spyders to race in the event but due to ongoing compilations only two private Porsches finished the event. But the Racing Baron returned in 1954, now with heavily modified, and purpose-built 550 Spyders for the event. The battle was a long an tough, but in the end, the two 550s flew past the finish line at a class winning average speed for the 1,908 mile race of 97.63 mph. The two Porsches, piloted by legends Jaroslav Juhan and Hans Herrmann finished 1st and 2nd in their class and 3rd and 4th overall. It was this victory that inspired the Carrera name.
Starting in 1955, Porsche began to name all its race ready models like the 356, 904, 906, 911 and 924 after the Carrera Panamericana. Porsche eventually adopted the name for the base model 911s, making the Carrera name a staple in Porsche’s history.
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