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


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Mike Pearlman, talking about NORRA Mexican 1000, and the making of the Happiest Race on Earth. In the early 1960's, Mike Pearlman was a teenager growing up in Los Angeles when his father, Ed Pearlman, bought a used 1964 Toyota Land Cruiser. Ed was an avid hunter, and the utilitarian 4x4 looked like the perfect vehicle for the upcoming deer season. 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 six-cylinder Toyota motor. Ever resourceful, Ed, took the bell housing to a junkyard and found that a 265cu Chevy V-8 would fit. That Chevy V-8 woke the old FJ40 up, and Ed began hill-climbing and drag racing the little Toyota. Soon with the assistance of legendary Land Cruiser pioneers, Con-Ferr, Pearlman had a fuel-injected, hot-rodded 327 V-8 with a hot cam 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. He tried and failed, but the idea for the first off-road race, the 1967 Mexican 1000, was born.

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.

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21 episodes