No one had ever attempted to drive forty days and forty nights through fourteen countries, spanning the globe from Argentina to Alaska. The route from Ushuaia, Argentina to Fairbanks, Alaska offers any challenger the extremes of weather and the unpredictability of international roads. But on September 12, 1964 a team of rotating drivers and three Mercury Comet Caliente hardtops sped northward through mountains, desert, jungle, and back through mountains again. The three 1965 Mercury coupes were regular production models, the same car sold at any Mercury showroom. Their assigned mission was anything but regular–to prove to the public that Comet is the world’s durability champion. After a journey of 16,247 miles, with no repairs other than routine maintenance, the trio of Caliente’s rolled into Fairbanks, Alaska on October 22, 1964.–M.S.T.
Consider the following link to a 25-minute documentary about the Carrera Panamericana road race, a yearly event from 1950-1954. Narration is provided by a driver from the U.S.A. who participated in the 1950 race. The newly made Mexican section of the Pan American highway opened in 1950, and connects southern Mexico to northern Mexico. The Mexican government commissioned Carrera Panamericana road race featured American cars and trucks such as Mercury, Lincoln, Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Studebaker. European cars Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, and Porsche raced then as well as now.
This second link offers a current account of racing enthusiasts who meet in Mexico to retrace the original race course.