I very much enjoyed the article about Ted Gildred. I learned some things about my friend that I didn’t know. His experiences with Juan Fangio in Argentina reminded me of my own. I spent most of 1968 in South America shooting movies; the most time in Argentina. While there, I visited his dealership and got to know Fangio a little. Fortunately, I speak a little Spanish, as my wife is Peruvian. She remembers when she was a little girl seeing Fangio in Lima when he raced in the incredible Buenos Aires to Lima race. The race went from BA east to Chile, going over the pass in the Andes 12,000 feet or so. Then from Chile, north to Peru over the Atacama desert! Tougher than the Carrera Panamericana.One day when I was visiting with Fangio, he said he wanted to show me the Buenos Aires Autodromo. So we jumped into one of his Ford demos. While driving in BA, people would notice him and run after the car, shouting “Maestro, Maestro!” This was some ten years after he retired from racing. When we got to the course, which is in a park, the guard waved us through, smiling and yelling, “Maestro!” So we started around with me in the right-hand seat. Fangio was in his suit and tie (as he always was when I saw him). He was smoking and had his arm out the window, driving with one hand. There was a flat, right-hand sweeper before the start-finish. The tarmac road was bounded on the right by a cement curb with weeds growing between them. Fangio took the turn in a four-wheel drift, talking and smoking all the while. Since I was on the right, I could see that he was clipping the weeds with the front tire! Amazing. Since then, when he would visit California, we would sometimes get together. On one of those occasions, I took his portrait (attached).
Become a Member & Get Ad-Free Access To This Article (& About 6,000+ More)
Access to the full article is limited to paid subscribers only. Our membership removes most ads, lets you enjoy unlimited access to all our premium content, and offers you awesome discounts on partner products. Enjoy our premium content.