Fangio Listener’s Guide, Part I:
The Illustrated Timeline

It’s time, folks. Today, a little history to get you up to speed. Bold bits link to images and are worth checking out for contextual immersion’s sake. Enjoy!

Juan y Eva

1895
October 8: Juan Perón born in Lobos, Buenos Aires, Argentina

1899
August 24: Jorge Luis Borges born in Buenos Aires, Argentina

1911
June 24: Juan Manuel Fangio born in Balcarce, Argentina

1912
March 12: Sixten Sason born in Skövde, Sweden

1915
November 15: Augusto Pinochet born in Valparaiso, Chile

1936
October 29: Fangio makes his racing debut in Buenos Aires,
finishing a DNF when his modified Ford Model A taxi throws a rod

1940
October 12: Fangio drives a ’39 Chevrolet to victory in the Gran Premio Internacional del Norte, a two-week, six-thousand-mile road race from Buenos Aires to Lima and back

Gran Premio Presidente Getulio Vargas

1941
June 29: Fangio wins the two-thousand-mile Gran Premio Presidente Getulio Vargas in Brazil

1942
April 2: Fangio wins the Mar y Sierras Grand Prix, the last such event held in Argentina before war-related fuel restrictions put a temporary end to racing in Latin America

1945
September: Jorge Luis Borges’ The Aleph first published in the Argentine journal Sur

1946
June 4: Juan Perón elected president of Argentina on a platform of social justice and economic independence; Jorge Luis Borges “promoted” from a state library post to a job as a market chicken inspector; Argentina begins issuing false passports and visas to fascist collaborators in Europe and becomes a haven for Nazi war criminals

1947
February 9: Perón, mindful of the opportunity for international prestige afforded by motor racing, sponsors La Temporada, a series of races throughout South America from which the most promising drivers will be sent to compete in Europe with government backing; Fangio, driving an Argentine-built Volpi-Chevrolet, wins six of nine races he enters over the next two seasons

June 10: Svenska Aeroplan AB, founded ten years earlier in Trollhättan to manufacture aircraft for the Swedish military, produces its first automobile, the SAAB 92001; under cover of darkness, the prototype logs more than 300,000 miles of secret development time

1948
October 29: A military coup led by General Manuel A. Odría ousts democratically elected president José Luis Bustamente y Rivero in Peru; fleeing amid rumors of incipient violence and martial law, participants in the Lima–Tumbes stage of the Gran Premio de la America del Sur depart three hours ahead of their scheduled five a.m. start time; that night, attempting to pass the first-place car of rival Oscar Gálvez in the mountains near Paramonga, Fangio loses control of his Chevrolet and crashes, killing his friend and navigator Daniel Urritia

Otro Juan y Eva

1949
April 3: Perón-sponsored Argentine Automotive Club (ACA), represented by Juan Manuel Fangio and Benedicto Campos and a pair of Maserati 4CLTs in national colors, arrives in Italy; Fangio wins the San Remo Grand Prix as well as the next three races he enters and two more after that; in August, he is greeted at the airport in Buenos Aires by Juan and Eva Perón, having returned to Argentina a national hero

December 12: SAAB begins production of the 92, a development of the 92002 prototype further refined by Sixten Sason

1950
April 16: Fangio joins established Italian drivers Luigi Fagioli and Nino Farina on the Alfa Romeo works team; wins in his debut at the San Remo Grand Prix

May 13: British Grand Prix at Silverstone marks the birth of Formula One, linking national Grand Prix races worldwide in a Championship Series for drivers; Fangio is a DNF when his Alfa Romeo 158 retires due to an oil leak

May 21: Fangio earns his first Formula One victory a week later at Monaco; he will win two more races but lose the season championship to Nino Farina

1951
October 28: Fangio wins the Spanish Grand Prix in an Alfa Romeo 159M, edging out Alberto Ascari for his first Formula One World Championship title

Spanish GP

1952
June 8: After missing a flight and driving all night from Paris, Fangio arrives at Monza half an hour before starting time and then crashes during his second lap; he is hospitalized with a broken neck until September and misses the rest of the season

June 20: Fangio teammate Luigi Fagioli killed during practice at Monaco

July 26: Eva Perón dies

1953
September 13: Fangio wins the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in a Maserati A6GCM, finishes second to Ascari in the points for the 1953 season

November 23: Fangio wins the Carrera Panamericana, a five-day, 2,100-mile road race from Tuxtla Gutiérrez to Juárez, Mexico, in a Lancia D24

1954
March 20: In preparation for a postwar return to Grand Prix racing, Mercedes-Benz signs Fangio to drive its W196 streamliner

July 4: After winning the Argentine and Belgian Grands Prix for Maserati, Fangio makes his Mercedes debut with a victory at the French Grand Prix at Reims, his new teammate Karl Kling placing second; Fangio and Mercedes will dominate the rest of the season, winning all but two remaining races and earning his second world championship title

July 31: Onofre Marimón killed at the Nürburgring

1955
May 26: Alberto Ascari killed at Monza

June 11: Fangio narrowly escapes injury when teammate Pierre Levegh loses control of his Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR during the 24 Hours of Le Mans, somersaulting into the stands and killing the driver and 83 spectators; it is the deadliest accident in racing history and will precipitate the cancellation of the 1955 French, German, Spanish and Swiss Grands Prix, and Mercedes’ withdrawal from racing the following season

June 16: Days after a failed military coup, Argentine naval aircraft bomb Perón supporters in Plaza de Mayo, Buenos Aires, killing 326

September 11: Fangio wins the Italian Grand Prix at Monza,
clinching his third title at the age of 44

September 16: Military leaders take power in Argentina; Juan Perón forced into exile

Argentina GP

1956
January 22: Fangio wins the Argentine Grand Prix in his Ferrari debut; he will drive the Ferrari-Lancia D50 to victory again at Silverstone and the Nürburgring and capture his fourth world championship when teammate Peter Collins selflessly turns his car over to Fangio during a routine pit stop at Monza, Fangio’s car having failed him
with a broken steering arm

1957
January 13: Snubbed by Ferrari, Fangio returns to Maserati for 1957 and pilots a 250F to victory at the Argentine Grand Prix

August 4: After a disastrous pit stop drops his Maserati to third place and nearly a minute behind the Ferraris of Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins with ten laps remaining, Fangio breaks and rebreaks the Nürburgring lap record nine times and passes Hawthorn on the penultimate lap to win the German Grand Prix and assure himself a fifth title, a victory still considered by many the greatest in racing history; decades later, a seemingly lucid Fangio makes the bizarre claim that his performance this day could be attributed to the fact that from the tenth lap onward, he was listening to the Scottish synthpop duo Strawberry Switchblade on repeat

Nürburgring '57

1958
February 2: Fangio earns his final victory, at the Buenos Aires Grand Prix

February 23: Fangio kidnapped from his Havana hotel by Castro rebels,
misses Cuban Grand Prix

July 6: At the conclusion of the French Grand Prix, Fangio announces his retirement from racing; at 24 victories in 51 Formula One starts, his winning percentage of 47.06% remains the highest in the sport’s history

August 3: Peter Collins killed at the Nürburgring during the German Grand Prix

1959
January 1: Led by Fidel Castro, the 26th of July Movement overthrows the U.S.-supported dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista and takes power in Cuba

1960
November 26: Erik Carlsson earns his first of three consecutive British RAC Rally victories driving a Saab 93

1961
September 10: Wolfgang von Trips killed at Monza during the Italian Grand Prix

1962
August 8: Sábado Gigante debuts in Chile

November 1: Ricardo Rodríguez killed during practice for the Mexican Grand Prix

Brazilian coup

1964
March 31: Brazilian president João Goulart ousted in a CIA-orchestrated military coup

April 2: Saab directors approve plans to develop an entirely new car,
codenamed “Gudmund”

1967
April 1: Sixten Sason dies

November 22: The Saab 99, Sixten Sason’s final design, is launched in Stockholm

1968
October 3: General Juan Velasco Alvarado takes control of Peru in a bloodless coup, expropriates foreign oil interests, implements agrarian and educational reform, and officially recognizes the indigenous Quechua as a national language

1970
September 16: U.S. President Richard Nixon authorizes ten million dollars to finance
Project FUBELT, a CIA operation to unseat Chilean president Salvador Allende

1971
July 11: Pedro Rodríguez killed driving a Ferrari 512M
at the Norisring in Nuremburg, Germany

1973
June 20: Juan Perón returns from exile to Argentina; Argentine Anticommunist Alliance snipers open fire on a crowd of millions gathered to meet him at the airport, killing 13 and injuring hundreds, an incident that becomes known as the Ezeiza Massacre

September 11: Chilean president Salvador Allende overthrown by a U.S.-backed military coup; General Augusto Pinochet takes power; in the following months tens of thousands of political opponents are arrested, imprisoned, and tortured in stadiums
around Santiago; thousands are executed or disappeared

Allende

1974
July 1: Juan Perón dies

1975
July 6: Peronist leaders issue “annihilation decrees” to combat leftist guerrillas in Argentina, effectively militarizing the entire country and providing justification for assassinations, kidnappings, and disappearances that characterize the Dirty War

November 25: Military intelligence leaders of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay initiate Operation Condor, a cooperative effort designed to “eliminate Marxist subversion” in Latin America

1976
March 24: Military junta takes control of Argentina,
initiates “National Reorganization Process”

June 2: Former Bolivian socialist president Juan José Torres kidnapped in Buenos Aires and assassinated as part of Operation Condor

August 1: Niki Lauda badly burned when his Ferrari 312T2 crashes during the final German Grand Prix to be held on the Nürburgring’s Nordschliefe

1978
May: Saab introduces the 900, a longer, lower, more powerful evolution of the 99

1982
January: After suffering a heart attack while attending a race in Dubai, Fangio undergoes quintuple bypass heart surgery; recovering in Buenos Aires, he receives a get-well card from one of his former kidnappers, now a high-ranking Cuban government official

1983 December 15: Argentine president Raúl Alfonsín creates CONADEP (National Commission of the Disappearance of Persons) to investigate Dirty War abuses

SPG

1984
January 13: At the Brussels Auto Salon, Saab unveils the 900 Aero (SPG in the U.S.), the first four-valve-per-cylinder, turbocharged and intercooled production car in the world

September 20: CONADEP issues “Nunca Más” report documenting forced disappearances and assassinations of 9,000 Argentine citizens between the years of 1976 and 1983 and more than a thousand more from 1973 to 1976; most human rights organizations place the total number around 30,000

November 5: Strawberry Switchblade “Since Yesterday” b/w
“By the Sea” single released on Korova

1986
September 7: Five bodyguards are killed and eleven more injured in Santiago when Augusto Pinochet’s motorcade comes under attack by Cuban-backed FPMR rebels armed with machine guns, rifles, bazookas, and hand grenades; Pinochet escapes unharmed in an armored Mercedes-Benz (witnesses, having never seen a Saab before, are unable to describe the assailants’ getaway car); in response, Pinochet declares war on “those people talking about human rights” and orders a 90-day state of siege, suspending civil liberties and effectively shutting down the press; the crackdown leads to broad international pressure for democratic elections and Pinochet loses the presidency in a 1988 referendum

Escobar

1993
December 2: Medellín Cartel head Pablo Escobar killed in a Colombian gunfight; identity of shooter never definitively established

1995
July 17: Fangio dies in Buenos Aires; interred in family tomb in Balcarce Cemetery

1998
October 10: Seeking refuge from imagined assailants, an increasingly paranoid Augusto Pinchochet persuades a Spanish judge to issue an international warrant for his arrest on human rights violations; he is detained in London and placed under house arrest

2006
December 10: Once more under house arrest in Santiago, Augusto Pinochet dies, having never been convicted of any of the crimes, ranging from kidnapping and murder to tax evasion, for which he’s been indicted

COMMENTS / 5 COMMENTS

This is a damn helpful primer for people (like me) who are not well-versed in Fangio history. Can’t wait to hear the music, PPH!

Posted by Miles on Aug 02 10 at 5:09 pm

You are not fucking around, PPH. And, Skövde! – please tell me there are songs about Småland on FANGIO!

Posted by Erin McWilliams on Aug 02 10 at 7:57 pm

ha, only in the most roundabout way i’m afraid. gotta leave something for the sequel, right?

Posted by peter on Aug 03 10 at 10:59 am

Hi there, I’m from Argentina. Very interesting your point of view about the Fangio’s line time… not bad not good, just interesting.
The song is very good and the video… wow, the video simply rocks. Fangio will never die!
Greetings.

Posted by Jaycee on Aug 07 10 at 8:43 pm

Wow, this is a great concept album. I just finished writing about Fangio on my blog, a bit conceptual itself–I am seeking to re-experience the races one-by-one, in order, since 1950. I’m up to ’58 and Fangio just retired from full time racing, so it was timely that I happened upon your album on Spotify (I bought the itunes version as well and will likely pick up the vinyl for the album art alone).

Posted by Travis T. on Jun 04 13 at 2:28 pm

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