By 1952, the third edition of La Carrera Panamericana had already become a legendary event that was comparable to the best rallies in the automotive world such as the Targa Florio and the Mille Miglia in Italy, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France.
During that year several of the automotive manufacturers such as Lincoln, Mercedes, Alfa Romeo, Porsche and VW sent complete equipment to compete in the event. For their part, the American companies were pressuring the organizers to create a new category that would include their cars arguing that the competition would have to be fairer.
Thus, during this edition, the Sport category was opened for small sports cars with two seats and the Standard Tourism category for four-seat production cars, cars that had a production of more than 5,000 units per year and were built between 1949 and 1952. The production cars were allowed to make modifications to the shock absorbers, the suspension, the wheels, the tires, the rear seat and the gas tank.
The route was not modified in this edition, but the rest day was eliminated so the pilots had to drive for five consecutive days, which represented an additional effort.
That year the safety of the pilot and the spectators was given greater importance, for that reason some soldiers of the Mexican army were located every 800 meters along the route and every 50 meters in the towns and cities. They were even instructed to shoot any animal that could be a danger to competitors on the road.
The Millanese Guastalla team entered three Ferrari 340 Coupés for Alberto Ascari, Villoresi and Chinetti. For his part, the Italian Piero Taruffi competed with an Oldsmobile ’88 as the winner of the first edition, Herschel McGriff.
The team that caused the greatest sensation was the Mercedes-Benz with three 300SL vehicles, two gull-wing Coupe and one Spyder. Karl Kling and Herman Lang managed the Coupés and the pilot aviator John Fitch, who knocked down several German planes in World War II a few years before he drove the Spyder.
The Germans took their participation in La Carrera Panamericana very seriously and arrived in Tuxtla Gutiérrez with a team of 23 people and 13 vehicles. They did more than 2,000 miles of tests in different sections of the route and at different heights where they analyzed everything: the spark plugs, the carburetor, the composition of gasoline and the consumption of gasoline in the different sections.
Porsche brought two 356 GTs with a 1,500 cc engine and 70 horsepower that reached a top speed of 110 mph (177 kmph). It is worth mentioning that these cars belonged to Prince Alfons von Hohenlohe, who lived in Mexico and was the national importer for the VW brand.
In the Standard Tourism category, the three Lincoln Capris with a 5.2 lt V8 engine stood out. that they reached a top speed of 125 mph (201 kmph).