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Suixtil celebrates 100 years Juan Manuel Fangio: 1911-2011

Submitted by on May 26, 2011

The 100th birthday of Juan Manuel Fangio, one of the greatest race drivers ever, will be marked in June. Many people passionate about racing celebrate this moment, including Suixtil who dressed the driver before and during his heyday. The brand takes this opportunity to recall its best moments with Juan Manuel Fangio and to pay him tribute with a special edition.

Juan Manuel Fangio, born to race

JM Fangio was attracted to cars from a very young age and became an apprentice in a garage in his hometown Balcarce. At the age of 27 he began to participate in endurance races in South America in a Chevrolet Chevy, winning the Argentinean road championship from 1940 to 1942.

The start of a privileged relationship

World War II had put an end to all the races, until President Peron established the Argentinean Automobile Club again in 1946. In the meantime, JM Fangio had befriended the owner of the menswear brand Suixtil, who helped him buy a Chevrolet powered Volpi in which he subsequently won several races. Following this success, in 1948 the Argentinean Automobile Club purchased Maserati cars and selected JM Fangio to participate in the Argentinean races, often against European drivers.

It was his victory in 1949 at Mar del Plata that was the turning point in his career: shortly after, the Argentinean Automobile Club sent two Maserati’s and two Gordini’s to Europe and asked JM Fangio to captain the team. When the team (comprised of JM Fangio, Gonzalez, Marimon and Campos) left for its first European tour, Suixtil designed their uniforms. At first there were the shirts that we now call Brescia and Angouleme; Silverstone and Monaco jackets and Francorchamps classic pants.

Ergonomic clothes accompanying legendary moments

Soon the Argentinean blue race pants (Original or Modena race pants), the yellow Rio polo shirts (as the colour of the sun in the Argentinean flag) and the Cuba T-shirts were added to the growing collection. The race pants had been designed according to the driver’s request, (a first at the time) and included details such as ankle cuffs to avoid being trapped in the pedals, elastic waistband for comfort and large pockets. The race pants were woven in a lightweight cotton to protect against cockpit heat. On the track or in the paddock, all was easily recognizable thanks to the distinctive style and embroidered Suixtil logo.

The Suixtil “brand” was soon firmly established in the world of racing and could be seen on the podium of the biggest events in the ’50s and early ’60s. As such, Suixtil became the preferred equipment of legendary drivers such as Stirling Moss, Jo Bonnier, Jean Behra, Maurice Trintignant Wolfgang von Trips, Hans Herrmann, Paul Frere, Olivier Gendebien, Roberto Mieres, Harry Schell, Masten Gregory and many others.

Suixtil was also the first brand to put their name on legendary cars like the first Volpi of JM Fangio, the spectacular Ferrari of Froilan Gonzalez or also on the OSCA from De Portago, driven by Mieres in the 1954 Panamericana.

An exceptional career…

JM Fangio, captain of the Escuderia Suixtil, dominated the first decade of F1 with 24 Grand Prix wins and 5 F1 World Championships (1951 Alfa Romeo 1954 with Maserati 250F and Mercedes W196, 1955 again with Mercedes W196 and 300SLR, 1956 with Ferrari Monza 860 and Lancia-Ferrari V8, 1957 with Maserati 250F and 300S), a record unbeaten in 46 years. He also twice won the Mille Miglia, in 1953 with an Alfa Romeo 6C 3.0 Sport and in 1955 with a Mercedes 300 SLR Sport. Finally in 1953, JM Fangio won the Carrera Panamericana in a Lancia D24. Throughout his entire career Fangio remained faithful to Suixtil, his sponsor from the very beginning. In the museum devoted to Fangio in Balcarce (Argentina), several pieces of his race gear are exhibited including a Suixtil race shirt and touring bag.

… celebrated with a special edition by Suixtil

In tribute to the centenary Suixtil is launching a special edition yellow shirt that Juan Manuel Fangio used to wear and that is exhibited in Balcarce. One design, two versions. Suixtil proposes this shirt with short sleeves, named Balcarce, and with long sleeves, named Buenos Aires. The famous Suixtil logo is embroidered on the left pocket. Put on these shirts and let yourself be driven away by the spirit of a race champion!

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