Who says stock cars need eight cylinders under the hoods? The Turismo Carretera series in Argentina is the world’s oldest continuously running racing series and the current iteration, which has remain largely unchanged for almost 40 years, runs high-revving versions of American straight-six engines around the country’s road courses. It’s a glorious racing series that is huge in its home country and totally obscure outside of it.
The short version of the story is that very few of the cars exported to or built in Argentina had V8 engines, so there just weren’t any around. What were around, however, were American-built inline-sixes: Chevy 230s, Chrysler 225 Slant Sixes, the Australian-based Ford 221, and the AMC 230 (called the “Cherokee” engine by TC). The Argentines dropped these six-holers into their ungainly tubeframe cars (above), roughly silhouetting the country’s Chevy Coupe SS, Dodge Polara GTX, Ford Falcon, and IKA-Renault Torino (a license-built, Rambler-based Argentine car that picked up the Renault name in the 1975 Renault buyout of AMC).
The basic formula has remained unchanged since the 1970s and the built six-cylinder engines rev like their American designers wouldn’t believe: The rev limiters set by the series are all north of 8,500 RPM. What does that sound like? Well, here’s the qualifying run at the 2016 season finale at La Plata with young phenom Elio Craparo aboard his Dodge-Cherokee (The series at some point stopped running the Slant Six with Dodge chassis running the AMC-based engine instead) with a camera pointed directly at the tachometer so you can see just how crazy the Argentinians have wound these engines. They certainly don’t look slow, that’s for sure.