Determine Your Vehicle’s Era. NORRA Pioneers – 1967 Thru 1975

Determine Your Vehicle’s Era.
NORRA PIONEERS – 1967 Thru 1975

AGUA DULCE, CALIF. –  If you’re not sure where your vehicle fits in classification at the Yokohama NORRA Mexican 1000 let’s break it down. We will focus this installment on the Pioneer Era that spans from 1967 thru 1975. The Pioneers were incredible adventurers. Baja was wild with very few roads or towns with any modern (at the time) conveniences. Since offroad racing was brand new, incredible diversity was found in the field of 4 wheeled competitors. They had nothing previous to go on when building vehicles for 1000 miles of Baja. There were buggies, trucks, motorcycles, and passenger cars. Several factories were involved either directly, or through their race teams. SAAB, American Motors, and even Datsun were represented. Pete Brock’s BRE team entered several Datsuns in the race. Every vehicle was somewhat of an experiment. Some failed, but others were very fast in the rugged terrain like Parnelli Jones’ “Big Oly” Bronco built by Bill Stroppe. It took incredible grit, and intestinal fortitude to be a NORRA competitor considering the automotive technology of the day. Pioneer vehicles are a far cry from the technology we enjoy today, but they still managed to lay the foundation that would evolve into offroad racing. They also had a lot of fun doing it. No matter how challenging the race was, they were still enjoying Baja!

First came the Pioneers, creating the sport of desert racing…

The pioneer Era has 4 main categories; Buggies, Trucks, 4×4 trucks, and cars. Pioneer Buggies are mostly VW based cars with swing axle transmissions. They run Type 1 engines of any displacement, and have to be naturally aspirated (no fuel injection). Their suspensions are stock Volkswagen front and rear with a maximum shock diameter of 2 inches. No coilovers or bypasses. They are limited to a 100 inch wheelbase and 33 inch diameter tires. Many of those restrictions are across the board in the Pioneer Era. Stock suspensions, 33 inch tires, 2 inch maximum diameter shocks, and no bypasses or coilovers allowed. In the car and truck classes the body style has to have existed during the Era 1967 thru 1975. The Pioneer class 4×4’s need to run a straight axle front suspension as that’s what existed at the time. There is an exemption for all original cars that ran in the era that might have parts that don’t fit these criteria, but those exemptions have to be approved by NORRA. Tribute cars built today are not allowed exemptions. They have to conform to all Pioneer Era rules.

PIONEER Era (1967 – 1975)

Pioneer Buggy class
• VW Type 1 engines only (any displacement), no fuel injection
• VW Swing axle transaxles only
• Stock VW front / rear suspension
• 100” max wheelbase
• 33” max tire diameter
• 2” max shock diameter, no coilovers, no bypasses

Pioneer Cars class
• Cars conforming to Pioneer Era limitations

Pioneer Truck class
• Body style must have existed in this Era
• Stock chassis, stock suspension
• 33” max tire diameter
• 2” max shock diameter, no coilovers, no bypasses

Pioneer 4×4 class
• Body style must have existed in this Era
• Stock chassis, stock suspension, solid axle 4wd
• 33” max tire diameter
• 2” max shock diameter, no coilovers, no bypasses

Pioneer Era Categories (racing for Pioneer O/A)
Pioneer Buggies
Pioneer Cars
Pioneer Trucks
Pioneer 4x4s

Entire rule books are available at if you have any questions about your vehicle just contact NORRA for assistance. Whether you are building a brand new tribute car, or can find, and restore an original, the Pioneer Era cars and trucks are very fun to drive, and always a crowd favorite wherever they go. If you own a Meyers Manx, Baja Bug, or early Bronco, you’re set to go racing as long as you satisfy the rules. Come on down and take part in the greatest adventure in Baja; the Yokohama NORRA Mexican 1000.

### “The Happiest Race On Earth!”  ###


Beginning in 2010, the National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA) began promoting a rebirth of the NORRA Mexican 1000 rally. The unique off-road rally was co-created by promoter Mike Pearlman to consist of special stages (unlimited speed timed stages in the dirt) linked together by controlled speed liaison / transit sections (highway). The one-of-a-kind, once-a-year, five-day rally includes vintage off-road vehicles and motorcycles, as well as modern pre-runners, trucks, buggies, UTVs, bikes and  desert Rally Raid cars.

Pearlman’s late father Ed and others established the first running of the NORRA Mexican 1000 off-road rally in November of 1967, which eventually became internationally recognized and evolved into the Baja 1000 in the mid-1970’s.

NORRA enjoys corporate partnerships with Yokohama Tire, Method Race Wheels, South Point Hotel & Casino, Bilstein Shock Absorbers, STEEL-IT, RIGID, Multitool USA, Satellite Phone, Biltwell, Cerveceria Transpeninsular, PCI Race Radios, The Fab School, Schampa, K&N, Baja Bush Pilots, Mag7 Pits, the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame (ORMHOF), B3KREATIV, and many more.