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This Argentinian finished fifth in his only world championship Grand Prix but it was his rivalry with Juan Manuel Fangio in the Turisimo Carretera city-to-city races that is most notable. They first went head-to-head during the 1930s on these tortuous long distance events held on the country’s open roads.
Upbringing and early racing career
The son of an engineer and one of five brothers, Oscar Gálvez bought a Ford Model T while still at school. He made his racing debut in 1937 and scored a breakthrough victory in the 1939 Buenos Aires-Concordia race. He survived crashing over a cliff during 1940 before beating Fangio to win the national title in 1947 and 1948.
The Automóvil Club Argentina entered both Gálvez and Fangio in the 1948 French GP but the team did not arrive. While Fangio forged his reputation in Europe, Gálvez was left to take on the sport’s top stars when they visited Argentina for the annual Temporada races.
He was third at Rosario in 1947 (behind Achille Varzi and Luigi Villoresi) and beat Fangio in the 1949 Eva Perón Cup when driving an Alfa Romeo on both occasions. However, he lost the Turisimo Carretera title to his younger brother Juan in 1949 who then repeated that success in 1950 and 1951.
1953 Argentine Grand Prix
Oscar Gálvez was invited to drive a works Maserati A6GCM in the 1953 Argentine GP and he qualified in a promising ninth position. The local star ran comfortably in the midfield to finish fifth. Gálvez regained the national title that year and the brothers dominated the series for a decade.
Juan scored his ninth title in 1960 before Oscar clinched his fifth championship a year later. But Juan was killed at the start of 1963 and Oscar suffered a serious accident a year later. He retired from racing although he continued to manage the works Ford team in the Turisimo Carretera.
The GP circuit in Buenos Aires was renamed the Autódromo Oscar Alfredo Gálvez in 1989 shortly before this talented but overlooked star died of cancer.