Carlos Zatuszek

27/9/1897 - 8/10/1937

Record updated 10-May-07

Zatuszek was from Austria. In 1921 he moved to Argentina where he became well known racing Mercedes SSKs. He died in an accident in practice for the GP of Cavilia on 8 October 1937.

Carlos Zatuszek
(Karol) Carlos Antonio Zatuszek was born 1897 in what is now Lwow, Poland. However at the time it was called Lemberg and was under Austrian occupation. He was car mechanic and businessman by occupation. In 1921 he emigrated to Argentina. He travelled with a Polish fiend, Juan Marczak, who he met during World War I when they were both serving in the Austrian Army.

In Argentina they worked for Luis Viglione preparing competition cars and together Zatuszek and Marczak made their racing debut in the 1927 Gran Premio Provincia de Santa Fe.

While working for Viglione, Carlos met Julio Berndt who had purchased a 1928 7-litre Mercedes-Benz SSK in 1929. That year Zatuszek drove the SSK in many of the important 500 mile races.

He went on to win the Tablada en Córdoba in 1929, the 400 km de Mercedes in 1930, the Gran Premio Nacional de Carretera in 1931, the Premio Otoño 250 Mile race in 1931, 1932 and 1935, the 200 Millas de Tucumán" in 1935 and several 500 Mile races, notably at Rafaela, Bahía Blanca and San Francisco in 1936, and at Lavallol, Olavarría, and again at Rafaela and San Francisco the following year. He became well known not only for his success with the Mercedes but also for the amount of beer he drank during pit stops.

In 1931 he became an Argentinean citizen when he married Julio Berndt's sister and went to live in Cañuelas. His brother Miguel joined him and they started to race together.

In 1936 he came second in the first Grand Prix of Argentina run in three heats at Buenos Aires. Zatuszek won the third heat and finished second in the final.

Then in 1937 in practice for the Carrera de Casilda near Rosario in Argentina, he crashed at slow speed at the end of a long straight. The car left the road and rolled, throwing Carlos and Miguel out. Miguel landed in a field and suffered only minor injuries. Carlos unfortunately hit his head against a post by the track and died.

After his death, that particular SSK was bought by Fermín Martín, who one year later asked Miguel Zatuszek to race with him in the Tres Arroyos race, on 13 November 1938. During the race Fermín crashed into Plácido Ruiz. Martín and Miguel Zatuszek were killed, as was Ruiz and a spectator. Zatuszek's friend Juan Marczak buried the Mercedes next to the two brother's graves in the cemetery of Cañuelas.

I would like to thank Marcelo Alvarez who has been looking into the story about the Mercedes being buried in the cemetery in Cañuelas. Apparently there is no record of Zatuszek being buried there. Further investigation is underway.