THE MAIN PLAYERS
SULLIVAN C RICHARDSON
Born to a poor family in Mexico, close to the border with the US, ‘Sullie’ was the 17th child of 20 children. A journalist and filmmaker, he led the expedition, acted as navigator and translator, and meticulously recorded its progress on paper and film.
The youngest of the group, Whitaker was the expedition mechanic who kept the Plymouth purring through the toughest imaginable conditions. In 1943-44, he drove through Mexico and Central America with Sullivan a second time in a four-wheel-drive weapons carrier, on a scouting mission for the future US vicepresident Nelson Rockefeller.
KENNETH VAN HEE
A friend of Whitaker’s, Van Hee was the expedition cook. He spent most of World War II in Trinidad, before returning to the US to work for the America Automobile Association (AAA) as a field and road reporter, driving around 90,000 miles per year. In the 1950s, Van Hee and Whitaker returned to Mexico to chart the country’s roads for the AAA.