SCENE AT THE 2017 HOT ROD HILL CLIMB
Thanks to both some new and some tried-and-true events catering to the old-school hot rodder, the hobby is alive and kickin’ and building an audience of enthusiastic and faithful followers. Big-time shows and hot rod happenings have sprouted over the last few years, creating an actionpacked event schedule for those interested in periodperfect pre- and post-war hot rods and their ilk.
Among these new dynamic shows, the Hot Rod Hill Climb has staked a claim as one of the top events of the year, catering to lovers of the original hot rod movement. Not only does it feature some of the most stunning examples of early modified rides, but it’s also arguably the most family-friendly hot rod get-together of the year. The HRHC is a great way to get the whole family initiated in and involved with the hot rod hobby.
The original HRHC got its start back in 1953 in the hamlet of Georgetown, Colorado, and ran for two consecutive years before getting shut down due to politics and safety issues. Mike Nicholas, an enthusiastic young hot rodder from the Denver suburbs, resurrected the race in 2013 after reading about the original event in a 1954 issue of HOT ROD. Mike’s rehash of the event has garnered high praise for its period-perfect atmosphere and its capability of bringing choice hot rods from all over the USA to its starting line. For three years, the HRHC thrived in Georgetown. But Mike knew that to grow the brand, he would have to make changes.
Mike needed room to spread his wings, so the decision was made to bring the event to nearby Central City, Colorado. Once known as the “richest half mile” in the U.S., this old mining town became the perfect backdrop for the high-altitude race. The beautifully restored town not only has the lodgings and necessities to take care of thousands of spectators, it also had a challenging road course that could be shut down for a long period of time to cater to the hill climb race. This would now enable racers to make multiple runs with ease, something that had become an issue in Georgetown over the years.
Along with his right-handman Troy Hastings (owner of Rooster’s Rods), Mike’s wife, Amy (flag girl supreme), and a small army of workers, the crew put together an amazing show this year. A big thanks also goes out to Mother Nature herself, for whipping up one beautiful day after another on race weekend.
The festivities kicked off early Friday morning with a 75-mile reliability run through the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It was well attended with more than 150 cars making the trek. Several local clubs manned checkpoints, including the Denver Deton8tors and the Deluxe Speed Shop out of nearby Commerce City.
Saturday was a pictureperfect day in the Rockies. With almost 200 cars signed up for the event, a wide variety of hot rods was on hand, all eager to take their shot at the hairy, twisty climb into the lap of the
Rocky Mountains. The starting line in Central City is located at 8,475 feet; and with a climb of more than 1,000 feet on the road course, you run through the finish line at nearly a fivedigit elevation!
Bangers and flatheads made up the majority of powerplants in the racing rods. Racers typically changed their carb jetting to make sure the fuel mixture worked in the thinner Rocky Mountain air. The cars also went through a mandatory race inspection before taking on the course.
Once again Mike, Troy, Amy, and the crew pulled off an event for the ages. If you want to be part of the action, check out hotrodhillclimb.com and make plans to be in Colorado next September. You won’t be disappointed.
SCENE AT THE 2017 HOT ROD HILL CLIMB (CONT’D)
CENTRAL COOL CENTRAL COOL: Hot rods adorn the streets of Central City, Colorado. In the foreground is Jessica Mackichan’s ’33 coupe that she built with her dad a few years back. She’s been attending the HRHC since its start in 2013.
CARB DIET: Here Scotty Miller of Pasadena, California, works on Bobby Kenz’s ’27 Ford Model T pickup before the start of the climb, making sure his carbs are jetted properly. The pickup sports a healthy 1949 59AB flathead built with Navarro heads. CARB...
DAILY RUNNER DAILY RUNNER: Pete Stringer heads down the ramp and through the start gates in his beautiful ’33 Ford. Pete’s got several hot rods, but this one is his daily driver.
ROADSTER ROW: Drop-top hot rods line up in preparation for the first call to the starting line. ROADSTER ROW
DENVER NUGGET: Hot Rodding legend Cal Kennedy mans the T-33 (with co-pilot son-in-law John) to start the festivities. Due to the radical incline of the street at the start line, the crew built this ramp to help give racers an easier launch. DENVER NUGGET
DELUXE DELIGHT: The Deluxe Speed Shop had a pre-hill Climb party at its shop in Commerce City. Choice hot rods from around the country packed the property to the point where it was hard to move around. DELUXE DELIGHT
RELIABLE RUNNER: Joe Hickenbottom makes his way through town before the start of the festivities. His 1934 Chevy coupe was a standout, both running on the track and just standing still. It’s powered by a 235-inch Chevy six built in 1949 for dirt track...
JUMP ’N’ DRIVE: Flag girl supreme Amy Nicholas takes to the air to signal the next contestant at the Hill Climb. The barefoot wonder stayed on all day to see that every car got a fair start.
SAFEWAY: Organizer Mike Nicholas addresses the crowd at the driver’s meeting. The crew sees to it that all safety regulations are followed to the T.
HITTIN’ THE THROTTLE: Woody Bair runs his bangerpowered ’30 Model A coupe through the turns on his way upward through the Rocky Mountains. Woody runs with the Throttlers Car Club out of Salt Lake City, Utah. HITTIN’ THE THROTTLE
’33 SKIDOO ’33 SKIDOO: Tim and Linda Brown own this wild ’33 roadster, making its way through the first turn on the HRHC course. The 262ci-flathead-powered, open-air ride was a fierce runner through the elevated course.
THE FACES OF SPEED: You don’t have to look past the expression on these racer’s faces to see what it takes to run the HRHC. Jeff “Titus” Bloedorn in his channeled ’32 flattypowered roadster takes turn two real tight. The Iron Angels Fightin’ 53 is a...
THE FACES OF SPEED
OPEN DOOR POLICY OPEN DOOR POLICY: When you run hard through the turns, something’s bound to happen. Here Dan Kane of Monument, Colorado, realizes he might need to check the door latches on his Hudson Hornet before he makes his next run.
ROD ROUNDUP: Hot rods meet at the staging area early Saturday morning. Almost 200 rides made the trek up the mountain to take on the twists, turns, and elevation changes that make up the HRHC road course.