Hot Rod Deluxe - - Roddin’ Scene -

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 hotrod­hill­ and make plans to be in Colorado next Septem­ber. You won’t be dis­ap­pointed.



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...


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.

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