Hot Rod Hill Climb, Old Fashioned Fun in Colorado
Resurrected from its classic 1950s beginnings and brought back to the Colorado Front Range in 2013, the Hot Rod Hill Climb, put on by Nick’s Hot Rod Garage has once again become a “must see” event among automotive enthusiasts of all generations. I will once again be onsite for this year’s Hill Climb scheduled for Sept 15-17 to provide coverage for Fuel Curve.
Regarded right up there with the likes of the Race of Gentlemen and Speed Week at the Bonneville Salt Flats, there’s no denying that this increasingly popular event is taking the hot rodding community by storm.
The original hill climb was but a distant memory when local hot rod enthusiast and shop owner Mike Nicholas of Nick’s Hot Rod Garage brought the event back to Colorado in 2013. Originally run in just 1953 and 1954, the original hill climb was actually a response by local hot rod timing associations to the Denver Sports Car Club that had been bragging about their trek up Leavenworth Mountain, just West of Georgetown, Colorado.
Unfortunately, the running of the Hill Climb was cut way too short. Shortly after the 1954 race, the local governor put the kibosh on the proceedings. But! In 2010, determined to find a traditional hot rod he and his two young sons could enjoy, Nicholas planted the seeds to return the glorious event to its Front Range roots. On September 14, 2013, Nicholas kicked off the revived Hot Rod Hill Climb, welcoming traditional pre-1955 hot rods and their owners from all over the country to take on the original hill climb route, including a number of “legends” who had raced at the original 1953 and 1954 events. The hill climb attracted hot rod enthusiasts, historians and even automotive news outlets from all over the world, all looking to get in on the ground level of the nostalgic event. The event erupted from there.
Since its revival, the Hot Rod Hill Climb has grown not only in size but also notoriety. In 2015, the event played host to over 100 hot rods and their owners determined to take on the original hill, as well as countless spectators and local car clubs that came up to Georgetown to display their cars, watch the hill climb and be part of the now-famous event. Last year was bigger yet.
This year’s event looks to continue the momentum. And it’s a weekend-long affair with live music, road rallies, vendors and of course, plenty of hot rod hill climbing. The event literally turns downtown Central City, Colorado into a time warp. If you’re looking to get back to the 50s, this is where you belong.
Photography by Lindsey Fisher