I found gold in this hill. Not exactly the gold that Central City, Colorado was known for back in 1859, but nuggets of hot rods just as beautiful as any piece of gold. With this annual event, it truly still is living up to it’s past nick name of “The Richest Square Mile”. Puns aside, amongst a steep hill is a vintage looking mining town with hot rods roaring along the streets and a crowd of young and old attending the annual Hot Rod Hill Climb. Along the same hill are fall changing aspen trees and a slight chill in the wind from the coming winter and high altitude.
Down below is a small town with a modern casino, small businesses, vintage advertisements posted on buildings, and a parc expose’ of hot rods with strings of lights above. As with any hill climb or race, it begins with a Parc expose’ (a display of the hotrods), going through tech inspection, registering and applying Hill Climb numbers and decals, but at this event a platform is set up at the start line to help hot rods get up the hill easier. The event crew wear what looks like white safari hats and white mechanic jumpsuits.
Race time! As the hill climb begins, the spectators sit and stand in a area filled with benches, but you can climb the hill if you don’t mind the work out. Obviously it’s a very relaxed atmosphere as I’m sure any hill climbs and races were back in the day when hotrods prowled the streets. The event ran safe, organized, and on time. Just pure perfection. Thankfully, the earlier rain storm disappeared just in time for the event to begin. Multiple different hot rods, different manufacturers, models, years, genders, young and old with the majority of them wearing leather, helmets, and goggles raced up the steep hill. It was not unusual to see smiling faces on the passengers and drivers as they passed by.
When I said it was hot rod heaven, it truly was. It had something for everyone. A variety and amazing display of hotrods, young and old sharing stories and relating to each other, quaint little shops, Nick’s famous “Odd Rod” two engine rod, and a gorgeous background of mountains, fall changing aspen trees, and a small vintage looking mining town.
Mike “Nick” Nicholas of Nick’s Hot Rod Garage is the founder of this event and the Hot Rod Dirt Drags also in Colorado (Monte Vista, Colorado). Not only is he a astounding figure for the local hot rod owners and enthusiasts, but he also works on a hot rod replica two engine rod known as the Kenz and Leslie V8 Service “Odd Rod” pickup truck with his long time partner Duane Helms.
The original Odd Rod from long ago was featured in Hot Rod magazine in July, 1949. This replica was so exact, it even included the original seat and hubcaps. Every detail was not over looked, from the exterior design to the Edelbrock heads and lastly to the for the most part, original 1931 Model A cab. It is truly awe inspiring and a crowd magnet to see in person. You have to see it. It’s like the holy grail of hot rods.
If you want to find gold like I did, go to the annual Hot Rod Hill Climbs in Central City, Colorado. It’s definitely worth the horse and carriage ride, I mean, car ride with the family. For more pictures, check out our Facebook gallery: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1542667722485319.1073741845.177564605662311&type=1&l=514ae306a0