For Your Christmas Wish List: A New Pikes Peak

Over the weekend I was looking at another new-to-me book, “Proving Ground” which is a history of Dodge, Chrysler, and Plymouth racing written in 2009 by Jim Schild.  A picture in that book that jumped out at me, was that of a 1965 Plymouth Belvedere with a 426 cubic inch hemi engine racing up Pike Peak and sliding around one of the many corners on that mountain road.  This picture is shown below.

Hemi on Pikes Peak

A Plymouth Belvedere Roars Up Pikes Peak

This Plymouth Belvedere was driven by a real racer, Woody Walcher.  In his day he must have been quite a hooligan who just loved to drive fast.  Apparently he raced this Plymouth Belvedere several times at Pikes Peak, took it to Bonneville, did the Mint 400 and even did some drag racing with it.  Quite a variety of racing with the same car!

Hemi at Pikes Peak (2)

Flat Towing The Hemi Belvedere

“Proving Ground” also included this picture above of Woody Walcher flat towing this car behind a street car – no trailer for this car, just tow it to the next event – a real no-nonsense racer.

This post about old gravel days at Pikes Peak is a good excuse for me to include one of my favorite photos.  The photo (Artemis Images) below shows Louis Unser during the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb in 1961 driving a 1961 Chevrolet “Bubbletop” hardtop.  He is driving that car to the limit!


Louie Unser’s 1961 Chevrolet At Pikes Peak

New photos like these will not be seen from Pikes Peak.  Over the years the Pike Peak Road has been paved in stages in an effort to make the surface more durable.  Now it is completely paved.  Is there another Pikes Peak road out there that is not paved?

On the weekend I was also watching a broadcast of the last rally of the European Rally Championship season from Switzerland.  They had numerous mountain roads, but they were narrow rally roads or tracks that were too narrow for anything except for compact rally cars.  Some of these roads made Francois Delecour’s Porsche look big!  Great rally roads, but not Pikes Peak roads.  For a Pike Peak type event a gravel two-lane road is needed.  And a place where “fugitive dust” is not seen as a problem.

Hopefully one of these roads will be discovered and the days of a fast, gravel hillclimb can be here again.

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One Response to For Your Christmas Wish List: A New Pikes Peak

  1. Jay Nemeth-Johannes says:

    Well, there is still a very active Colorado Hill Climb Association that puts on several events each year. All of these are fairly long climbs on unpaved. Unfortunately there will never be another event with the popularity of Pikes Peak.

    My best memories of PP are working controls above the treeline on multiple 1-Lap of America events in the late 80s.

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