Nick’s Garage is not only a place where Mike builds cars, but it’s also where Mike hones his passion and hobby—bringing the 1950s hot rod culture, innovation, and vibe to today’s world. Nick’s Garage bridges the gap between then and now and is host to the Hot Rod Hill Climb, Dirt Drags, Period Hot Rod Shows, and more.
The passion to live in an era gone is the driving force.
How this came about….
Early 2010, Mike Nicholas of Nick’s Garage was on the hunt for a traditional, custom hot rod that he could enjoy with his 6- and 8-year-old boys, taking them to school and going to car local shows. While sectioning a 1949 Coupe, he caught wind of a 50’s survivor 1950 Ford Coupe with a 6″ section. He threw in a 350 combo and seatbelts and scavenged parts off the ’49. The car came with Hot Rod Magazine dated March 1954. On the cover was a sectioned shoebox, although not the same car.
Then, they hit the road.
Mike met up with Mark (General Gow) and his wife Becky in Bonneville 2010. Lucky for Mike, their reunion was documented in the final issue of World of Rods.
That roadtrip lit the fire of passion for hot rods for Mike and his boys. Chock full of memories, touring in the 1950s Ford Coupe was an unforgettable experience.
It was the March 1954 Hot Rod Magazine HRM that kicked it all off for Mike. An article titled “Hot Rod Hill Climb” by local favorite Jim McKindley told the story of the 1952 race put on by the Denver Sports Car Club up Leavenworth Mountain in Colorado’s historic Georgetown. The local timing associations and hot rod clubs felt inclined to put the sports cars in their place, and in 1953, a week after the Jag’s and Allard’s return, the hot rods did so!
The local hot rods beat the best sports car times by a large margin and returned in 1954 to compete again. HRMcovered the follow-up event, too, with a section on how-to organize a hill climb in your town.
The 1954 Georgetown Hot Rod Hill Climb was the last of its kind—the Governor at the time outlawed racing of any type on Colorado roads.
It was after this discovery that Mike had the thought, “I wish I was there… we have to do this again.
After a few years of revisiting the article from time to time, Mike received a final push of inspiration from the epic 2013 “The Race of Gentlemen.” Encouragement from promoter Meldon Van Riper Stultz III sent Mike to Georgetown in January 2013 to offer his plan to city leaders. After a few months, the historic event was inked for September 14, 2013.
On September 14, 2013, Nick’s Garage of Englewood revived the legendary ride with a 60th Anniversary recreation of the original Hot Rod Hill Climb. Mike and his team found the guys that were there and the cars that were there. Together with a new generation of traditional Hot Rod enthusiasts, Mike remade history. The Hot Rod World rejoiced, and the town of Georgetown, CO found itself once more primed with pre-1955 hot rods and vintage cars.
During the year of planning, Mike met many of the original participants—the “Legends”—and found several of the original hot rods that tackled the original hill. The revival of the classic 1953 and 1954 hill climb garnered great interest and encouragement from fellow enthusiasts, culminating in the launch of the 60th Anniversary event. Thanks to overwhelming support, admiration, and applause from the hot rod community, Nick’s Garage celebrates the second year of the 60th Anniversary Hot Rod Hill Climb this fall.
We’re here to celebrate Colorado’s Hot Rod pioneers. We’re here to relive the moments with the legends. We’re here to recreate history.
Join us for this historic event and celebrate with us!