Hot Rod Hill Climb Artwork
Nick’s Hot Rod Garage
Nick’s Hot Rod Garage is not only a place where Mike ‘Nick’ Nicholas builds cars, but it’s also where Nick hones his passion and hobby—bringing the 1950s hot rod culture, innovation, and vibe to today’s world. Nick’s Hot Rod Garage bridges the gap between then and now and is host to the Hot Rod Hill Climb, Hot Rod Dirt Drags, Period Hot Rod Shows, and more.
The passion to re-live in an era gone is the driving force. Hot Rod Hill Climb is all about the “Good Old Days”!
How this came about….
Early 2010, Nick 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.
Nick met up with Mark (General Gow) and his wife Becky in Bonneville 2010. Lucky for Nick, their reunion was documented in the final issue of World of Rods.
That roadtrip lit the fire of passion for hot rods for Nick 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 Nick. 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 Nick 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, Nick received a final push of inspiration from the epic 2013 “The Race of Gentlemen.” Encouragement from promoter Meldon Van Riper Stultz III sent Nick 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 Hot Rod Garage of Englewood revived the legendary ride with a 60th Anniversary recreation of the original Hot Rod Hill Climb. Nick 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, Nick 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, Nick 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 Hot Rod 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.
Read more about this year’s event and the past that shaped it.