Frank and Phil Arciero ran their family concrete and sub-contacting business in Los Angeles California . Both were huge racing enthusiast and started Arciero Brothers racing in the 1950s. Their team always ran top notch and well maintained race cars and would go on to employ some of the biggest names in racing history .
The Arciero Brothers first trip to Pikes Peak was at the 42nd annual Hill Climb in 1964. Already owning one Lotus 19 race car and having success with it at road courses on the west coast. They bought another Lotus, the new model 23 to run at the 1964 Pikes Peak race. Having one of the best race cars, all they needed was one of the best to drive it. Enter Bobby Unser.
1964 Pikes Peak Hill Climb race.
Bobby Unser was already a seven time champion at the Peak in the Open Wheel Class going into the 1964. Not only would he be racing the Arciero brothers Lotus in the Sports Car Class, he was also running his own car in the the Open Wheel Class. Bobby became the first driver in PPHC history to run two classes. Chartering a Bell supercharged helicopter to take him down the mountain after his open wheel run, allowing him the time to run the Lotus in the later class.
Practice was a learning curve for the team. The Pikes Peak race was sponsored by Mobil Oil in 1964. The Arciero Team was sponsored by STP in their west coast racing. Race officials wouldn’t allow the large decal to stay on the car for the hill climb . It may have been a painted logo or the team didn’t want to remove it. After first day of practice the car showed up with the STP logo covered with gray tape. The well tweaked Lotus was very lightweight at 1100 pounds . It ran a rear engine, 2.7 liter, Coventy Climax motor pushing more then 250 horsepower and a Hewland MKIII 5spd transmission with Girling four wheel disc brakes. Bobby easily took the fastest qualifying time during practice, but the car was running warmer then they liked. Additional cooling holes were drilled in the nose of the car.
Race day Bobby Unser set a new Sports Car Class record, with a time of 13:19.1. That record still stands (Class was cancelled after 1966) In Bobby’s other run up the Peak that day in the Open Wheel Class, he was second to his brother Al Unser, in the Conze Special.
This Lotus model 23 is now fully restored and updated with current safety equipment to allow it to run in vintage races across the USA. (As of 2017)
Lotus 19 at the 1965 PPHC
The Arciero Brothers were back in 1965 at the Peak with their original Lotus, a model 19. This was the first Lotus that the team had owned, since 1960, and was previously raced by many motorsport legends, such as Bill Krause, Jim Clark and Dan Gurney The car was, by 1965 highly modified and running a rear mounted Chevrolet V-8. The driving duties at Pikes Peak in 65 went to Bud Tinglestad. A veteran Indianapolis 500 race driver who finished 15th during the 1965 memorial day classic. With the larger V-8 engine and another top notch driver the Arciero Brothers car were a favorite to win the Sports car Class in 65.
As in 1964, the team would take 1st in the time trials. The course for time trials is only the lower third of the course. (From starting line at the 7 mile marker to Glen Cove). On race day the course was dry and slick with pebbles. Bud in the Lotus had the fastest run up the bottom third of the track but due to a partial spin on the upper section, he finished second. Winner Ak Miller 14:09.1, Devin with Ford Cobra motor , 2nd place Bud Tinglestad 14:16.2, Lotus Chevy, Chuck Frederick in a RENTED Ford Cobra takes third 14:35.7.
The Lotus 19 from the 1965 Hill Climb would only race one more time and would be parked for the next twenty plus years.
Check out Vintage Motorsports magazine Jul/Aug 2008 for the full history of the Lotus chassis number 951.
The Arcieros’ only took the PPHC challenge those two years. A first and a second place finish. Not bad. The Amazing story, after 50 years, both race cars are still with us and showing the next generation of Pikes Peak fans a glimpse of Hill Climb greatness.