The 1962 New York Auto Show and the Pikes Peak Hill Climb

1800 miles give or take, that is the distance from New York City to Colorado Springs at the foot of Pikes Peak.

The Devin 

If you are not familiar with the Devin and the race cars that have been built using his bodies and chassis, check out the outstanding book ” Devin The Man and His Cars” by Art Evans.    Available on amazon .

Two drivers raced Devin bodied race cars at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Ak Miller, who was himself a Devin dealer,  raced  several different Devin bodied casr at the Peak. Six wins in an eight year stretch from 1958 to  1965  proved that the Devin, with a V-8 motor and Ak Miller, as the driver, was a successful package.  

Not all sports cars have large V-8 motors. Many believed the smaller rear engine cars that were less expensive to build. was the way to go. Bill Devin was happy to design his chassis and bodies to accommodate that very idea. The Devin “D” for Volkswagen motors and the Devin “C” for Corvair entered the market .  Pete Woods a six time veteran of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in the Championship division, liked the idea . The second completed Devin “C” built would be his .  The location to pick up his new car would be at the April 1962 New York Auto Show.

The 1962 New York International Automobile Show.

The big show for auto manufactures all around the world in 1962 was the 6th annual NY Auto Show. If you wanted a piece of the market, you had to have cars at that show.  Studebaker made a big splash introducing the Avaniti to the market, Ford motor Company displayed its’ first A. C. Cobra with the Fairlane V-8, and Chevrolet was showing off the CERV-1 experimental race car.   Tucked among the giants of the industry was Bill Devin and his prototype Devin “C” utilizing the Chery Corvair engine. That was the car Pete Woods ordered and he made the trip from Seal Beach California to pick it up at the show and DRIVE it to Colorado for the PPHC.

Pete Woods a hill climb veteran.

The oldest class at Pikes Peak is the Championship Division. Open wheel race cars mostly running front mounted V-8 motors. Pete Woods ran in that class with mixed results from 1950 until 1957.  Sports car racing was sweeping the nation in the late 50s early 60s and in 1958 Pikes Peak Hill Climb welcomed it’s first large class of sports cars to the mountain. ( 3 Jaguars had their own sports car class in 1953)

Pete had his car ordered, the second “C” model made, had a sponsor lined up for the race “Arrow Motors” of Compton California. All that remained was how to get the car to Pikes Peak for the race. The plan ended up, with his mechanic Jack Canfield and himself picking the car up at the close of the auto show and driving the  car to Colorado for the hill climb race. (1800 miles give or take )

The 1962 Pikes Peak Hill Climb

Pete didn’t expect to win the class, “We just want to show how well  a small engined street machine can do against big bad ones” (Gazette Telegraph 7-2-62)

The Sports car Division at the PPHC was divided into two classes. Engines with more then 2001 cubic inches, “large bore”  and  a class for those with 2000cc or less.  the Arrow Motors sponsored Devin would be racing against 2 Corvettes , Ak Millers’ Ford 406 V-8 powered Devin and frank peteson in his V-8 Bocar.  There was some good news once he arrived for the race. Chevrolet was at the time a big sponsor for the hill climb race. They just happened to have with them at the race an engineering prototype version of the new, turbocharged engine that was just introduced for the Corvair line up. Pete would get the new turbo motor and some large off road tires for the race.

Time Trails had the Devin running 5th out of six entered. Beating the 1961 Corvette of Thom Jamison.  Hot Rod magazine even mentioned the “interesting” Corvair Spyder powered Devin at practice. Race day would go more to the predictions. The smaller engine could not keep up with the massive V-8s. Pete did make it to the top and had a respectable time of 16:12 against Ak Millers winning time of 14:29.4. In the small bore class 2000cc or less, four Porsche entries had slower times then Pete in his Devin., including a high dollar Porsche RSK driven by Don Ives. (time of 16:45)

Pete Woods at the 1962 Pikes Peak Hill Climb racing a Devin sports car

The driving adventure for Pete and  jack would not be quite over after Pikes Peak. Keeping the Chevrolet turbo motor and changing back to street tires, the two would be entering a road race in Salt Lake City on there way back home to Carmel California.

What an adventure that must have been !

This car still survives !

The  Devin stayed with Pete for  only a couple of years and the second owner did race the car some. It’s current owner purchased the car in 1971. After a total restoration in 1999, the car is in outstanding condition.

In August of this year (2017), this wonderful car will be at the “Quail Motorsports Gathering” in Carmel California. it’s not very often a Pikes Peak Hill Climb race car gets invited to such an event .

If you have any additional pictures of this car at Pikes Peak in 1962, please let me know. The current owner and myself would be very grateful.  Thanks !

2 thoughts on “The 1962 New York Auto Show and the Pikes Peak Hill Climb”

  1. Thanks for publishing a very thorough and interesting article on the Devins at Pike’s Peak! I had hoped that one day more information would show up and it did! And a photo of Pete’s white car at that.
    A couple of notes. First, the Covair powered Devin C was a complete car built by Bill Devin, using a Devin frame. Ak Miller’s car was a Devin SS body on a frame built by Ak so it technically is a Devin special. And both cars from the windshield back share the same body.
    The article needs some minor editing. The engine classes at the beginning are a bit confusing. Maybe that can be corrected. But I’m so awestruck that you found another photo of the C! Great job! How can I get a copy of that photo?

    1. Hello, thanks for the comments, yes I do need to clean the article up. Race time is keeping me busy. I have since picked up a few more pictures of the Devin C at PPHC as well.

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