“The Gray Line”, the mountain gives back.

The 1940 Gray Line tour car line up.

 As early as 1915 there was a market for tourist travel to the summit of Pikes Peak. While many folks chose to take the Cog Rail line to the top, others wanted a more personalized and private trip to the summit by automobile.

White bus, Pierce-Arrow, Cadillac and specialty designed 1955 Chevrolet tour cars were used on Pikes Peak

The Broadmoor Hotel ran the largest stable of tour cars and ran the program through the Gray Line travel company. Earliest cars that were used began with the White Model 15-25 bus and the Pierce-Arrow cars.  Tradition dictated the drivers to stop at the halfway point for pictures at Glen Cove and for an additional charge, photographs could also be taken a summit house.

Starting in the late 1930’s the Broadmoor Hotel ordered specialty built Cadillac tour cars with a removable canvas roof.   These twelve passenger cars became a favorite with the folks wanted to take in all of the sites along the route. Additional orders continued in the 1940’s and 1950’s, the later cars no longer had the removable top but came with sunroofs featured across the top of the cars to allow for the wonderful views , while keeping the somewhat brisk temperatures at bay.

The program of producing these special cars became such a success that the Cadillac named them the “Broadmoor Skyview” .

By 1955 the cars were all painted a bright red and no longer carried the Gray Line tour company logos . They were used by the hotel for VIP guests. These 1955, 1956 and the last edition of the SkyView Cadillac in 1959 have become very collectible and a few have survived.

The Flxible Bus.

In 1954 a contact to build short wheel base tour buses was given to the Flxible Company of Londonville Ohio, for five buses . Four would go to the Pikes Peak Highway Company and an additional bus for the “Colburn Motors Tours” company also from Colorado Springs.

New buses coming to the Pikes Peak Highway in 1954
The “Flxible bus while on a rest stop on the Pikes Peak Highway.
The Broadmoor Skydview Cadillac in 1959 in bright red .
Picture shows a Broadmoor Skyview Cadillac and a Flxible bus at the summit of Pikes Peak late 1950’s

The Gray Line and Broadmoor tour drivers.

This is the part were the mountain gave back. One of the hardest parts of racing on Pikes Peak is learning the road. The so called “156 turns” can make or break a drivers time to the summit. If you wanted to know the route better as a race car driver , taking a turn as a tour car or a tour bus driver was one of the best ways to learn the course. (Some out of state competitors called it an unfair advantage for the local drivers) .  As early as 1949 Speed Age magazine interviewed successful driver Art Hillis about his knowledge of the course and that time already had 5040 trips up Pikes Peak as a tour car driver. That’s right over 5000 trips !

Best way to know the road was by being a tour car driver . Free Press newspaper 1950

 

Many race car drivers, Art Hillis, J.C. Shoemaker, Al Rogers ( over 3000), Louie J. Unser, Nick Sanborn,  Bob Finney and many more over the years could count their trips in the hundreds and thousands on the Pikes Peak Highway. .  Not only was it about learning the many turns , but also learning how the weather conditions effected the different road surfaces.

A handful survive !

The mountain took it’s toll on the equipment used in the tourist business, but the care given to the vehicles used was always first class. Several still survive today. The most prominent of the survivors is fittingly still with the Broadmoor Hotel.  A beautiful 1937 Cadillac with the roll back roof is still in their collection and is available to rent for special occasions.

The 1937 Cadillac tour car in front of the Broadmoor Hotel

 

Two of the Flxible buses survive, one is rumored to be in England and other known bus is located in the USA.  Check out this video below for more details.

 

Someone had to do it.

As long as companies were providing travel tours up to the summit of Pikes Peak,by automobile someone had to drive. Why not an inspiring race car driver !

If you have additional information, photos or stories about these tour programs please contact me. It is an important part of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb racing history.

Pikes Peak Hill Climb programs over the years.

1916 Pikes Peak Hill Climb program

In the beginning .

The first “Pikes Peak National Hill Climbing Contest” program was really spectacular  for its time.  Thirty two pages in full, with classic ads throughout. Name brands like, Cadillac, Packard, Marmon, Excelsior Autocycles, White Motor Company, Gargoyle Gasoline and many more. Luckily the PPIHC organization reprinted this program during the 100th anniversary in 2016. It is a must have souvenir program even as a reprint. One bit of trivia from the program, is the Broadmoor Hotel advertisement. The actual construction wasn’t completed when the program was printed and the drawing of the Hotel placed in the ad was for a  different design then what finally got approved and built.

The 1920s and 30s

No race from 1917-1919. When racing resumed after World War I in 1920, the program was reduced to a four page handout for the remainder of the 1920’s. Not many of the folded paper versions of the program have survived.

The 1925 PPHC program hand out.
1925 Pikes Peak Hill Climb program 4 page handout.

In 1935 once the original contract for ownership use of the road was completed, no one picked up a new contract. The wasnt a race in 1935. The local VFW (Veteras of Foreign Wars) picked up the sponsorship for the hill climb race in 1936 up until the race stopped in 1941 for WW2.  The format was more like a traditional program with a thicker cover type with more pages (6-8 pages).

1936 Pikes Peak Hill Climb program.
PPHC 1938 program

1940s

The paper handout style was used one last time in 1940. The first use of color since 1916 appeared on the cover in 1941.

missing 1946 program cover image please help

The 1950’s

The use of photography, graphics and color would signify the programs of the 1950’s. The “Princess Power” contest ladies made the cover in 1954 and the Dodge Pace Car made the cover in 1955. The first full color race car photograph cover was in 1956. (Keith Andrews). The famous PPHC fish logo, made the cover in 1957 and stayed for the last three years !

The 1960’s

The cover graphics got a little boring in the early sixties with the fish logo theme, but the wonderful cover photograph covers from 1966 and on would make up for it.

The 1970’s.

In addition to the use of photographs on the covers, several years, the covers would receive an artist touch. Note worthy covers were , Peter Helck in 1973, and Leonard Wheatley in 1977 and 1978.  Buick Pace Cars made the cover in both 1975 and 76 and the only dune buggy to ever appear on the cover was in 1971.  Artist H. Gene Yancey would finish off the decade with the cover art in 1979, including drawings inside the program of Rick Mears and the PPHC flagman Art Walsh.

The 1980’s.

What can you say about the 80’s ?? Graphics would take over most of the cover designs. Buick would once again have a Pace Car on the cover (1981), except the Indy 500 targa top pace car on the cover wasn’t used at Pikes Peak, but a more subdued T-Top car was used. Artist H. Gene Yancey did the wonderful cover in 1980. Modern computer art made the cover in 1982. There was an art contest done for the 1984 cover and the winner was Lori Pate of Littleton Colorado with her colorful tire tread design. The 1988 cover illustration was done by automotive airbrush artist Mark Westfall. My personal favorite, in the 1980s, was the 1989 cover with a Newman-Dreager open wheel race car artwork. Chevrolet provided limited edition posters to it’s dealership with that image in 1989 to celebrate some of the greatest Chevrolet wins at Pikes Peak. ( PPHC fans will notice that the car on the cover,is actually going downhill at that location on the course.)

The 1990s.

Race cars and photographs would take the majority of the covers in the 1990’s. Bill Brister in his Wells Coyote took the cover in 1990 starting the decade off with a bang. The cover artwork in 1992 was by Jim Swintal and was also used for posters that year. Those marvelous posters have become a much desired PPHC collectible.  Besides the drawing in 1971, the cover in 1994, was the first year for a motorcycle photo to make the program cover. Likewise the first semi-truck made the cover, ( Kenworth driven by Glenn Brown) in 1998. The program from the “75th Running of the Race to the Clouds” in 1997 is also a much sot after collectible for hill climb fans.

PPHC Programs available for viewing !

The Pikes Peak Library District Special Collections department has 31 programs available for the public veiwing. You can’t check them out but they have a great room to read them in and the folks are great to work with. Here is the list of what years they have and contact info.

https://pikp.ent.sirsi.net/client/en_US/PPLD/search/results?qu=pikes+peak+hill+climb&te=

The Pioneers Museum in Colorado Springs also has around 20 programs that the Library doesn’t have. A little harder to get access too but available by appointment only. Contact info below:

Welcome to the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum

Did you like this blog post ?

Hope you enjoyed seeing the many years of Pikes Peak Hill Climb program covers. (If you have a picture of the 1946 program cover please contact me)

What other items from the race are you interested in besides the race cars and drivers? Posters, diecast, books, clothing etc……?

If there are enough folks responding to this post, there could be additional posts of  PPHC memorabilia in the future.  There is a bunch of stuff out there, but getting harder to find as the years go on.

Thanks for checking out the blog.  Nice to see many of you folks coming back time and time again!

1931 Chuck Myers ” Hunt Special” after the Pikes Peak Hill Climb

The Hunt-Jenkins Special goes back to INDY.

If you haven’t checked out part one, jump down and catch the history of this Studebaker at Pikes Peak and the Indy 500 in 1931.

After the success in 1931 .Studebaker had Herman Rigling build four additional cars to run in the 1932 Indy 500. The cars were identical to the prototype, “Hunt-Jenkins” car.

Rigling built the frames, the aluminum bodies and provided the knock off wheels, while Studebaker provided the power-train and most of the additional hard parts.

The “Hunt-Jenkins’ Pikes Peak winning Studebaker car number #37 would be driven by Zeke Meyer and Chas Cariens as riding mechanic in the 1932 Indy 500. Results would be better then the turn four wall incident of 1931.  The sixth place finish would be the best finish for all three years it ran at Indy (31-32-33)

1933 would see a dark spot for the Studebaker Motor Company. By years end they were in deep financial trouble leading into bankruptcy.. The good news was the Indy 500 was early in the year and the racing program was already prepaid.  New bodies were built for the four factory cars to make them more aerodynamic.(2-3 mph faster)  The “Hunt-Jenkins” car being a privately owned car,  the only body change was to the grill shell area.

The car number and driver were changed as well . This time running #47 with L.L. Corum at the wheel and Jimmie Lowden at his side, they crossed the finish line on race day in 12th place.

What happens after racing ?

The question can go many ways. How does a race car survive after so many years ? Once technology passes a race car, typically two things happen. Either the car gets upgraded or it gets scrapped. Notoriety sometimes helps a car live on. This Studebaker had several things going for it that helped it survive. Name recognition with Ab Jenkins , George Hunt and the Studebaker factory racing team.  Any car that races multiply Indy 500 races has a better then average chance of surviving, compared to most other race cars. One also just has to look at the car… it’s beautifully stunning. Great lines, good color with lots of chrome. An outstanding statement for the period it was racing.

After the 1933 race, Ab took the car to his Utah home where his son made it road worthy and used it as a sports car.  In 1939 the car was sold too W.J. Patterson of Salt Lake City.  Some say it only had two owners after that and those two owners would do wonders.

Stan and Robert continue the legend

Not being an ardent Studebaker fan, the ” Hunt-Jenkins” car wasn’t on my radar until it was shown after its restoration by Stan Smith in 1981 . The car was in his possession for many years and those in the Studebaker community continued to convince him to sell it.  That wasn’t going to happen Stan’s plans were to do a frame off top notch restoration. The first showing for the newly rebuilt car was at the Atlantic Zone Studebaker show in Boalsburg Pennsylvania.  Not only did it make news in the Studebaker circles, but it also was a stunning success in the vintage racing world. Well done Stan !

Robert “Bob” Valpey the cars current owner since 1988 first saw the car in the 1960s. It only took him over twenty years to convince it’s owner to part ways with it. That is what you call determination.  A slight name change of was done to the car, the “Hunt-Rigling Special” was a node to the famous builder of all of the “Indianapolis Studebaker Specials”.  The car has been shown at the Indy 500 and Studebaker museums, Pebble Beach Concours and many other shows allowing thousands to have their chance at getting close .

One of the great things to see with the car present owner is shown above. The car gets driven ! The Mt. Washington Hill Climb in 2011 and many other rallys and vintage races. There is a big difference between owning a historic race car and driving/ racing one.

86 years and still going strong,  was the car been blessed at one time ?

Ab Jenkins, George Hunt, Herman Rigling, Chuck Myers, Zeke Meyers, L.L. Corum, Stan Smith and Robert Valpey, how do all of those folks line up on one race car ?

I think time will show that it was those folks that were blessed by the car and anyone lucky enough to own it in the future will be too.

 

 

1931 Chuck Myers and the Hunt Special Studebaker

The Indianapolis 500 comes first.

The 1931 Indy 500 would bring George Hunt, Ab Jenkins and the Studebaker Motor Company together. Hunt was an engineer at Studebaker and Ab was a race car driver who set many long distance driving records in Studebaker automobiles.  There were new rule changes for Indy in 1931.  Manufactures where encouraged by the changes allowing larger engine displacements.  A prototype race car was built, using a Studebaker President Eight 336 cubic inch motor and a chassis built at the Herman Rigling shop in Indianapolis. The original plan for the Indy race was to have Ab Jenkins drive the car on race day. Unfortunately he came down with blood poisoning in early May and was unable to drive. Tony Gulotta was selected to drive in Abs’ absence, with Carl Riscigno as the riding mechanic.

1931 Hunt-Jenkins Special” Tony Gulotta driver Carl Riscigno mechanic. Indy 500 site photo

The #37 Hunt Special would qualify 19th starting on the inside on row seven. May 30th 1931 started out with rain and drizzle. There was a two hour delay for the green flag. Once racing began there were several yellow flags for the wet conditions. True racing was delayed until around lap 70, when the sun came out along with green flag conditions. At one point Gulotta was even in the lead. Things went well until lap 167 (of 200) when the “Hunt Special” slide on a patch of oil and crashed hard into the turn four wall.  Neither Tony or Carl were injured, but the day was done.  Final result for the team in the 1931 Indianapolis 500 would be 19th place.

(Studebaker would run five cars in the 1932 and 1933 races, including #37.  Best finish for the prototype car #37 was 6th in 1933 )

The 1931 Pikes Peak Hill Climb Race.

George Hunt would make repairs and changes to the race car, in order to run  the 13th annual PPHC in 1931.  Adding an updated magneto, four Winfield carburetors, and a special milled head, in hopes to handle the altitude. Plus lower rear axle gears and hand grooved Firestone tires.  The Studebaker Company at the last minute, selected an experienced and three time winning Pikes Peak driver, Charles “Chuck” Myers.

The “Hunt Special” 1931 Pikes Peak Hill Climb”Clark’s Self Serve” advertisement “Gazette Telegraph” Chuck Myers driver

Limited information is available about race day in 1931. Only fourteen cars were entered in the open car class.  C.H.Myers was first entered in a Willys 6, in the stock car class and later switched to the “Hunt Special” in the open class .The team had to draw a number for starting  order. Some wonder if Chuck had any practice time in the Studebaker, prior to race day. What is known from race day, he set a new course record and was first overall .

Chuck Myers and the “Hunt Special”  with a winning time of 17:10.3

Above is a strange result listing from “Motor Maintenance” magazine, of the 1931 PPHC race.. Almost looks like they had already decided the finish order before the times where posted. Jerry Unser and Glen Shultz were always favorites.. Chuck had won by 15 second margin.

Below are a couple of sponsors taking advantage of the win. Gas and Oil companies, Tire manufactures and others would always take the opportunity to show off their products success at Pikes Peak in local and national newspapers and magazines. ( I love to see the vintage ads ! You ? )

Gazette Telegraph ad 1931 Studebaker “Hunt Special” race car
Pikes Peak Hill Climb 1931, Firestone Ad

To see what happened to the ” Hunt Special” after Pikes Peak and today, check out part two .

Team Hudson-Essex-Terraplane (part 2)

Chet Miller set a new course record at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in 1932. (21:20.9) The boost the Hudson Motor Company was looking for worked. Essex-Terraplane sales was helping the company stay afloat during the Great Depression. Times wre still tough and Hudson decided to go all in at the 1933 Hill Climb with a team of FOUR Terraplanes. ( the Essex, name was dropped for the 33 model)

Preparing to leave for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb race 1933

The plan for 1933 was to drive four Terraplanes from Detriot to Pikes Peak. Set for the event were two 6’s and new for 1933 two  8’s (8 cylinder model)

Terraplane 6 model

Above Left Paul Best, right Glen Shultz (?)

The Terraplane 6 model can be identified by the louvered side hood. Nice Terraplane sweaters with matching white pants made the team standout during the 1933 Pikes Peak event.

Above left to right, Al Miller, Chet Miller , J.E. Schipper director of Hudson-Eseex publicity and William Taylor AAA representative  .

The Terraplane 8 roadster model can be identified by the opening vents on the hood sides. These stock cars were entered just as they came from the factory and were identical to ones you could buy at the dealership. Hudson was going to again prove the Terraplane was durable, economical and powerful. A nice side note is seeing the license plates on all four cars. Most manufactures would ship their cars by rail to Denver or Colorado Springs then drive the rest of the way. . In addition, having the plates on the cars, should allow someone to run down serial numbers to see if any of these 1933 cars still survive today.

The Stock Car class could have been called the Terraplane  Class of 33.  Fighting for their survival left all of the other car companies staying  at home for the 1933 event. Only the four Hudson team cars would compete.  The win was guaranteed. Now the goals were to set new time trail and race records.  Somewhere along the way, Glen Shultz was replaced in one of the 8’s with  Humphrey”Otto”  Bollman of Colorado Springs.    ( Glen went on to compete and win the Open Class )

Stock Car time trails 1933

Time trails on August 31st  got things off to a good start.  Al Miller set a new Stock Car class qualifying record time of 8:44. besting the Essex-Terraplane 1932 time of 9:35. The big eight was proving it’s horsepower advantage over the sixes.    Official time trail results , Al Miller “Terraplane 8”  8:44, Chet Miller “Terraplane 8” 8:48, Otto Bollman “Terraplane 6”  9:48, and Paul Best “Terraplane 6” 9:49

Race Day 1933

Hold onto your hats folks. The Pikes Peak Hill Climb race would be on the RADIO for the first time in 1933.  Broadcast on the 75-meter wave length station “W9knz” !  Starting at 10:30  with cars leaving every 5 minutes, the race would be over quickly. The last racer on the day Otto Bollman started at 12:40. The road was dry and virtually all of the drivers  would complain about the loose gravel. The headlines the next day would read, “Stock Car Entries Shatter Records” !  

Al Miller’s Terraplane 8 takes the win and set a new record for Stock Cars class with a time of, 19:55.5.   1st stock car below the 20 minute mark.

Stock Car results, Al Miller 19:55, Chet Miller 20:43.5 , Paul Best in 3rd to time provided and Otto Bollman 4th no time provided.

Goodyear shares the Victory with the Hudson Terraplane Team.

Considering the nation was in the middle of the Great Depression,  1932 and 1933 were two amazing years for the Hudson-Essex-Terraplane Team.

 

Team Hudson-Essex-Terraplane

In the midst of “The Great Depression” what should a car company do, to turn things around ? The Hudson Motor Company had an answer. Design and release a fresh new model and take it racing at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in 1932 .

The new model would be called the Essex-Terraplane.   A less expensive, lightweight, great value, yet powerful Hudson model . Launched with great fanfare in July of 1932. Amelia Earhart was at the special introduction ceremony and christened the first car off the assembly line. Only  one car would be taken to Pikes Peak in September of 32.  It was a model “K” roadster with a 193 cubic inch , (3.2 liter) six cylinder motor, with 70 horsepower.

The troubled economy had taken its toll on the Race to the Clouds. The thirty two event would only have fifteen contestants.  Eleven in the Open Wheel event and four in the Stock Car Class.  The Essex-Terraplane would be driven by Chet Miller a three time Indianapolis 500 veteran.  Competing  along with Chet in the stock car class would be two Willys 6’s and a under powered Plymouth 4.  The plan for Hudson was not just to win, but to crush the current record in the stock car class on the Peak. That record was set by an Auburn 8 Speedster in 1928 with a time of 21:45.4 .

RACE DAY !

September 5, 1932 perfect weather conditions. racing starts  at 10:30 with cars leaving one at a time a few minutes apart.  The night before the race Walter Klauser in the  Plymouth 4 drops from the Stock Car class, leaving the lone Essex Terraplane to take on the two Willys’ driven by L.L. Bowser and W.J. Sheppard. Open Class cars start off first. Glen Shultz wins in a Stutz with a time of 16:47.2.  (First driver to be under the 17 minute mark). Stock Car class up next !

New Record time for the stock cars. Official results Miller 21:20.9, L.L. Bowser 23:34.6, W.J. Sheppard 23:58.7.  If you notice above, the ad list the time at 20.20.9 . Either a misprint, or the official times were not posted at the time of the newspaper print deadline.

Mission accomplished for 1932, check out part two for Team Hudson-Essex-Terraplane in 1933