On the first Sunday in October of 2023, Eric & Angela, Daryl and Gabe grabbed a bag of gas station beef jerky and headed East to that giant corn maze known as Indiana to pay our respects to motorsports and see the only hill in the Hoosier State.
Okay, so that’s not entirely true. There’s more than one hill in Indiana, and we finally got to see the Newport Hillclimb. What is the Newport Hillclimb, you ask?
The Newport Hillclimb is a traditional hillclimb event open to vintage automobiles from 1942 and earlier, and so-called “orphan car” makes up until 1955 (as long as they didn’t continue production past 1970, such as Plymouth, Mercury, etc.)
The race, which began in 1909 as a durability test of the new-fangled horseless carriage, soldiered on until 1915 before fizzling out. The reason for the lack of interest? Something about a brickyard in Indianapolis and another, faster form of racing.
Fast-forward to the mid-1960s when the Newport Volunteer Fire Department decided to pay tribute with an antique automobile hillclimb event and the rest is history. Since then, every first Sunday in October has been “race day” for the hillclimb, where classics chug, huff and puff their way up a deceivingly steep hill in search of a trophy.
@throwinwrenches We checked off a bucket list item this year. The annual #NewportHillClimb in Newport, Indiana was a fantastic display of art, speed and skill. Sensory overload in the best possible way! We will be back for sure! #AntiqueAutomobile #ModelT #PackardClipper #HenryJ #NashAirflyte #ChevyTruck #1940Ford #FlatheadFord #InternationalTruck ♬ Down South Camp Meeting – Benny Goodman
For us, it was a real treat to see these old machines get a workout. Most of the time, we only see Packards, Studebakers or any other old car sitting in a show field or a local cruise night parking lot. This event proved that the old stuff still enjoys being driven to the limit now and then. There are plenty of other festivities that accompany the hillclimb, including a vintage car raffle, flea market, car show, and some food vendors that put the average county fair to shame. It’s fun for the entire family, and it’s all FREE save for a modest parking fee that goes to the local volunteer fire department.
In This Episode
We discuss our impressions from the Newport Hillclimb, and describe what it was like to be spectators with a bird’s-eye-view of the action from just behind the barricades. We also plot out our trip for the following year, where Gabe definitely has the advantage of having two qualifying cars that could certainly give some of these old Model T’s a run for their money.
You can discover more about the Newport Hillclimb on their website (which appears to be down right now) at newporthillclimb.com.
They’re also on Facebook.
They’ve also set the dates for 2024’s race:
An entire history of the Newport Hill Climb can be found on good ‘ol Wikipedia.
Pre-Show Feature: Drywall Report
Gabe and Daryl share their respective garage & house remodel progress and the best/worst DIY drywall tips in the Patreon preshow. Learn more by becoming a sponsor.