Video: Jess Neal’s Stroked ‘Cuda Participates In The 100th Running of Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Image courtesy of Kimmie Randall

There is only one place to be on the last Sunday of June every year, that is Pikes Peak in Colorado. This was a special year as it marked the 100th running of The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The race conditions are always a toss up and this year participants were greeted with heavy fog, wet roads and frigid temperatures. The mountain’s 12.42 miles of 156 curves and a finish line at 14,115 ft, weather conditions help make or break a racers timing. For many racers, this year was unfavorable from the start to the finish, especially if you were perhaps navigating a 51 year old Mopar.

Weather conditions can be less severe for some racers with some of the technology in modern cars. Many of the vehicles racing up Pikes Peak have features like traction control, ABS brakes, wipers, fuel injection and other computer controlled systems to assist the driver. These features combined with a fully paved road from start to finish help many of the racers to overcome a changing environment and road conditions as they climb Pikes Peak. 

However, some racers do not have any technology advantages and rely on instinct. Jess Neal is one competitor that does not have the luxury of ABS brakes, fuel injection or even wipers. His 1971 ‘Cuda is completely analog and has to rely on himself to make the correct inputs to the car. We assume that Jess’s ‘Cuda is a handful to drive on dry pavement on a clear sky day, but on a foggy, wet and cold day, well thats brings a whole new meaning to challenge.

Jess Neal has raced and won the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb multiple times. This year he returned and completed the race, but not without his fair share of challenges. You can watch Jess’s full run below and listen to the sound of the stroked small block singing all the way up the hill. Watch from the drivers seat as he ascends the hill and encounters multiple weather conditions on his ascend. We plan to make our way to the race one day and hopefully we can watch the ‘Cuda fly by in person. 

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Gavin Wollenburg

Gavin grew up around Mopars in his lakeside home in Ohio, his father showing him nearly everything he needed to know about haulin' some serious rear in his '72 Dart Swinger. Since then, he's made his little A-Body a serious autocross contender and regularly shows the modern boys how an old Dart does it!

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