The 2013 National Studebaker Meet meet happens to be in Colorado Springs, CO this year. Usually held in Indiana, it’s closer proximity prompted me to look over the schedule. I was surprised when I saw “Drive Your Studebaker to the top of Pikes Peak” listed.
Pike’s Peak is famous for the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb race each year. The “Race to the Clouds” speeds up Pike’s 12.42 miles of narrow, twisting road – climbing 4,720 feet as it winds past 156 turns. I would love to drive this route – but the thought of driving my drum brake-equipped Studebaker here makes me shudder…
My first mountain drive was up to Big Bear, a summer or two after getting Stude. It wasn’t going up the mountain that was the problem (although I did have carburetor issues with the altitude)…it was coming DOWN! Careful not to ride my brakes, heating them up was unavoidable. I went as slow as possible and eventually had a line of traffic behind me. When a turn-out finally appeared, Stude rolled very slowly to a stop.
After this journey I vowed never to drive in the mountains again with Stude. But life always brings surprises, and I unknowingly piloted Stude to another mountainside.
When my husband and I were driving to our honeymoon destination – the last stretch of road dropped dramatically down a mountainside. Not exactly an ideal time to worry about barreling down a steep cliff! Luckily we made it without mishap – but it wasn’t the funnest part of the journey.
These experiences made me all the more surprised when I saw the Pike’s Peak drive on the schedule of the SDC Meet. I suppose a number of owners have upgraded to disc brakes, because I wouldn’t dare drive the peak – while my Stude wouldn’t have a problem getting UP the mountain, I fear she’d need to be air-lifted out of there!
Does anyone else have experience driving their classic to the mountains?