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Virginia City Hill Climb 341 Challenge - King Of The Mountain

Some Of The Baddest Production Cars In The Country Assaulted 22 Turns, A 1,200-Foot Elevation Change, And Sheer Drop-Offs To Claim The Title.

By , Photography by Spectre 341 Challenge,

The Syclone
One of the first racers we met on Friday morning before tech was Adam Auerbach, who was doing some last0minute prep work on his '91 GMC Syclone pickup. The Syclone is an interesting all-wheel-drive, S-15-pickup-based variation of the GMC Typhoon. Adam's truck retains the turbo V-6 concepts but pushes the envelope with a larger 4.8L, all-aluminum Bow Tie block V-6 pumping out around 11 psi of turbo pressure using a 4L80E automatic through the stock transfer case. Squeezing the 4L80E into the truck became a necessity, Adam says, because "I blew up six 700s." The V-6 pumps out about 600 hp and applies all that power through four Nitto NT05 315/35R17 tires. He says he can push the boost up to as much as 22 psi but chose to be conservative with his first shot at the mountain. Despite the heft added with an additional axle and a transfer case, Adam says the truck only weighs 3,365 pounds wet with a driver. His best time was 3:53.348.

The DeSoto
"This is a bucket race for me," Dean Smith said while I was checking out his 392ci Chrysler Hemi-powered '52 DeSoto. Dean has a stable of these older machines that includes a '57 DeSoto, and he loves to push them hard. Back at his home in Las Vegas is a 440-powered '61 Chrysler that has been modified to look like a 300G. It is a two-time veteran of the Mexican La Carrera Panamericana. He has also raced Pikes Peak. This event was close enough to home that he thought it would be fun. But as for a challenge, Dean says "This will be like going to breakfast compared to the Pan Am."

History, Records, And Results
The very first Virginia City Hill Climb took place way back in 1972 when the Southern California Ferrari Club organized an event that eventually attracted purebred race cars. By 1988, a big-block Chevy-powered Lola T-70 race car driven by Reg Howell owned the record at 3:23.78 (91.9 mph average).But because the loop that returns the cars to the starting line is also a state highway, officials required all hillclimb cars to be street legal. Eventually, Amir Rosenbaum set the current record in 2002 at 3:10.53 with an average speed of 98.25 mph in a '92 Ferrari F40.


Driver Car Time Avg. MPH
1. Lou Gigliotti ZR1 Corvette 3:21.747 92.79
2. Steve Millen Mitsubishi GT-R 3:22.926 92.25
3. Jeremy Kappus Mitsubishi Evo RS 3:25.579 91.06
4. Guy Cunningham Griggs GR40 Mustang 3:28.423 89.82
5. Ezra Dyer 911 Porsche 3:33.419 87.71
14. Jeff Smith '65 Chevelle 3:59.320 78.22

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