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Action-Packed Excitement: The 1964 Hershey Hill Climb

The original Hershey Hill Climb, and annual event, ran between the years of 1958 to ’70 and was sponsored by the Appalachian Sports Car Club (ASCC), the Susquehanna Region of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). The Hill Climb was a part of the Pennsylvania Hill Climb Association’s (PHA) annual circuit.

Today’s interesting video below is scanned footage of an 8mm film courtesy of the AACA Library & Research Center. Earlier on at the event sports car racers competed primarily with imported machines and a few American specials. Corvettes had run on the Hill previously, but by 1964 a number of other domestic muscle cars entered into competition in SCCA events and some of them can be seen in the video.

The roughly 3/4-mile climb raises 200-feet and is run on an access road to the Hotel Hershey located in Hershey, PA, it is a very challenging run on the narrow passageway. The Hill Climb was was re-enacted in 2002 by the Susquehanna Valley Vintage Sports Car Club a region of the Vintage Sports Car Club of America (VSCCA). Since then it  has continued to be a part of The Elegance at Hershey a Concours d’Elegance held at the Hotel and is named The Grand Ascent.

Tells what you find of interest in the video, and also if you enjoyed it as if so more of these films can be shown.

17 responses to “Action-Packed Excitement: The 1964 Hershey Hill Climb

  1. Back in those days we were regular spectators at Thompson and Lime Rock, as well as the Hill Climbs at Mt. Equinox in Vermont. Never got as far as Hershey, though. It’s great to see those cars again – I can almost smell the pervasive odor of Castrol!

  2. It seems that, if you want to get a little speed up, you need to be willing to drift a little.

    And I like the Vette with the wide whites. Classy touch.

  3. Loved it ! Lots of interesting cars and driver “techniques”. Never seen wheels like on the wrecked Austin Healey. Yes sir, more please.

    • I also noticed those Healey wheels…my recollection is that those same wheels were used on some of the MGA twin cams. Anybody know for sure?

      • Those are not the same as the MGA T/C wheels, they are in fact branded as Jim Thorp magnesium k/o wheels. I have seen one (1) set as recently as 2012 (before moving south) as a friend of mine has them__and he’s not letting go (I asked)!

  4. They ran this hillclimb in April and October a few years. I live within hearing distance and attended many times. Quite a few cars that were only a few months old were run, some used up.

  5. Some good driving there, and others are learning the difference between ‘fast’ and’quick’. That lesson can get very expensive!

  6. Great video. Lots of interesting cars. A few Morgan’s, a Sunbeam Alpine, TR-4’s, even an MG-A. Be interesting to know what the finishing order was. Did the Detroit iron do better than the foreign sports cars?

  7. Competed there in my ’58 TR3 and hit over 60 mph on the straight away before the first hairpin. The Corvettes had to be hitting over 75 which made for some exciting action going into the turn shown in the video. The Healey was not the first to leave the course at that point since I remember an AC Arnold Bolide making a similar exit but ending up much farther off the course. Perhaps not the safest hill climb at the time but one of the most exciting and fun.

  8. My God I love watching those TR4s doing what they were designed for with such abandon. I loved them as much when I was 16 as I do now. I would read of their excellence in a regional racing newspaper here in Ohio back then.

    I have a TR6 now, but my girlfriend Betts has a beautiful ’64 TR4. She lets me work on it. More more more like this.

  9. Hershey Hill Climb was the first thatI ever competed in in June of 1963 in my Austin Healy Sprite…it was 3 weeks before my wedding ‼ I ran several more after that in the Sprite and in a Saab GT. It was a heck of a lot of fun and it’s great to see these old movies…Thank you!

  10. Great to see lots of British sports cars in action from back in the day. It seems everyone then, had or could afford one, whether competing or spectating. It seems to my video editor eye, however, that the film is a tad sped up -the way TV and movies used to do with car chases.

    • Sorry to disagree but I don’t think there is any speeding up of video. Camera is relatively close to road at corner of first difficult turn at end of long “straightaway”. considering that it is a converted 8MM movie I think the video is excellent. Without having seen or competed on the course it is difficult to realize how narrow the road is and how short the distances are between turns.

  11. Yes, more please! Interesting to see that the Fiat 600 was in the same class, H Mod, as the purpose-built sports racer. The trunk lid on the Fiat is propped up, so it might have been “Abarthisized.”

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