Homemade Hill Climb Car

by Michael Satterfield 

Hiram Ibarra's hill climb car is the epitome of a homemade, grassroots racer. When I first saw his car at this year's San Pedro Mártir Hill Climb I didn't know what to think. The car was almost as wide as it was long, but it was running, passed tech inspection, and would be taking on the world's longest hill climb. Powered by a Kawasaki motorcycle engine, sitting behind the driver, power is driven to the independent rear end, making it more of a gocart than a car.


The car is a collection of parts, the chassis came from a salvaged UTV, the suspension, steering, and other miscellaneous parts came from Hiram's previous hill climb car, a Ford Thunderbird. The powertrain, shifter, and gauges come from a Kawasaki motorcycle. The rest of the car was made up of aftermarket tuner parts and custom-made pieces, many being repurposed from the project donors.


The first day of testing the car ran some respectable times, but as it often is with racing fuel pump issues prevented the car from making many practices runs. The team worked through the night to get the night to get the car running again so it could compete in the next day in the official timed runs.
Sadly the car only made one of the two required runs on competition day, so Hiram finished this year's event with a DNF.


Even though he didn't finish, he was excited to get back to work the bugs out on the car and hopes to return next year after having more time to test. More importantly, this car and its driver are one of the main reasons that races like the San Pedro Mártir Hill Climb are so awesome, it is one of the true last races where you can run just about anything with wheels.

From home-built customs piloted by amateur drivers to former Pike's Peak champions driving state of the art 1,400hp race cars, everyone is racing the clock and themselves. Teams help each other in the pits, loan each other tools, parts, and even labor, because every racer knows what it is like to just want to get your car back together and get out on the track.


The longest hill climb in the world is scheduled again for September 20th-21st, 2019. The race is open to cars and motorcycles in a variety of classes and more information can be found at www.sanpedrohillclimb.com.


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