Newport Indiana Hillclimb - 2004

Thanks to Pat Farrell

Newport Indiana Hillclimb 2004.jpg (89075 bytes)


Old Cars Weekly News: Newport, Indiana hill climb

…October 1-3, 2004, cars dating from 1955 and before were racing to the top of Newport Hill to see who could make it to the top with the fastest time... The original hill climb started in 1909, and continued sporadically until World War I. Representatives of cars of discontinues makes are limited to 1955 and before. Representatives from marques still in production, such as Ford and Chevy, were required to be built before 1942…

Ron Hardwig brought his 1910 Stanley steamer to the race. His official time was 30 seconds more than his practice time at 73 seconds. After problems on the starting line with the pilot light going out and having to be relit, Hardwig forgot to take the emergency brake off.

The Newport Lions Club, the group in charge of the event, is an understanding bunch though. Later in the race, Hardwig was given another chance to bring his time down to 37 seconds. Hardwig was given the opportunity to retry, because he was the only competitor in his class.

He explained that the steamer uses kerosene to heat water to 500,000 BTUs to power the vehicle. The car gets about one mile to the gallon of water and 10 to 12 miles per gallon on kerosene to heat the water. The car has no gearshift and no clutch.

“You just give some steam and go,” Hardwig said.

Hardwig got his first Stanley steamer in 1996. He was looking for a hobby and remembered his father telling him about playing on a steamer when he was a boy. Ron drives the car about 1,000 miles each year and tries to visit the Newport Hill at least every other year.

The record time for the hill was set by a 41 Ford pickup with a time of 23.09 seconds. A well attended event, the model A Ford class alone had 57 entries.

The hill climb is held on the first Sunday of October every year. More information and registration forms for next year’s event can be found on