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Pikes Peak Hill Climb Record Shattered by a 1949 Ford Truck

1949 Cummins Diesel Ford Truck ~ Photo:
1949 Cummins Diesel Ford Truck ~ Photo:

Yes, you’re reading that right — a new record was set over the weekend for the fastest diesel vehicle to complete the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, and it’s held by a 1,400 horsepower Cummins powered ’49 Ford Truck.

The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is a race in Colorado that takes competitors from a staging area at around 9,000 feet above sea level through 156 turns to the very top of Pikes Peak mountain at an elevation of 14,115 feet. The total course length is 12.42 miles.

Owner and driver Scott Birdsall of Chuckles Garage has been chasing this record for several years in this one-off beast of a pickup, and he might have just proved he built the fastest diesel truck on the whole damn planet.

After suffering a crash during a 2018 attempt, the ’49 Ford known as “Old Smokey” underwent an unplanned face lift and another host of upgrades.

Not long after the truck was operational again in 2019, Birdsall went right out and set the new diesel 1/2 mile world land speed record at over 161 mph — Scott piloted his truck to a final time of 11:24.065.

If that weren’t enough, the Internet is littered with videos of Old Smokey being whipped around drift courses and burnout pits like it’s a rented Subaru on Spring Break…

The icing on the cake for Birdsall’s victory over the mighty Hill? He finished the race with the truck in limp mode and still bested the previous record by 13 seconds.

What record Old Smokey is set to shatter next is anyone’s guess, but we do know for certain the baddest diesel truck on the planet isn’t perched on an expensive lift or 30″ wheels on the SEMA floor. That title belongs to Birdsall’s hammered, unpainted, and downright ratty old truck with a compound turbo Cummins and the purpose-built chassis to sling it around any corner.

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Tire Testing

Testing at PPIHC 2020. Upper section, the bumpiest I have ever seen it! I was very conservative into braking zones but still managed a 3:09…

Preliminary tire testing at the 2020 PPIHC. Smokey is handling great with the new Moton suspension modifications and Garrett turbo system. “Our Toyo prototype slicks are magic!”