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Louis Unser

Inducted 1980


Unser was born in Alton, Illinois in 1896 and became a legend in his own time. The Unser family, including brothers Louie, Joe and Jerry came to Colorado Springs in 1909, and Louie remained.

Fascinated by Pikes Peak and the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, Unser entered the Hill Climb in 1926 for the first time driving an old Studebaker, but he did not win it until 1934.

The win in 1934 was only the beginning, as Unser also won the Hill Climb in the years 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939 and 1941, and scored victories again after World War II in 1946 and 1947. In 1953, at the age of 58, he captured his ninth victory on the Hill and set a new Hill Climb speed record. Although the Hill Climb was the pinnacle of his career, he also raced roadsters in Colorado Springs, sitting behind the wheel of a car owned by Bill Kenz on several occasions. He took his rookie test at Indianapolis during the Depression, although he never competed in the race.

Unser drove the Hill Climb for 42 years and in 1967, the “Old Man of the Mountain”, as he is referred to, raced his last competitive race at the age of 71, paying for his entry fee with his social security check. Trying for a tenth victory, he took the car to the 11,000-foot level before the radiator blew and he had to sit the rest of the race out.

In 1968, he stood and watched his nephew, Bobby, gain the number one spot at the top of the Hill.

Once retired, he and wife Mildred lived at the foot of Pikes Peak in a home built from his Hill Climb winnings.

Louis Unser

Unser entered the Hill Climb in 1926 for the first time driving an old Studebaker.