And they’re off!
On Saturday, Aug. 14 cars from the last century geared up to tackle the ascent on East Broadway in Port Jefferson village to commemorate the 1910 hill climb.
Sponsored by the Port Jefferson Harbor Education & Arts Conservancy, in partnership with the village, the event allows vintage car enthusiasts to retrace the original hill climb course as spectators cheer them throughout this historic tribute.
According to the event chair, Bob Laravie, this was the seventh recreation of the climb – its original, as the name states, being in 1910.
“We’re celebrating right where the original cars ran,” he said. “We had every decade starting from 1909 up to one car from 1980.”
The conservancy decided to bring back the hill climb in 2010, with the plan to run again every five years. After a successful 2015 run, the pandemic halted the 2020 event.
So, the 2021 hill climb was highly anticipated for people who love old cars. While many drivers were local to Port Jefferson and its surrounding communities, others came from across Long Island — as far as Queens and Montauk. One couple brought their 1911 Hupmobile Model 20 roadster across the Sound on the ferry to participate.
Laravie said there were about 60 vehicles at the start of the climb, parked outside the Village Center.
“We’ve done this every five years since the 100th anniversary and we look forward to doing it again in four years,” said Lisa Perry, president of the conservancy.
Mayor Margot Garant said the event speaks about the village’s role in the automobile industry which many people are not fully aware of. She noted that after the building — which is now the Village Center — was no longer used for making boats, car engines were created inside its walls.
Some of the early 20th-century cars at the event very well could have had their engines made in Port Jefferson.
“It’s great to see the turnout today,” Garant said at the event. “And, more importantly, to celebrate the history of the village in another dimension.”