The Race of Gentlemen celebrates hot rodding in one of its earliest forms. Stripped down and souped up, this 1/8th-mile beach drag race pits some of the country’s best traditional cars and motorcycles against each other for two days of sand-slinging action.
Out on Wildwood Crest Beach, chopped and channeled coupes battle flathead-powered roadsters. Pre-war four-cylinders buzz and early overheads roar. The flag drops. Tires spin and sand flies skyward. The cars sprint down the oceanfront track, waves lapping as they struggle for traction. They’re neck and neck. We have a winner! Cheers ring out from the sideline. Moments later, the next pair lines up, and the action starts all over again.
The entire scene is straight out of a bygone era—and that’s no accident. Founded in 2012 by Mel Stultz and the Oilers Car Club, the Race of Gentlemen (colloquially known as T.R.O.G.) zeros in on hot rodding’s golden age. Every car is hand-built, hand-picked and pushed to its limit in Wildwood. It’s a scenario where everyone wins.
The Race of Gentlemen is period perfect, from the machines and their drivers to the town of Wildwood itself. Sunny beach days turn into high-energy nights, with bonfires, concerts, and an abundance of after-parties at Wildwood’s mid-century motels. Beneath the neon glow, old cars fill parking lots and pool decks become dance floors. Friends from around the globe come together to kick back, catch up and bask in the T.R.O.G. experience.
Hot Rod Roots
This was our first year at The Race of Gentlemen. We spent two very full days at the beach, walking the pits and watching the cars tear down the track. As we studied multi-carbed V8s in pre-war Ford roadsters, we took a moment to remember that this is where our industry began.
Cars like these set records at the dry lakes and at the Bonneville Salt Flats. They won awards like the Ridler and found their way into magazines read by teenagers far and wide. These cars were the trailblazers for our sport as we know it today.
And, best of all, they’re not cooped up in museums. They’re not tucked away in private collections. Instead, they’re out on the Jersey Shore spinning tires and raising hell—just like hot rods were meant to do. We’re already looking forward to next year.