Calling all vintage motor enthusiasts! If you are driven by the love of all things petrol powered, with a strong sense that you were born in the wrong generation, you are not alone. So put down the ‘How to build a time machine’ manual and start working on your vintage ride, because The Race of Gentlemen is for you.
Since it’s inception in 2012 The Race of Gentlemen(TROG) has been the go-to event for anyone with the need for a heavy dose of nostalgia. Centered around a 1/8th-mile drag race on the beaches of New Jersey, The Race of Gentlemen has become much more than just a simple drag race. It has become a way to transport yourself back in time, reliving the glory days of bare-bones motoring. The period is post-WWII, with anything predating that being accepted into the event. This means you have to submit what you plan on bringing to the event for approval, whether it be a car or a motorcycle.
The Race of Gentlemen is your opportunity to party like the year is 1955. Participants don’t just leave it to the period correct machines. Instead the event is packed full of participants doing their best impression of their grandparents. This means not only are the machines period correct, so is their apparel. Matter of fact the entire event is one giant retro party. The event is broken up into different factions with the drag racing, chopper party, and rock n’ roll bonfire. Even the bands hired play swing and rock up to the 60’s, nothing newer. It’s one big throwback all in the name of old school fun.
The event is a tribute of sorts to a group called the Oilers. In 1947 a group of young WWII veterans from Carlsbad, California founded a club called the Oilers. This is when the party originally started, from their time frequenting the Bonneville Salt Flats to racing on the beaches, the Oilers really knew how to live it up. Then president Jim Nelson went on to help form the NHRA and the group dissolved some ten years after its inception. Some 6 decades later an unlikely new president, Mel Stultz, found inspiration to reignite what the Oilers had originally started. With Jim Nelson’s approval Stultz approached the city, starting the inaugural Race of Gentlemen on the beaches of New Jersey.
The participants come in all shapes and sizes from all over the country, all in the pursuit of good old vintage fun. The machines that partake in the event range from rat rod to show stopper and everything in between. With a ratio of 60/40, bikes definitely reign supreme between participants and spectators alike. With the drag races being open to anyone for the entire event it allows for any participant to race anyone that is willing to step up to the plate, all in the name of a good time.
At first glance The Race of Gentlemen looked like a hipster convention in the making. But when you dig deeper and see the true old school machines being used, not new retro bikes, you will surely gain a new appreciation for everything Stultz has been able to accomplish. Start growing your pompadour and sideburns now, because the 2017 TROG was just held last month in the middle of June, giving you ample time to prepare for next year’s Race of Gentlemen.
**All Photos are current, from 2012 or newer. That is how well these folks capture the essence of old school motoring. Bravo.