White Sand and Red-Hot Exhaust

You’ve Been Doing the Beach All Wrong

June 14, 2017 Cars By Photo by Bryan Campbell
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Every one of New Jersey’s 130 miles of coastline has been physically rehabilitated from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy (and the moral destruction caused by MTV) and once again offers one of the best mid-Atlantic beach experiences you can find. From rollercoasters and boardwalks to Kelly Slater–approved surf spots, the Jersey Shore isn’t short on entertainment, but the most visceral and unique way to “do the beach” is to attend The Race of Gentlemen on the sands of Wildwood, New Jersey.

Of all the 130 miles of beach New Jersey has to offer, it’s the 1/8-mile strip along the water, in front of Wildwood’s famous pier, that lets beachgoers get a glimpse of the era when boardwalks were just being born. The Race of Gentlemen is a weekend-long vintage car–fest, starting with a party on Friday and ending with drag races, right on the beach, all day Saturday and Sunday. Only cars and motorcycles from the early post-war era and earlier are allowed to compete, and as the rules state, they “must be bobbed and stripped down for racing.” The cars and bikes are period-correct and the people who ride and drive them just happen to be wearing period-matching garb. Think of it as a much more modern, high-octane renaissance festival, but without magical spells (but probably the same amount of beards and clanking metal).

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Bryan Campbell

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