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The Race of Gentlemen.

Photography + Copy: Johannes Huwe
Publication: Wonders

We partnered with Johannes Huwe to produce a unique set of photos documenting the annual “The Race of Gentlemen” taking place on the seaside beach of Wildwood, New Jersey. The story was originally published in the Wonders app and documents a unique modern take of the classic motor-culture.

Just a few meters from the boardwalk in Wildwood, New Jersey, you can hear the growling motors. A ‘34 Ford hot rod, a cast-iron bathtub with wheels and engine, joins the lineup of historic cars facing the beach.

From high up in a lifeguard tower, an announcer welcomes the cars, the drivers, and the spectators and then explains the rules of the race. Then everyone’s attention turns to the flag girl, a beautiful blonde in a white Harley-Davidson Service jumpsuit with the legs cut off short-short. She’s standing barefoot between two booming cars at the starting line, just a few yards from the sea. The engines roar and she does an acrobatic jump into the air and lowers the flag. She disappears in a cloud of sand as the cars take off for the 1/8 mile race down the beach.

This is “The Race of Gentlemen”!

In the 1940s and 50s, American hot-rodders loved to head out to the beaches to test their babies in sprint races like this, a tradition that the Oilers CC/MC decided to revive in 2011. The seaside beach of Wildwood, New Jersey is particularly wide and is the perfect spot for the fourth running of this “Race of Gentlemen” (TROG).

Only American cars built before 1935 are eligible and can only have spare parts or attachments from before 1953; antique motorcycles 1947 or older are also allowed to enter.

With typical Vegas-style neon signs on the motels and restaurants straight out of the doo-wop era, Wildwood is the perfect spot for such match-ups of historic racing cars and motorcycles. There’s one motel after another lined up along the 4 mile stretch of Atlantic Avenue that runs through Wildwood.

Atlantic Avenue is home to the Surfcomber motel, which hosts the pre-race party, the “Night of the Troglodytes.” Police block surrounding roads for the party and the nearly 150 vehicles and motorbikes of the participants are on hand to be admired by all in attendance.

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Photo stories:

 Nazare
 The Race of Gentlemen
 Environment
 U-Hauling Ass
 California


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