Producing a vintage automobile race on a beach was unchartered territory for the Mirrored Media team when they were called upon to execute the first ever West Coast version of The Race of Gentlemen. The Oilers Car Club and Stultz & Green Productions partnered with Mirrored Media to bring their event to Grover Beach, California on October 15th and 16th. Hundreds of racers along with over 15,000 fans and aficionados joined together to celebrate (in 1930’s fashion) the tradition of American racing and hot rod heritage.
As ye olde Mariners and watermen would say, “Time and tide wait for no man.” -TROG
Alas, this statement hit a little closer to home than we had hoped, as the entire production was nearly wiped out by some of the highest tides the Pismo/Grover Beach area has seen in decades, with sporadic rain showers and heavy fog throughout the weekend. Originally set in New Jersey, it was the first time in history that The Race of Gentlemen was to be hosted in California where, in October, the weather is typically predictable and cooperative. Though the weather indeed did not cooperate, the production team worked around the obstacles (including a small lake that formed in the middle of the race track) and the show continued on to be a great success, with hundreds of vintage cars, trucks, and motorcycles getting their chance to race on the 1/8 of a mile stretch of wet, but nevertheless operative beach.
The entire event was carefully crafted to emulate the 1930s. The tents and staging, barrel bars, custom signage, and employee uniforms were handpicked and/or designed by the Mirrored Media and TROG teams to ensure period correctness at every turn. More importantly, cars were restricted to bodies pre-1935 and parts predating 1953, while motorcycles were required to be stripped down, American made, and pre-1947.
Despite weather and tide setbacks, the debut of TROG West was a phenomenal experience for participants and attendees alike; proof that The Race of Gentlemen truly is the greatest race on Earth!
The Race of Gentlemen is an automotive carnival that celebrates American racing heritage. A true homage to automobile and motorcycle history, hosted by the Oilers CC/MC. Spectators and racers alike will experience a simpler time of when guys were gentlemen and cars were king! Stultz & Green Productions exhibit their hand-selected group of gentlemen, who showcase their pre-war machines at the water's edge on the beach of Pismo (Grover) Beach, California. Commonly referred to as TROG for short, the carefully curated event will give you a history lesson and an unforgettable weekend, all rolled into one.
It all started one cold night in November, 1947, when 8 young men from Carlsbad, CA came together over coffee at the APEX cafe. It was there that they transformed their dreams of forming a roadster and custom car club into a reality. That evening the Oilers were born and their first president, Jim Nelson, lead the charge. These young men had one common bond; speed! In just a few short months, the membership grew and in mid-1948, Nelson’s passion for racing brought the Oilers members and the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) together. Nelson’s friend and SCTA founder, Wally Parks, announced his plans to form the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), in 1949. Nelson stepped up to help and became one of their earlier technical inspectors. The Oilers became heavily involved, forming the San Diego Timimg Association (SDTA) and hosted some of the first NHRA drag racing events as Paradise Mesa. Jim Nelson and his partner, Dode Martin, formed the world famous Dragmasters company. Considered by many to be the inventors of the modern dragster, many of which still campaign today.
Fast forward to 2008, when a group of young traditional hot rod enthusiasts found a copy of Robert Genat’s book, “The Birth of Hot Rodding, The Story of the Dry Lakes Era.” Rich with stories and color-Kodachrome photographs taken by WWII photographer and founding Oilers member, Don Cox. A new infatuation of automotive history and car club culture was ignited. Tired of boring jacket clubs and parking lot car shows, this new generation of men set out to create a car club/motorcycle club with meaning. After reaching out to Robert Genat, the soon-to-be Oilers were put in touch with the one and only, Jim Nelson, the Oilers founder. During a private meeting in Nelson’s home, the group heard stories first hand as Nelson relived the good ole days. The laughs and tears rolled faster than Nelson’s nitro fueled 1929 Ford roadster on a dry lake bed. An instant bond was formed and Nelson, with no hesitation, passed the torch on, opening a new chapter in the Oilers history.
A new brotherhood was formed, with a total of 10 hand-picked members spanning from coast to coast with a promise to carry on the legacy that began that early November night. Their collection of automobiles is impressive, to say the least, and their determination to bring back racing as it once was is unwaivering. The Oilers have always shared a common ground; to build machines for speed, endurance and beauty, keeping a time honored sport of competition alive! Living up to the promise made to Nelson, the Oilers’ legacy has continued with true authenticity and pride.