The Race of Gentlemen is a nostalgia event on the beaches of Wildwood, NJ founded by the Oilers CC. See www.theraceofgentlemen.com, Heres a story from us...
Race of Gentlemen By Rick” CarFixer” Palagyi
With little time to make race date, this event was more than just your average “Race of Gentlemen.”
California Starting Line
It all started of when we were at the Bakersfield racetrack. Sammy Vildasola and I were sitting down talking. I'm downing my 3rd cup of coffee when Sammy tells me about this race that's on the beach in New Jersey. We start talking about our ages and what we still want to accomplish in life and we agree “let's build a car for that.” Sammy will tow it and I'll fly out there and drive it. Oh, I forgot to mention this was one month before race date and we have no car and no parts.
Monday morning is a quest to locate parts and start a roadster truck build. Oh, another thing, besides this car, we’re already building four others but suddenly this one is at the top of list with no room for it. Sammy goes to the Gearheads CC shop and borrows a spot for us for a few weeks. Now I’m working a real job and Sammy is running around, so we get all parts half assembled when I get a call to work in Texas. Fortunately, Sammy has a shop in Texas so I told him I can help drive to offset gas costs and let's finish it there so off to Texas we go.
I finish my work assignments while Sammy locates more parts. We got the truck painted, started and off we went to NJ from Texas. On the way, we stopped at the Carlisle, PA. swap meet. Then to NJ. Oh, we did not tow truck, we pulled the front end off and all the tires. We lifted the truck and fitted it to a 1/20 on a pick up. We got to NJ that way then not knowing how to remove it we stopped at a little diner were hot rodders were hanging out. Mind you the whole town was nothing but hot rodders. We go inside the diner and one guy comments “you guys did not drive from California to this event like that?” Our response, “yep.”
New Jersey or Bust
Now the whole restaurant has to go out and take a look. People are shaking their heads and taking pics. We start talking to this guy that had a bunch of friends in the parking lot who said, “ come to our spot, we’ll get that truck out.” So off we went with 20 guys ready to help us. We put front end together and started it up and we're ready for race in the morning. While I was working on the truck a gentle man named Tom Sweeney came by and said, “ You guys really come from California?” We say yes and he says, “Where are you staying?” We don't know so he says “Your staying at my house.” Wow, three days at a four-story house on the beach!
On Saturday, we got 3 passes in and then blew a head gasket . Sunday we drain the oil, mix a new batch, make one pass, parked it, put it up for sale. Two hours later, we sold it.
We dropped the truck off in Pennsylvania then went to Hershey swap meet. Got there early in morning but the place was a ghost town so we walked around for a bit then ran across this older guy, huffing and puffing. He had a 45-foot trailer full of stuff. I asked him if he need help and he said sure. Four hours later we had him unloaded. I asked him if it would be cool if we found parts, if we could drop them off at his location and then pick them up in the evening. He agrees and we came back that night. He told us he rented a house and we're staying with him. It was a farmhouse built in 1700s. We had breakfast in the morning and steak at night while staying there. We find our later, the man is Terry Cook, former editor of Hot Rod Magazine and a funny guy! What an awesome trip; it goes on and on. It’s called “livin' a dream...” Thanks to everyone who helped make it possible and for all the donated car parts. Special Thanks: Anna Marco