The Woodstock of Rat Rods

The event was held on the Jersey Shore in mid-October before Hurricane Sandy did her worst. Restoring the beach to its former look and function is now a priority for folks in the area.

The “Wildman”, Mel Stultz with son Van.

OK, so you want to have eighth-mile drag races... on the beach… featuring pre-1940 cars and pre-1950 motorcycles. Plus, you’re going to hold it in one of the more affluent towns on the Jersey Shore. Yeah, right.

No one told impresario Mel Stultz of Neptune, NJ, that he couldn’t do it. Stultz had already turned an old bowling alley into an internationally renowned center for alternative music, and put on car shows like the “Jalopy Jump & Jive” and concerts in the somewhat dreary seaside town of Asbury Park.

He had also experimented in 2009 with an earlier incarnation of his dream, “The Motor Speedway”, at the eighth-mile strip at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in nearby Englishtown, NJ. The Motor Speedway was a multi-media extravaganza, with hot rod and motorcycle races, live bands playing like surf music stars “Los Straightjackets”, drive-in movies, and much more all happening at the same time! It didn’t take off like he had hoped, but it planted a vision in his mind for the future.

So, fast forward to the summer of 2012. Mel had a dream of having races on the beach like when speed trials and land speed records were run at Daytona and Ormond beaches in Florida from the 1930s to the 1950s. A chance meeting with the mayor of Allenhurst, NJ, David J. McLaughlin, would lead to the culmination of his dream. Allenhurst is a quiet upscale community nestled on the New Jersey shore and wouldn’t seem like the place to have such an event, but Mel successfully pitched his concept to the mayor and he agreed to give it a try.