Ever since the dawn of the combustion engine, car owners have anticipated the ritual of a driving vacation. Loading up the car, topping off the fuel tank, buying a box of doughnuts and a big cup of coffee on the way out of town—the true essence of a road trip.
From the early days of racing, back when hot rodders made the long pilgrimage to dry lakes and Bonneville, the ritual remains the same: get there, change tires, run them during time trials, convert them back to street use, then head back home—sometimes thousands of miles. It can’t get much better than that.
Today with technological advances, it’s awfully tempting to plug in the GPS and settle in while a fancy voice tells you exactly where to turn. But for us hot rodders, a wrinkly old map and a little imagination are our best friends once we hit the road.
After a long, hard winter—at least on the East Coast—there’s nothing like the adrenalin rush you get when you roll open the garage door and fire up your Camaro for the first time. Hopefully you made use of the downtime to polish and upgrade your ride, but now with the sun shining and temperatures on the rise, it’s time to start the new season with a land voyage.
It was only natural for Camaro Performers magazine to carve out a path leading to the little seaside community of Ocean City, Maryland, for the 18th annual Cruisin’ Ocean City event. Each May, this bitchin’ town and its 8,000 year-round residents open up a 10-mile stretch of beach to 3,000 passionate hot rodders. If you dig big-inch mills in an oceanfront setting, and look forward to tanking up at least once a day, then this event is for you. (Who cares about gas prices? You’re on vacation!)
The cornerstone of the experience takes place near the end of the strip, at “the inlet.” This area serves as the epicenter for the weekend’s big events. Once there, you’ll be overwhelmed by the immaculately maintained beaches and wicked surf. You’ll wish you’d brought your longboard.
On display were countless Camaros of all generations with build styles ranging from restos, street machines, Pro Touring, and Pro Street. And if you timed it right, you could have met up with drag racing legend “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, who was on hand signing autographs all weekend.
Adjacent to the parking and vendor area is an amusement park, where the sounds of the arcades and the screams from the haunted house accompany the festive sight of a Ferris wheel. The aroma of fried foods transports you back to a time when you were knee-high to a first-gen bumper in your PF Flyers.
You also had a chance to grab a bite, top off the tank and set a course to any number of cool stops such as Hooters, Phillips Crab House, or Harley Davidson of Ocean City, to name a few. Want more? There’s nothing quite like hitting the boulevard ’til the wee hours of the morning with thousands of fans admiring your ride and cheering you on from the sidelines.
If you haven’t experienced Ocean City before, mark your calendars for 2009 and be sure to hit the road for one of the hottest horsepower festivals in the East. Check it out at