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The Road to Bandit Town

“There’s much that separates the two American coasts, not the least of which is about a 3,000 mile stretch of the most well-developed road system in human history. But, as much as those roads connect us, there’s always been a distinct East Coast style and a much different West Coast style.

It shows up in car culture all the time: the East Coast will usually choose performance before style, while the West Coast will pull the wipers off an old car for no other reason than it just looks better. Same thing can be applied to personal style. There are some 300 years of hardcore European influence that’s been washing up on East Coast shores and it’s turned into a pretty easily-identifiable look. Meanwhile, the Latin American influence on the Western states has manifested itself in ways that make it really easy to tell which gates at JFK are non-stop flights to L.A.

It‘s with all this evidence that we here at Hemmings hatched an idea with Daryl Carr from Stetson Hats, as we stood together on a South Jersey beach and watched guys in page-boys and fedoras slowly burp their antique roadsters and Harleys up and down the sand on a cloudy Saturday morning. Looking out over the collection of spare, narrow jalopies hammered out of tin and wood, it was easy to understand how one of the most iconic American brands fit so naturally into the environment these guys had created for themselves: the historic beach boardwalk behind us, the pier and its giant Ferris wheel protecting us from the north and nothing but the timeless style of South Jersey breakers to frame machinery draped in vintage dungarees, wool racing jerseys and that classic Stetson hat. It was a recreation of early Twentieth century automotive beach racing art-directed and set-designed to recall an era of American car culture that, when we squinted just-so, looked fairly accurate.”

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