“California Dreamin’ from The Mamas & The Papas is now 50 years old. On this day, the day I spent with Brian Bent in the Los Angeles mountains, the song seemed as if it was being played on the radio for the first time. Only this time twice as fast, and played on 100 electric guitars . Because Brian loves speed. And he loves things loud. The energetic Californian lives out these two characteristic features in an incredible number of different fields: he surfs, he’s an artist, leader of a band and hot rod designer – to mention just a very few.
It shouldn‘t be too difficult to figure out which of his interests appealed to me most when I visited Brian on my last trip to LA. We met for the first time at the WHEELS AND WAVES in Biarritz and I was finally able to accept his invitation to take a closer look at his self-made car fleet. The last hot rod he built completely on his own using original parts from the 1920s and 30s really fascinated me. But you can‘t really expect steadfast determination to reproduce the original from Brian. This impressive looking construction is a jaw-dropping mix, a kind of “best of“, made from different vehicles of that era. They also inspire me when I create my own. The fact that he combines the entire thing with a V8 engine is something that did not go unnoticed on the next tour we took along the winding roads in the hills around Long Beach. If I’d had a toupet, it would now be lying somewhere in one of the ditches that serve as a chillout area for lizards. If they like that kind of thing, that is.
With the sandy headwind blowing in his face and Brian at the wheel grinning like a big boy, it became clear to me why the surf legend cannot understand why people live in the city, where it rains constantly and is cold. So much for Hamburg. Even so, he was pleased to accept my invitation to repeat the trip on Ehinger Kraftrad bikes in my home town. We are sure to find something warm to him to put on We are sure to find something to keep him warm. Even if it happens to be horsepower. After all, the spark of freedom glows everywhere.
(c) EHINGER KRAFTRAD Photographer: Josie Perez Writer: Fabi Bil