GUMBALL 3000: A PHONE CALL W/ MAXIMILLION COOPER

Printed E&E Vol. 2: Gumball 3000, A phone call with Maximillion Cooper Screenshot 2014-12-17 18.38.14“John Galliano…  Stella McCartney….  Tony Hawk...  Johnny Knoxville...  Nelson Mandela…”  These are just a few of the “friends” that were mentioned in my 30 minute phone call with Maximillion Cooper.He picks-up in Copenhagen where he is making preparations for Gumball 3000 2015, a 3000 mile “race” from Stockholm to Las Vegas.  Essentially, a bunch of the richest, most famous and influential people on earth go for a road trip, with Cooper at the head of the pack.Growing up in London, a young Cooper was influenced heavily by the punk scene, skateboarding and the inherent edginess of the city.  “Maybe it’s the music, maybe the melting pot of races.  London has had a major influence on me,” he explains.Attending Central St. Martins for university, he studied under John Galliano and his classmates included Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen.  His time at St. Martins turned into a modeling career, soon walking runways for Ralph Lauren and Armani.Racing cars had always been a draw for Cooper, but without the right bank account, it’s not an easy world to break into.  Using his new disposable income from modeling, Cooper was able to start his next career as a race car driver.  “They are inherently connected, fashion and cars.  Both pull from street culture and find inspiration in anything.”In April 1999, he and a group of friends, including McQueen, Naomi Campbell and Kylie Minogue, took a 4-day “road trip party” around Europe.  Their path, a loop through Monaco, Paris and northern Italy, would be the basis for the 3000 mile format.  “It was essentially a road trip with a bunch of interesting people.”  Cooper realized the influence of his network of friends, and decided to continue the rally annually, “trying to get my influential and eccentric friends in the same room together.  Cars reflect these unique people’s personalities”Just like that, Gumball 3000 was born.  “Gumball” refers to an Andy Warhol quote about how people “chew up and spit out” popular culture, “3000” as a nod to Cooper’s fascination with the future and the number of miles they would travel each race.  Every year since has been bigger and better, with a new and unique route for the rally.Clothing has always been an important passion of Cooper’s, so starting a brand along with the race was a no-brainer.  However, as he had seen first hand, “taking an underground, street culture, low-budget approach to the car world is not always easy to do.” Gumball’s collections draw inspiration from car imagery and perfectly reflect the aesthetic of the rally, evolving substantially with each release.With over 4,000 people having raced thus far, including royal families, Facebook’s founders, rock stars and the Jackass crew, the Gumball 3000 rally has grown every year, and doesn’t expect to slow down.What was the best Gumball ever?  “2008, for sure,” Cooper replies, “Everyone drove from SF to LA to LV and while the cars were flown to China, all the drivers were routed to North Korea.”  Maximillion and Gumball co-sponsored a friendship concert with Kim Jong-il where 100,000 people PERFORMED in the biggest arena on earth.  After the concert, it was on to China where the rally drove through the countryside, arriving in Beijing for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics.2015 looks to be another great year for Gumball.  The route is Stockholm>Oslo>Copenhagen>Amsterdam>San Francisco>Los Angeles>Las Vegas.  Who will be there?  Everyone who is anyone.Who will Maximillion Cooper be riding with?  His “soul-mate,” Eve, (yes, that Eve) who has driven with him for the last 4 years since their marriage.Words by: @theinc206x503Photos by: @13thwitnessMaximillion Cooper 2! by 13thWitness