Is swag genetic??

Sam Hine, the young GQ prince, on inheriting intergenerational drip from his racecar-driving grandfather

Oh hell yeah — it’s 2021 and Blackbird Spyplane is back from a RESTORATIVE 7-day hiatus, CHARGED UP and ready to fulfill our one and only “New Year’s Resolution”: WE WILL GO EVEN HARDER FEEDING THE STREETS THIS “UNBEATABLE RECON” !!

And what better “whole recon snack” to serve up first than some rare-jawns talk with SAM HINE, a wise Blackbird SpyFriend & GQ editor whose name u know from fun pieces he’s written over the years about Online Ceramics, Thom Browne, Neo Yokio, pandemic-era TOMFOOLERY at the CHATEAU MARMONT and more — all linked below.

Sam’s also a co-host of GQ’s “Corporate Lunch” podcast AND in his spare time he continues to look like what would happen if an Elizabeth Peyton painting was struck by lightning, came to life and vowed to NEVER STOP GETTING OFF TREMENDOUS FITS

Since Blackbird Spyplane is the No. 1 source across all media for “unbeatable recon” on dope under-the-radar joints, and since Sam’s taste levels are Mach 3+, we asked him to tell us about a rare & cherished possession from the Hine Archives

He decided on an entire SQUADRON of FIRE VINTAGE RACING TEES he scored from his grandfather, a onetime amateur racecar driver (!?) who taught Sam valuable lessons about life, love, and fittedness

Blackbird Spyplane: These tees are great, what’s the story?

Sam Hine: “So they all once belonged to my grandfather Clark — long story, but we call him Grandpa Joe. He was an ad man, but on the side he was a hobbyist race-car driver, so over the years he collected this massive stash of extremely ill racing merch.”

Blackbird Spyplane: You jacked them from POP-POP?

Sam Hine: “No, over the years, he’s de-accessioned some key pieces from his collection and passed them down. I’ll be, like, ‘Are you sure you want to give me this?’ and he’ll say, ‘I’ve got hundreds.’”

Blackbird Spyplane: I don’t pay much attention to racing, but the merch is popping…

Sam Hine: “It’s the most dangerous and stylish sport — full of balling logos. Besides the fact that these shirts have dope graphics, though, I like that he wore them until they got super frayed, and some of them are covered in grease, ‘cause he’d actually work on his cars in them — the fits are fucked up and stretched out, some are slim from his younger days, some are slouchy and baggy. There’s so much character in these tees, and I think maybe he’s most comfortable giving away the ones he thrashed.

“He’s given them to me, to my brother and sister and cousins — he told us we’re not going to get the cars in the will, so this is the piece of that part of his life that he’ll give us.”

Left, Young Sam stealing racetrack-valor early on with his twin brother. Right, Grandpa Hine doing DIY-patched mechanics overalls s**t in some DIY-patched mechanics overalls

Blackbird Spyplane: What !! Grandpa Joe needs to come off these whips and BEQUEATH them to u …

Sam Hine: “They’re beautiful. He used to race British automobiles, so he had this Lotus, and back before he formally retired from racing he’d delight my brother and me by driving us around town. It was very not-street-legal.”

Blackbird Spyplane: Speaking of the Lotus, what is up with the DOPE UNCOOL “Dole / Kemp” bumper sticker ?

Sam Hine: “Joe was a Bob Dole supporter, and my father worked for Dole, so the whole family was in — but also, Joe has a great sense of humor, and he knows there’s nothing funnier than putting a ‘DOLE KEMP’ sticker on a racecar. I like that he laid it over the ‘Richard Petty’ sticker, too. [Petty’s an ex-NASCAR star who ran for North Carolina Secretary of State in ‘96 on the Republican ticket.] It’s a little shout-out for the gearheads on the back of the Lotus.”

Left: Grandpa Joe at the MoMA “What is Fashion” show from 2017. “He happened on this Armani suit,” Sam says, “and he’s wearing a Polo suit, I think. My grandmother blasted this picture to the family group chat.”

Blackbird Spyplane: Damn, you might not agree with Grandpa Joe’s politics but you gotta defend to the death his right to drip in 2-inch-inseam blue shorts with TALL BUTTER-YELLOW dress socks

Sam Hine: “He is an extremely swagged-out individual. He’s my North Star when it comes to stunting. His get-down is basically real old-school prep, but he’s not beholden to any rules or codes or whatever — he taught me that if you have a dialed-in personal style, you can wear anything and you’ll never brick a fit.

“He splits his time between New York and Shelter Island, so when he’s in the city he’ll wear Bass Weejuns and trousers with really fat pleats, an Oxford cloth button down and a bow tie with a massive double-breasted suit. And when he’s on Shelter Island he’ll wear Stan Smiths or Jack Purcells — sick classic sneakers — with pleated trousers or shorts, and these racing tees, every day.

Blackbird Spyplane: Have u gotten out on the racetrack yourself or do u rock these tees safely on the sidelines ; ) ?

Sam Hine: “No, I steal major valor when it comes to wearing all this gear — I can’t even drive stick, so to my grandfather I’m a total disappointment in that regard. But I’ve been watching a lot of Formula One under lockdown and become really obsessed with it, and I’ve met other people in fashion and media who are low-key obsessed, too. The other day I was talking to Sandy Liang about forming a little downtown racing-club together, making merch and trying to get people together to watch some races. It might happen.

Formula One is exciting for the uninitiated in that the speeds are crazy: It’s so fast, and the visuals are so outrageous, it looks like it could be a video game. But the real excitement reveals itself through the human drama behind it — there’s a really good Netflix docuseries called Drive to Survive that gets at that. The characters this sport attracts are insane, ‘cause it’s these ultra-tweaky spartan guys who have the fastest reflexes on earth.”

Blackbird Spyplane: Are the drivers cool?

Sam Hine: “They’re not that cool — not like they used to be. Guys like James Hunt (above left) and Jackie Stewart (above right) had monumental personal style. I guess now you’ve got Lewis Hamilton, who’s a streetwear god, and Charles Leclerc, who’s this swaggy Monégasque kid with an Armani deal — but they’re not, like, blasting cigs post-race.”

Blackbird Spyplane: My favorite of the tees u texted me is the Ferrari “Chicago Historic Races ‘92” one yr wearing with the jaunty Hermès scarf

Sam Hine: “That one’s my favorite, too, and that’s the reason why I root for Ferrari — because the tee’s so sick.

“I haven’t copped any other pieces yet because I’ve got a pretty good stash going from Grandpa Joe, but I’ll poke around on Grailed and eBay to see what’s out there — if you search for ‘Grand Prix’ there’s a lot of tasty stuff, especially from Benetton, because they used to sponsor a team.

“I’m looking at a great one now (below left): It’s got this red and blue stripe across the body of the tee and it says ‘Monte Carlo’ with all these logos around it.”

Blackbird Spyplane: Can u still find gems for the low or is this s**t blown up to the point where sellers are charging, like, Downward Spiral tee astronomical sums ??

Sam Hine: “There isn’t that bubble yet, no. Different fashion brands have taken notice, like, Supreme did some racing art for SS19, and Junya collaborated with Pirelli, and Rhude and Balenciaga are doing stuff, too — so it’s starting to percolate, but right now the market’s pretty quiet. If you’re trying to get in, this is definitely the time.”

-Sam’s on Instagram here and Twitter here
-All his GQ writing is here
-We put some more racing merch in the Cla$$ified Blackbird SpyMall

The full “Blackbird Spyplane Interview” archive, featuring such luminaries of the arts & sciences as Nathan Fielder, Jerry Seinfeld, André 3000, Lorde, Rashida Jones, John Wilson, Emily Bode, Ezra Koenig, Online Ceramics and more — is here.

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Jonah & Erin

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