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INTERVIEW: Moke America CEO, Todd Rome, Talks About Cruiser's History And Why It Makes An Excellent Holiday Gift

Sydney A. Braat

Moke America returned to America in 2017. (Photo: Courtesy of Moke America)

There's something about a vintage vibe that makes everyone happy and Moke America's reinvented throwback classic cruisers do just that. The green-friendly and colorful cars are beloved by stars, surfers, and Caribbean jet-setters. They were seen all around the Hamptons this summer and will certainly be on everyone's holiday list this year.

Celebrities such as David Letterman, Kris Jenner, Joe Jonas, and Katherine McPhee have been seen driving these versatile cars with an expanded trunk space and kickin' sound system. Hotels such as Hotel Joaquin in Laguna Beach, Isla Bella Resort in the Florida Keys, SLS South Beach in Miami, and The Menhaden in Greenport have also welcomed fleets of Moke America to welcome guests and transport them around. Brands like Louis Vuitton, Barry's Bootcamp, Saks Fifth Avenue, Vilebrequin, Funboy, and Serena Williams Fashion have used Moke America activations.

Moke America returned to America in 2017 and began producing and assembling electric cars in Sarasota, Florida, making them fully customizable for its sophisticated and fun-loving riders. They come in 11 cheerful colors, plus camo with additional customization for the bumper, grill, rollbar, rims, seats, top and more. They are available for purchase at mokeamerica.com.

I spoke with Moke America's CEO Todd Rome who splits his time between the Hamptons and NYC.

Moke America's CEO Todd Rome. (Photo: Romain Maurice)

Moke America cars were seen all around the Hamptons this summer. Why do you think they're the ideal Hamptons cars?

TR: Our electric Mokes are perfect for the laidback lifestyle of the Hamptons. You can drive to the beach, the farmer's market, pumpkin patch and friends' homes. One of my favorite rides is driving down Gin Lane going into Meadow Lane.

In lieu of the global pandemic, why are Moke America cars the ideal vehicle?

TR: Again, it's that easy breezy lifestyle. We are an open-air vehicle, so it's all about the wind in your hair and breathing in fresh air, which dovetails with what people are searching for this year during the global pandemic. No one wants to be stuck inside a dusty car. They want to experience the smells of the open road. Plus, so many people used their Moke for drive-by birthday celebrations, graduations and visiting friends from afar. They are really fun to decorate, and we love seeing the Christmas lights our customers are wrapping over their Mokes this time of year.

Moke America cars are known for their vibrant and happy colors. Can you speak to the branding of the cars and what the business hopes to accomplish with it?

TR: The Moke goes back to the '60s. It was a car built for the British military to use, but it had such a low clearance that it was turned over for civilian use. Movie stars, celebrities, musicians and fashion icons (like the Beach Boys, Brigitte Bardot and Jackie O) fell in love with the Moke. It also became widely used in the Caribbean and was a part of surf culture in Hawaii and Australia. When we brought the Moke back in 2017 and made it electric, we wanted to emphasize that FUN connection. Which meant creating a rainbow color palette to choose from. We started with 8 colors, now we have 11: two pinks (hot and rose), two blues (cobalt and baby), sunshine yellow, bright orange, shiny white, sleek black, racing green, fire engine red and camo. There's a color for everyone. At Moke America, we just want to put a smile on your face and spread good vibes.

Why do Moke America cars make the best holiday gift this year?

TR: Moke America is the ideal gift for the man or woman who has everything. You can drive around town in style. Moke America delivers a street legal vehicle that even Santa covets. We are electric, eco-friendly, street legal and fully customizable. It takes approximately 90 days to customize and build your Moke. So, if you order your Moke now, it will be delivered in the spring (just when the warm weather arrives).

What are some of your favorite things to do in the Hamptons when you're in town?

TR: I love Ditch Plains in Montauk, Andre Balaz's Sunset Beach (which was missed this summer) and Friday afternoons at Wölffer Estate for Happy Hour. I live in Sag Harbor with my family and we love long beach walks on Havens Beach and driving around town in a Moke. My favorite restaurants are Tutto Il Giorno, the Beacon, Old Stove Pub and Townline BBQ.

To purchase your very own Moke America, visit mokeamerica.com.

Sydney Braat is a Hamptons-raised and NYC-living journalist. She enjoys splitting her time between the bustling city life and relaxing atmosphere of the Hamptons. When she's not writing, Sydney is traveling. She thrives off of new experiences, cultures, cuisine, and languages. Sydney writes about the arts, philanthropy, food & wine, and shopping. https://www.sosydneyny.com/ sydneybraat

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