Bruce Springsteen, The River and the 5 Most “Jersey” Cars Ever

In honor of the Boss’s upcoming tour, we pick the cars his state couldn’t do without.

byBen Keeshin| PUBLISHED Dec 4, 2015 11:44 PM
Bruce Springsteen, The River and the 5 Most “Jersey” Cars Ever

You’ve got to respect a working celebrity. In support of his The River reissue, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will tour in early 2016, because the bard of the working man still knows how to put in a hard day’s. Beginning January 16th in Pittsburgh, The Boss will take his crew cross-country for a spate of shows that, if his former tours indicate, will often run in excess of four hours. And, after every show, the live audio will be mixed for paid release on Bruce Springsteen’s website; at the tour’s conclusion, Chris Christie will have about every damn version of “Hungry Heart” he might want.

Of course, Bruce is a Jersey boy. His songs are shot through with the state’s industrial imagery: chrome bumpers, empty lots, houses on the edge of town and, of course, the highways. As an extension of that, he’s also the premier chronicler of New Jersey’s car culture—all the love, danger, speed and heartbreak therein. In honor of Bruce, Jersey and all things denim, here are the five most “Jersey” cars. God Bless.

2002-2007 Infiniti G35 Coupe

There is a strict hierarchy of coupes in New Jersey. Herein, we’re focusing on the lowest echelon, comprised of the Nissan Altima Coupe, the Nissan G35/37 Coupe and the Audi S5—in that order. With significantly more prestige than the Nissan, but at a $15k discount on the Audi, the G35 (especially on custom rims) is Jersey’s personal near-luxury coupe of choice.

1977 Pontiac Trans Am

Bruce himself name-checks the ‘77 Trans Am on “Cadillac Ranch.” And if your king declares a brand affinity, you support the heck out of that brand. It may be Malaise Era in output (under 200 horsepower), but whatever. Jersey has always had a thing for appearances, anyway.

2002-2006 Cadillac Escalade

All right, yes. In The Sopranos, Tony Soprano drove a white Cadillac Escalade, one which sold after the show’s end for a staggering $120k. But the Escalade transcends prestige television. Before Tony ever palmed the wheel, GM’s mighty luxobarge—descendant of mile-long Eldorados that once prowled the parking lots of the state’s better Italian joints—was a hit. After, every Jersey business, straight and crooked, had to have one.

1987 Buick GNX

Buick, baby. Back in the Eighties, Nana had a Regal in baby blue, while her no-good nephew with the unverified cash flow drove its evil cousin, the GNX. All black, with enough turbo firepower to outgun a contemporary Corvette, the GNX was the ultimate bad boy of the northern suburbs.

“Stolen Car”

Patti McConville/Getty Images

Bruce’s most abiding hit, a twine of young love, lost love and the highway, is “Stolen Car.” Also, New Jersey police just uncovered a 21-man grand theft auto ring whose garage, at the time, housed over $4 million in sheet metal. So, turn up the volume on the vinyl and, for god’s sake, get a LoJack.