Down Memory Lane
Johannes Huwe photographs the Paradise Road Car Show
TEXT | Johannes Huwe
PHOTOGRAPHY | Johannes Huwe
Design | Ztephen Lee

A mecca of modernist villa architecture from the middle of the last century, the California desert town of Palm Springs owes its popularity to the invention of air conditioning in the fifties. Frank Sinatra was the first to break ground and was persuaded to build a modern vacation villa. He hosted legendary cocktail parties there and was a model for many other Hollywood stars who would turn Palm Springs into a vacation playground for the stars in the sixties, but today, this is only true during the Coachella Festival.

The climate and the soft light, especially in winter, plus the beautiful existing architecture in the desert form the basis on which this remote location can continue to grow. It is, after all, a two-hour drive from Los Angeles International Airport. To attract tourists, it has cultivated itself in recent years as a vintage metropolis making it an attractive destination for classic car fans!

The second Paradise Road Show took place from January 20 to 21, 2018, with the Ace Hotel in southern Palm Springs serving as the centre for American cars from the forties to sixties. Lined up in front of it: lovingly maintained Harley Davidsons and Indian Motorcycles.

The illuminated hotel complex, bathed in the evening twilight, presented an almost surreal contrast to the backdrop of barren Salvation Mountain rising out of the desert sand. Streets surrounding the hotel were blocked giving attendees the opportunity to marvel at the vehicles up close and talk shop in peace.

Old converted buses served as vintage shops, with other stalls around the hotel pool open for the browsing, and if you followed the tell-tale sound, you’d end up in front of a tattoo artist for perhaps your lasting personal memory of the meeting. For those who might want a less painful retro souvenir, there’s an old-fashioned photo booth at the hotel’s reception area.

The stylish Ace Hotel provided music, along with plenty to drink. Refrigerators in the rooms are were-stocked with vodka, tequila, and various kinds of gin. Some even had vintage record players, and on the weekend there’s a DJ spinning at the pool undoubtedly recalling the legendary parties in the heyday of Palm Springs. The organisers, nevertheless, quickly point out that they want to provide an event that is family and in particular child-friendly. Based on that range of ages, be assured that hot rod fans and chopper riders will undoubtedly accommodate the next generation. After all, many of them are younger than the vehicles they love.

About Johannes Huwe: Johannes Huwe is the author of the coffee-table books “World of Speed” and “The Race of Gentlemen” from the Verlag Seltmann Söhne. His work on hot rod events has been published internationally in magazines and online. His travel photos always draw a great response, especially his striking self-portraits in breathtaking landscapes. Huwe photographed Palm Springs in an appropriate retro mode with a Leica M camera. Check out his website and Instagram account for more of his work. To learn more about Johannes, make sure to read the “Meet the Photographer” interview on our website.