Palm Springs’ Paradise Road Show Was A Feast Of Hot Rods, Choppers, Americana
Story and photography by Johannes Huwe
A mecca of modernist villa architecture from the middle of the last century, this California desert town actually 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 icons who would turn Palm Springs into a vacation playground for the stars in the sixties. This is only true today during the Coachella Festival.
The climate—especially in winter—light, and beautiful architecture in the desert form the basis on which the 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, and this makes it a truly attractive destination for classic car fans!
The second Paradise Road Show took place earlier this year from January 20 to 21. The Ace Hotel in southern Palm Springs was the meeting place for all motorists with American cars from the forties to sixties, and lined up in front of it: lovingly maintained Harley Davidson and Indian motorcycles.
In the evening twilight, the whole backdrop of the illuminated hotel complex seems almost unreal in front of the barren Salvation Mountain rising out of the desert sand in the background. Streets around the hotel are blocked off so that people can marvel at the vehicles up close and talk shop in peace. Old converted buses are used as vintage shops, stalls around the hotel pool are there for the browsing, and if you follow the tell-tale sound, you’ll end up in front of a tattoo artist in no time. Thus, a different level of lasting memories are also provided for. For those who might want a less painful retro souvenir however, there was an old- fashioned photo booth at the hotel’s reception.
Music, along with plenty to drink, is provided in the stylish Ace Hotel all year. Refrigerators in the rooms were well-stocked with vodka, tequila, and various kinds of gin. Some rooms even have vintage record players and on the weekend there’s a DJ spinning at the pool. That sounds like a party in the heyday of Palm Springs. The organizers, nevertheless, specifically point out that they want to provide an event that is family and in particular child-friendly, and hot rod fans and chopper riders will certainly accommodate the next generation. After all, many of them are definitely younger than the vehicles they love.