Palm Springs Continental

Hard to believe this is February but that’s Palm Springs for you.

Set in the Coachella Valley in the Colorado desert it’s a holiday destination just 100 miles east of Los Angeles in Riverside county . What better way to take in the mid-century architecture and stunning high desert landscapes than in this incredible 1962 Lincoln Continental.

Journalist Greg MacLeman and I drove the 90 minutes from LA last spring to shoot a feature for Classic and Sports Car magazine and loved the intense hot colours and arid climate.

Like many western US towns it’s laid out in a grid pattern and many of the the older houses here were built to a formulaic pre-fabricated angular single story modernist design in the 1950’s. With broad palm tree lined boulevards it offered up a period feel to the huge stature of the 18ft long Continental.

Being so early in the year my challenge was to pick up the very pale blue of the Lincoln in the harsh low angle high contrast desert sunlight. From most angles the car looked bright white and it was only the with the light from behind camera that any colour at all could be captured.

We photographed this tracking shot on the edge of town on a stretch of road leading to an area of land belonging to the local native American people. Despite being so enormous the seven litre V8 picks up speed briskly and seems to glide over the tarmac with its wheels ever so slightly tucked under that slab-like bodywork.

The Lincoln Continental seemed perfectly engineered for the empty four lane highways of Palm Springs, I can’t imagine what it’d be like to drive in traffic on the congested streets in New York or Boston.

Suicide doors were a big feature of the Continental ,opening the whole side of the car with a pillar-less aperture.