Jan. 19 Imperial Club BBQ Blessed by Beautiful Dry Weather in Palm Springs


by Bob Blevins

This annual event, organized by the Southern California Imperial Owner’s Club, is hosted by Marc Hampton at his Palm Springs home.  A section of the public street is closed off for this event to allow for the staging of approximately 45 vehicles.  While this 21st annual show is an Imperial event, they welcome other car clubs and encourage individuals to participate. 

On January 19th, there was something for almost everybody.  There were about 11 Imperials, several Chryslers,  three Lincolns, a couple of mid-60’s Fords, a post-war Packard convertible, several Cadillacs, one Hudson, a beautiful blue Rolls-Royce, a proud Corvair owner and his car, Mustangs, a Cougar and a beautiful ’62 Thunderbird- plus more!  A ’69 Chrysler 300 was a fine example of the “fuselage look” of the period with what must be the widest hood ever.  For those traveling in high style, let’s take the Electra 225, which has our luggage all packed and ready to go.

The entry fee includes all-day food & drink, topped off with a great bar-b-que lunch made to order with seating around the pool.  Marc’s home is open to all; there are couches, tables, and chairs everywhere- indoors and out.   I met several of his neighbors who don’t have an old car (not yet!) but love the event.  These are potential antique car owners who didn’t know it, until they saw the beautiful steel, chrome, and glass we all clean endlessly.

The cars are staged by 10 a.m. and those that could not make it in time will park on the surrounding side streets, creating a dynamic show of its own.  On the side street,  I saw a rare ’77 Plymouth Sport Fury- sort of a competitor to the Monte Carlo.  A car like this was rare when new, one of 20,000 compared to the 410,000 Monte Carlos or 318,000 Thunderbirds built that year.   The Sport Fury had an adorable interior, looking like it was styled by Mary Anne after she escaped Gilligan’s Island!  Seeing rare cars like this makes it worth the trip; I applaud whomever brought this car out for others to appreciate.

The three Lincolns were a Mark VIII, looking sharp in all black, a ’62 Continental convertible, and my car, a 1996 Town Car with the rare Cypress Edition option. I was asked a few times “Where are all the Lincolns” and I heard “Usually there are more Lincolns.”  While true that there were only a few Lincolns, I took such comments to mean that the crowd was anticipating more Lincolns, and that this event is known for having a great selection of Lincolns.  We will make up for it next year. The prior week’s rainout of the event affected the attendance on the 19th.  Other events in the SoCal and Arizona area pulled some LCOC members away this year. Imagine—too many events to choose from! Also an LCOC member showed up in his Imperial!  That is what it is all about—showing our cars.  If you can’t bring the Lincoln, then hop in the Imperial and head on down to the show. 

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