You don’t have to see Michael Emery’s face to know that he’s grinning from ear to ear in this picture. His road-rally prepped Datsun Sports 1600 was born to carve down steep mountain passes, so coming up with the concept behind this photo was easy. Finding a suitable location was another matter. There’s no better place to photograph a car than in its natural habitat, so climbing up the rocky hill, through the thorny bushes and over a rusty barbed wire fence was well worth it to capture this shot. I needed the high vantage point to make sure the road would still be visible where it wound past the next hill. If I had taken it at ground level, the road would have disappeared well before reaching the second curve.
Emery’s car was the first Japanese car to run La Carrera Panamericana, a grueling 2000 mile race across Mexico. Although he and navigator Ted Donovan came in dead last among the finishers, they won the hearts of the other teams with a combination of determination, style, and tequila-fueled revelry.