Soul-searching in the 911 Speedster
People who know me know that my passion is for old cars: classic Porsche models in particular. Yet here I am: at the foot of the Großglockner mountain range in Austria, standing next to a 911 Speedster from the 991 series, complete with Heritage package. I’m surrounded by a group of “other” 911 cars, most of them from the air-cooled model years.
The Porsche 911 Speedster: a purist driving machine
These are things I’m familiar with. The Speedster has six gears, compared to my own four, but the three pedals are the same and the accelerator sits at a slight and familiar angle. The Speedster does not have much else, other than a steering wheel with a button for the horn – and that’s it.
The plan for the next 48 hours is as follows: around 800 kilometres of mountain roads and passes in a group of more than 25 cars all wearing the 911 badge. The route – much of it winding and twisting at altitude – features no traffic lights and only one planned stop. The latter worries me the least – if there’s one thing this engine can do, it is deliver revs. What I hope to find out is whether the Speedster is the perfect car for such a trip in spite of, or perhaps even because of, its light weight philosophy ... An early start to the Großglockner High Alpine Road Can the Speedster impress? Here, where the engine can sometimes rev above the magic 4,000 rpm line, is where pure pleasure can be experienced. An early start to the Großglockner High Alpine Road The alarm clock was set very early, so we find ourselves standing at the toll station at the foot of the Großglockner mountain at 05:15 on the dot. Before the line of 911 cars are a handful of bikers who had obviously got up even earlier than us. Ticket bought, car full of leaflets, seat position adjusted, low gear selected: let the games begin! Can the Speedster impress? Anyone who has ever driven our chosen route up to an altitude of just under 2,500 metres will remember it well. For those who have not yet had the pleasure, just know that a combination of motorway tarmac and giant uphill slalom is what awaits you. In some sections, the challenging route is a tight slalom that would suit the Alpine skier Alberto Tomba, while in other parts it becomes a real Super G. Here, where the engine can sometimes rev above the magic 4,000 rpm line, is where pure pleasure can be experienced.
While our cars tick happily nearby, cooling in the mountain air, a group of campers who have stayed overnight clutch coffee cups; the Steam from them rising in whisps and slowly dissipating into the frigid atmosphere.
The Speedster quickly becomes part of the group
After completing the early-morning sprint to the summit, it’s a question of waiting for the darkness to recede – and then it happens: the unique moment that fascinates people all over the world as the sky turns golden and the shadows draw silhouettes. As the sun rises, the Speedster, with its roof closed, is bathed in light against an endless blue horizon.
The weather is picture-perfect and the mood among the drivers is high: all the vehicles have shown themselves to be willing and the Speedster has quickly been adopted as a new member of the gang. Maybe it’s even more than that: maybe it’s even become assimilated.
At the end of what proves to be a long day I feel really happy.
Nov 19, 2020 at 23:46