Ill-timed snowfall and a 150mph Porsche Cayenne autobahn run – evo Archive
This Boxster drive in Austria had a much bigger Porsche journey behind it
Back in early 2009 Porsche offered evo the chance to drive a brand new 987.2 Boxster S. The car was in Germany, but I had a cunning plan. There was a good bit of road going up a hill just outside Salzburg with Porsche history attached. In 1958 an ancestor of the Boxster – an original 718 with RS in its name (and a K) – had won the Gaisberg Hill Climb with Wolfgang ‘Taffy’ von Trips at the wheel. And I thought it would be nifty to follow in its wheel tracks.
Flights were booked, Kenny P’s cameras were packed and then, the day before we were due in Stuttgart, it snowed. A lot. Enough to cancel our flights and leave then editor Metcalfe staring down the barrel of empty pages in a magazine that was supposed to go to print at the end of the week. Being young and enthusiastic I suggested that we simply drive out to Germany and, being between long-termers, I asked Porsche if there was a car we could borrow.
Which is how we came to motor down to Stuttgart airport through the night in 494bhp of black Cayenne Turbo. I seem to remember we arrived at about 6am, checked into the Mövenpick hotel, requested a late check out and then had a couple of hours’ sleep before going to pick up the Boxster S (on winter tyres, thankfully) and drive to snowy Salzburg a further four hours away. I’m not sure why we left the Cayenne in Stuttgart, but we did.
Anyway, we convinced a grumpy man to let us pay him money to sleep in an otherwise deserted chalet, woke up to bright blue skies over crisp white snow and spent an idyllic day driving around and taking photographs. The hill climb was beautiful, the Boxster S handled sublimely and, reading the article again today, I didn’t even gripe too much about the appearance of a PDK ’box in the Boxster (it had those horrible push/pull buttons on the wheel).
Then it was time to return, to get home to process photos and write words. We had schnitzel and strudel for supper in the Walserberg services on the German/Austrian border, then I pushed on for Zuffenhausen. We switched Porsches around midnight and I asked Kenny if he could drive for a bit, but about an hour later he declared he was too tired, so we swapped again.
And then, with a snoring P in the passenger seat, I set about getting us to Calais. The Turbo was absolutely mighty on the deserted autobahns, thundering through the dead of night, deep into three figures. I loved it. I’d borrowed my father’s TomTom and its simple graphics were the perfect co-driver as I lined up bend after sweeping bend. Two-point-three tons hunkered down and hurtling along with the soundtrack of its V8 chasing the beams of its headlights across Europe felt incredibly impressive.
Then there was the other soundtrack. Not Kenny, but Michael. For reasons now lost in the mists of 13 years, the only CD we had was In Time: The Best of REM. By the third listening I was pretty envious of the sidewinder and I was sure I was going to be a ‘Daysleeper’ when I got home. I’m not sure I’ve been able to listen to ‘Everybody Hurts’ since, and despite hours of brainstorming on the way to Calais I never did work out what the people’s automatic would be. A Golf, probably. I certainly didn’t look ‘At My Most Beautiful’ after one night’s sleep in three, but issue 128 didn’t have any blank pages.