A 911 road trip to one of the world’s great driving experiences
En route, in a Porsche, to the mighty Transfăgărășan highway
View of twisting Transfăgărășan highway from above with Porsche 911
Take one French 911 fan, called Christophe. Add one incredible road as a destination. And ensure that you get there driving across Europe in your dream car. Could there be anything better?
Every box ticked“Cruise in one of the best cars in the world, along the most beautiful road in the world.” That’s an offer that no one who loves driving can refuse, is it? A line that I saw written down and has stayed with me. The car they were talking about, of course, was a 911. The road? The mighty Transfăgărășan highway across Romania’s Carpathian mountains. The prospect of a twisting, turning, thrill-a-minute 911 road trip across this beautiful region really proved irresistible.
Dark blue Porsche with mountains and snowy fields behind it
Chilling in the mountains: Christophe’s 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera
I gave it some thought, although I didn’t need to do it for too long. I live in France, so the Transfăgărășan is only a couple of day’s drive away and the 996 – my favourite Porsche 911 – was still pretty affordable. My mind was set. Not long afterwards, I had a 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera in dark blue sat outside my house. Quoting Doc Emmett Brown in Back To The Future, “The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?”
Dark blue 911 with small mountain village below it
The Transfăgărășan is 150km long and fully open to drivers between the months of June and October
This is a car that has undeniable style but has so much more to offer. It was able to sit there on the highway, at a certain speed, acting as a comfortable GT on our 911 road trip across the continent. But when you want to really find out what it can do, it is so precise, its reactions so reliable, that it creates sensations like no other car. I own a car that can smoothly escort you to the theatre at night, but also with the power for me to break my own lap records on the race track.Legends everywhereI went on a deep dive into the history of the 911, learning about when it was first presented to the world in 1963 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. And how it has never ceased to evolve since then. A near-mythical beast that continually reinvents itself. A giant of automobile history – and its present. I also started finding out all I could about my destination. The wondrous Transfăgărășan, a stretch of snaking tarmac like no other – a true driver’s road – deep in the heart of the Carpathians.
Dark blue 911 rounds shallow bend on mountain road
Corner after corner, hairpin after hairpin, when you’re on the Transfăgărășan, the fun never seems to stop | Dark blue 911 rounds shallow bend on mountain road
Trans-Europe impressed: our 911 road tripIt’s almost like an enormous public racetrack, carefully carved into striking mountains, in the land of Vlad the Impaler – the Romanian noble who inspired Bram Stoker’s legendary Count Dracula. To get there would be a journey of epic, memorable proportions, some 2,000km across central Europe. A trip that I shared with my dear father, sat in the passenger seat. It would be one that would take us from France and through nine more countries, roaring up and down dozens of famous mountain passes along the way. We visited so many fantastic cities while doing so. To Milan, that city where great style, like that of the 911, is always appreciated. On to Salzburg, ringed so beautifully by mountains, home to a stunning hilltop castle and a statue of its most famous son, Mozart. Through Budapest, sitting on the broad, breathtaking Danube, and onto Timișoara. Called ‘Little Vienna’ due to its stunning architecture, when we reached here, we knew that the Transfăgărășan was not far away.
Dark blue 911 parked high up, looking down on road
Mission accomplished: Christophe’s 911 looks down on the Transfăgărășan
My father and I experienced something that would stay with us for ever. A tour of so many European cities and cultures, taking in on one of the greatest roads anywhere on the planet, in the best way possible. By driving a 911. My 911.
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