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50 Year anniversary tour

My slate grey SWB Porsche 912 turned 50 years in July 2018. I bought the car 2 years ago. It’s driving is at the purest level, not comparable to later generations of Porsches, no matter if 911’s or 912’s. It is pure, close to the road, basic.

I wanted something special, something I would always remember.  Something to experience the performance and the reliability of my car, even at the age of 50. 

The idea was doing a tour through the Swiss and Italian Alps. No friends, no wife, no other Porsches. Just me and the car, just driving for a couple of days. 

I decided to give the car a different look to create something special. I changed the engine lid to a blue one which I had bought a while ago to give it a rough and kind of outlaw look. I also took the silver chrome wheel covers off and added crosses to the headlights. I planned to drive some of the most iconic and spectacular passes in Switzerland and Italy in 3 1/2 days.

Before starting, I brought the car to my garage to do an inspection, telling them what I had in mind to really make sure that everything was checked and the car was running smoothly. 

The closer the day came, the more my excitement grew. I wanted to start the engine and get on the road. 

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 - Day 1 (338 miles)

I started in the area of Nuremberg, south of Germany. The route took me via the German Autobahn to Lake Bodensee where I crossed the border to Austria and went further on into Switzerland. From Lake Bodensee onwards I decided to only use small country roads towards my first overnight stop in Wassen, Switzerland. I just drove one pass called Klausenpass (1952 meters), where I was almost on my own. I arrived there early evening, slight rain with sun coming out once a while. No traffic at all. 

First day and first problem to come up with. The starter did not work. So much about reliability of my 50 year old car. Luckily I was able to push the car downhill and the engine was starting it‘s duty again. Mentally I prepared myself that the starter would not get back on duty and my feelings were right. So I had to carefully decide where to park my car in the days ahead. 

Around 9 pm I finally arrived at the hotel in Wassen after a 9 hour ride and a total of 338 Miles. I did not think it to be that long of a day.

Did I do my planning right?

Friday, August 24th, 2018 -  Day 2 (246 miles)

Early start 6:00 am. I wanted to be early on top of the mountains to see the sun rise. First view out of the window didn’t show any sun nor blue sky, but rain and fog.  I tried to start the car, still no reaction. So I had to push the car downhill. Even with its only 900 kilograms I felt pretty exhausted.  I got the engine started and was on my way. 8 passes to climb on the list, 7 of them above 2000 meters altitude. 

Light rain and fog but empty streets up the way to Sustenpass (2224 meters), where some of the legendary Porsche car videos were made. One hour later at the summit, no other cars, no motorcycles, just me and the 50 year old 912. 

Off to Innertkirchchen, weather got slightly better, up to Grimselpass at 2168 Meters. The weather became really bad. Fog and a visibility of a maximum of 20 meters. Without proper ventilation a real challenge to stay on the road. Down to Grimselpass and straight up to Furkapass (2434 meters). At sunny weather a spectacular drive with a fantastic view towards Furka and Grimselpass. Time for a short Espresso break at the Rhoneglacier, the origin of the river Rhone.

Nufenenpass (2478 meters), down to Airolo in the Italian part of Switzerland. Then north to the famous old copestone covered street over Gotthardpass (2109 meters) and down to the beautiful small town of Andermatt.  Oberalppass (2044 meters), Lukmanierpass (1920 meters) down to Biasca and San Bernadino Pass (2065 meters). The car was running pretty stable except that I had to park downhill to get it started again after every break. 

On top of San Bernardino Pass I stopped the car to take some pictures, engine on, however the carburetors had a hard time to manage all the different altitudes. The engine started to struggle and the car went off. Being on top of the mountains, engine off, nobody around, I ended up pushing 900 kilogramms three quarters of a mile around the lake. I managed, however, I was close to collapse.

I arrived in Splügen, where I stayed for the night.

Would the car get back on duty the next morning? 


Saturday, August 25th, 2018 - Day 3 (311 miles)

After checking the weather forecast which predicted snow for Sunday, I decided to slightly change the route to do at least Stilfserjoch, the seconed highest pass in Europe. 

7 am - early start again. I directly drove up Splügenpass (2133 meters) which brought me to Chiavenna (Italy) and via Maloja Pass (1815 meters) back to Switzerland. I drove by  the beautiful lake Silvaplana and the famous town of Sankt Moritz to La Punt. 

From there the 50 year old 912 climbed Albulapass (2312 meters) in the company of a group of italien vintage cars like Ferraris and Maseratis doing a historic Italian car rallye, which takes place every year in Sankt Mortiz.  Albulapass towards Davos and via Flüelapass (2383 meters) to Susch. 

The original plan was to go from there via Bernina pass to Italy for the next overnight stay but it was still early in the day. I love driving, the weather was still great with almost no traffic and I couldn’t switch off the car anyway. So why not add ome iconic passes? 

I continued from Susch, Zernez to Ofenpass (2149 meters) and down to Santa Maria Val Müstair. Here I had to refill the car, unfortunately I had to keep the engine running. Up to Umbrail Pass (2501 meters), the highest pass in Switzerland. The summit of Umbrail pass leads directly into the road coming up from Bormio (Italy) and further up to Stilfserjoch (2757 meters). 

After taking a few pictures at Stilfserjoch I took the curvy scenic road down to Bormio. I continued my journey to Gaviapass (2621 meters). The road was in a very bad condition and it started to rain heavily. 

As it was just early afternoon I still continued driving anyways. I drove south and used the very narrow Passo del Foppa (1852 meters) which connects Monno with Grocio. From Grocio further north, back to Bormio. 

Now via Passo di Foscagno (2291 meters) and Passo di Eira (2211 meters) to Livigno (Italy). Unfortunately heavy rain started again for the rest of the day. From Livigno, which is located at 1800 meters altitude, up to Forcola di Livigno (2315 meters). 

The road from Forcola di Livigno leads back to Switzerland to the Bernina mountain road. I decided to add Berninpass (2328 meters) to the book before taking Berninapass towards Italy, Crosotto, where I finally arrived at my hotel. 

What a day! 12 hours of driving without any stop except for refilling the car. 13 mountain passes, 11 of them higher than 2000 meters (6500 ft) above sea level.

I was asking myself would snow really fall as forseen?


Sunday, August 26th, 2018 - Day 4 (354 miles)

6 am wake up call. Checking the weather and the Webcam at Stilfserjoch where snow cleaning trucks were on duty.  So how would the situation be on other routes? How would I get out avoiding a long detour? One thing was sure I would not go through snow and most likely salt with a 50 year old historic 912. 

After checking several webcams from passes around me, I decided to drive back into Switzerland. Bernina pass didn‘t show any snow on the road, however, it was freezing cold up there. Heating is also not one of the strength of the 912 as all of you know. 

Bernina Pass brought me back to Sankt Moritz and from there straight towards Austria and over to Germany with another 4 hours of driving ahead of me. 

After a total of 1249 Miles I happily arrived at home. I gave the 912 a clap on the steering wheel and some nice words.  It did a fantastic job bringing me home safely after fabulous 4 days on the roads.


By the way who really cares about a default starter?

Route of 50 years anniversary tour
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