It all started last year when my good friend Martin Aeppli hit me up and asked me if I was up for a mega roadtrip. Being a roadtrip nut, I wasn't the one to say no. The plan was to drive to the Davos – Stelvio mountain passes not much different to that driven in the popular television show Topgear.
First stop was in Zurich, where Martin and his car live. He took out the rear bench in the Scooby and had already bolted a Prodrive backbox on.
We drove from Zurich to Davos, from where the stretch til Stelvio was described by Topgear as one of the greatest roads on earth.
First sign of Flüela, just before you enter Davos…
This is the exact place where the real fun starts. Flüela is one of the mountain passes that connects the Engadin valley to what's around it, or Davos in this case.
As we progress up the stretch of tarmac, trees become more sparse…
When we'd set off, I had made it a rule that we wouldn't stick to a time schedule and that every time one of us wanted to take photos, we had to stop – so if there is an overload of gratuitious shots of the GC8, I am to blame. This shot was taken halfway up the Davos side of Flüela.
The Davos side (front side as seen from Zurich) is smooth and nice big corners that eventually tighten as you reach the top. Martin spends a considerable amount of time on these roads and he knows the area like the back of his hand.
Here we are at the top of the Flüelapass clocking 2383m above sea level. There are two lakes and a little hotel/restaurant.
No sign of snow today though. I stole myself away for some quick snaps of the car.
Telltale signs of the Scooby driven hard. Sweeeeeet!
Any rally fanatics recognize the little dude on the fuel filler flap?
One of the lakes atop Flüela.
Then down the Engadin side. Some bits of this route were quite bumpy.
One of the biggest issues running older gen turbo cars up mountain passes is that you have far less oxygen up top which means the intake charge is quite lean. Most people don't notice this but in older cars, the power deficiency can be felt quite easily.
Some sticky rubber and some signs of rust.
Further down the Engadin side, we stop for more clicks
Eventually you arrive at a set of hairpins and some really serious drops with nothing to hold you from freefall.
Here we are parked up on the outside of a hairpin. That's quite a drop!
You can see scrape and rubber marks from bikers leaning into the hairpins.
Further down the road, we stop again for pictures.
The epic big wing, MRT 22B. The backbox is from Prodrive. Switzerland really doesn't like loud cars.
Loving the side profile…
I think he was texting everyone telling how epic the drive was!
With a backdrop like this, it's impossible to find an unflattering angle to shoot a car.
Time to attack some hairpins!
There are plenty of them down the Engadin side of Flüela on the way down.
Even though it doesn't look like it, he's having a ton of fun, but driving on roads like these requires quite some concentration, even if you know every single corner by heart.
Since our trip was so laid back and not tied to strict time schedules, we weren't covering massive distances. Luckily Martin has a flat in a nearby town called Sent. I must say what a brilliant part of the world this is - even the main roads look like this, and Martin tells me he has never seen a speed camera in that region of Switzerland.
On our way are a series of narrow forest roads that go up and down all the time. These are awesome because despite driving slow, the trees close to the road give you an amazing sensation of speed.
There are also quite a few one-way tunnels on the way cut out of natural rock. Good fun in a loud car.
We stop for yet another break in a valley called S-Charl. In spring the road is completely flooded by melting glaciers, which you can see just as a stream on the right. During winter this entire road is closed, I am told people who live in the town up the road come down on skis.
Big world, small Scooby.
One more snap of the valley.
As we drove up we got to a hyro-power plant right at the bottom of a glacier.
Apparently almost 60 percent of Switzerland's power needs are met by hydropower.
Steep. After this shot we headed to the apartment for a night's rest before we tackled Stelvio. More on that in Part II!