Since our first visit to the Essen Techno Classica back in 2006, I have always wanted to drive my own car over. The sight of all those great old classics on show and for sale made me miss my 911, and Dusseldorf city centre seemed an ideal place for a cruise around amidst ancient German money. For 2010, I vowed to get to Essen using classic Porsche power.
With Eurotunnel booked and the Barclaycard ready to take the brunt of the fuel bill, at 3.30 last Wednesday morning, I set off for Essen.
First stop was Banbury, for a fill up for car and driver (iPhone pic above). 24 hour latte on tap is a lovely idea, especially when you’ve only had two hours sleep! Costa’s Raspberry and Almond bakes are the perfect accompaniment. My car runs the billet Airflow cupholders, which have paid for themselves in satisfying my 911+caffeine addiction many times over. With coffee and cake on board, and iPod shuffle piping through the Autocom intercom headphones, we headed for Folkestone.
Just before Junction 9, the sign said ‘M40 Closed; Junction 4 to 3’. Pain in the bum as there is no real alternative after J9 unless you want to go miles around via the A34/M4. I had also just passed the logical link from M40 to M1.
I came off at J9 and ran the A41 all the way through Aylesbury and out the other side, eventually hitting the M25 (above). The detour was a nuisance, but it was a great drive. The M25 southern section was soon dispatched, and I headed onto the M26/M20 (below), stopping for fuel at the last-chance services and arriving at Eurotunnel just as dawn was breaking.
I was sitting on a kerb taking this picture of the pink dawn sky over the terminal building, when a guy got out of a car on the other side of the hedge behind me. He called to his son: “Look, look! Look at this old Porsche! Oh WOW!” Then he must have seen the back of me sitting there being a camera geek, and British reserve kicked in just as his son came bundling out of their car and wowing excitedly, just the same. “Shush,” he said, “it’s only a car.” Made me smile.
After my first proper run in the Orange for almost 21 months (since July 08), caning along an empty A41 and then a good old blast around the M25, I thought to myself “Yes, it’s only a car. But what a car!”
The tunnel crossing was a chance to rest. Loved their note about opening sunroofs and vents seeing as I don’t have either. We rolled out the other side into beautiful sunshine and I put pedal to metal again, knocking on 160 km/h all the way to Antwerp. I stopped there to grab a bite:
Two hours later, I was checking in to Essen’s Hotel Petul. Once upon a time, I’d have downed a double espresso and shot straight on down to the show. With days of sleep deprivation catching up with me, I decided to grab a nap instead. There’s only so long a candle can be burnt at both ends!