Passo Tourismo, a Bavarian company, offers touristic routes in the Alps driving a Porsche from their fleet of ancient cars. Pierre-Marc Durivage, journalist at La Presse, tells his experience.


pictures from Passo Tourismo

(excerpts from an article by Pierre-Marc Durivage in La Presse, October 13, 2012)

MUNICH – Driving a Porsche through the Alps. One of those projects one puts away in the “extravagant ideas” category. First of all, renting a Porsche is near to impossible, and if – there are restricting conditions aplenty. And of course, the more you drive, the more you pay. All in all – it’s not for everyone.

But there’s better, and cheaper. Though you have to read the small print. It involves driving an old car. (…) Not just any old car: A 911 classic Porsche, from the times where the 6-cylinders engine was air-chilled, with this typical sound everybody knows.

Passo Tourismo offers to drive a legend through the Bavarian Alps, the Austrian Tyrol or the Italian Dolomites. Hotel and restaurant for 2 in luxury establishments are part of the deal. For 2 days, that’s a 769 euro fare. “Our clients have understood the essence of what it is we offer, and who know that they actually get a lot out of their money”, says Lars Eise, president of the small Munich-based company. (…) “It’s become a life philosophy, he explains. At first we didn’t realize this of course, otherwise I would’ve become a guru! But being in contact with people, we realized that they took away much more than just a driving experience. It’s simply one of the best ways to switch off from daily life.”

Porsche Passo Tourismo“Passo Tourismo sells nostalgia, reckons Lars Eise. Everything global and accelerated is the opposite of what we do. With us, there is no Blackberry or iPhone checking. You get kicked back 20 years.” The man declaring this is far away from being an eighties-loving hippie. In his early forties, the proud 6ft5 tall man first worked in international finance – New York, London and Munich – before taking care of Passo Tourismo full time. The idea he got from organizing Porsche trips for several years with friends in the Dolomites. In 2009, he and his wife Amelie decided they would give it a go and bought a fleet of cars for renting purposes.

Today he owns 6 classic Porsches from the 1980s and early 1990s. All perfectly maintained. “It’s a good precaution to supply clients with perfectly maintained cars”, Amélie Eise underlines. “They see the cars’ conditions and they know that we’ve put all our heart into them”, adds Franz Karl, responsible for itineraries.

The cars they bought between $25,000 and $30,000, often in California – where they are in better shape – and the suspension is systematically replaced to give them a more sportsy identity and to fit the Alpine roads. The brakes are also replaced, and the engine performance gets as much boost as possible – “it’s reassuring to have more horsepower when you need to pass”, explains Lars. The calaytic converters are also replaced with more efficient and less restrictive parts. As a result: No breakdown in 3 years of activity.

What about future projects? Buy more cars to bring the fleet to 10 vehicles, and maybe install a branch office in a Mediterranean island.

(…) Passo Tourismo plays the tradition card to its maximum: Hotels and restaurants on the way are part of no chain, and all offer luxurious yet utterly local experiences, be it in Bavaria or in Tyrol. (…) The itineraries Passo Tourismo offers are memorable driving experiences.  For the car itself and the roads one couldn’t know or find otherwise, but also for the touristic attractions in the area. The Neuschwanstein castle, built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, just to name the most famous. Munich-born Franz Karl, a Porsche fanatic who knows the area like the back of his hand, puts the itineraries together – for the client to follow at will: Museums, castles, cathedrals, panoramic roads, etc. He adds that “customization of the itinerary is possible. It all depends on our clients’ tastes."

Source: lapresse.ca