It is the heart and roof of Europe, a watershed and the source of four major rivers, a barrier and link between the North and South. It is the cradle of Switzerland and its fortress. Some 800 years have gone by since the St. Gotthard pass was opened, and – as the shortest transit route across the central Alps – it enabled European trade to thrive and prosper. It was crossed by countless numbers of pilgrims, traders with their pack animals and soldiers, and legend has it that the devil himself had a hand in the construction of the road. The Gotthard has been rerouted, paved and tunnels have been driven through it –and repeatedly making transport history in the process. Ii is only logical, therefore, that, following the Stelvio Pass and the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, we have decided to bring our “Porsche Drive – Pass Portraits“ trilogy of books to a close with the Gotthard Pass.
In course of the last few weeks, we frequently found ourselves travelling over the Gotthard Pass, doing our research, asking questions and making appraisals. We constantly took photographs of its curves – on the mountain itself and from the air. We filmed using every trick in the book and we were amazed by the weather, which even took old Alpine hands like us by surprise – in the middle of June, the snow was piled up several metres high and one day we will certainly be telling our grandchildren about the infernal thunderstorm we witnessed throughout the entire night as we took refuge in the ancient hospice on the pass summit. It is one thing to study ancient maps in archives and museums and to read in historical travel journals of the horrors of crossing the Gotthard. When you not only cross an Alpine pass like the Gotthard, but actually spend some time on it, then your respect multiplies for all those engineers, muleteers, porters, innkeepers, postilions and guides who challenged the mountain – and ensured its long history would continue.
Instead of the old “Gotthard mail coach“ – which once sped through the hairpin bends of the Tremola taking affluent travellers in all haste to Milan – we had with us, as is frequently the case, a whole pack of classic and ultra-modern sports cars from Porsche, including all five generations of the Porsche Speedster (from the first 356 to the latest 911 limited-edition model), the brand new 992 series Porsche 911 Cabrio, a Porsche 914/6 to celebrate the anniversary, a Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 in an exclusive “Royal Purple“ livery and the only one of its kind anywhere in the world today – the Swiss-built Porsche 356 Daetwyler Coupé.
The book “Pass Portrait – Gotthard“ will be published on 10 October 2019 by Delius Klasing Verlag, but may be ordered now in advance.