Unrestricted Speed – North to the Arctic Circle in a Boxster

May 23, 2020

Jeremy Swiger Lives in Germany near Stuttgart and drives a Boxster and 991 – all over the place:

I put the hammer down and feel a rush of Adrenalin as we leave the speed zone behind. I continue to accelerate, my peripheral vision going tunnel-like as the asphalt ribbon disappears underneath. Somewhere north of 100mph, the rush of wind overtakes the rush of the intake just behind my left ear. This is the German autobahn experience in vast stretches outside my town near Stuttgart.

We are expats; out of our native land but in our element. Before moving from the States three and a half years ago, we sold off our reliable commuter appliances, favoring a 1st-gen Porsche Boxster as our vehicle of choice.

It just seemed appropriate.

Prior to Germany, the Boxster served weekend duty for top-down drives with the local Porsche club. Once shipped to Germany, it went from weekend warrior to long road-tripper, supplementing duties as a part-time daily driver in between excursions. In June of 2018, I took it on an 8-day excursion from Stuttgart to Norway and the Arctic Circle, looping out to the coast along the way to drive the famed Atlantic Road. The little Boxster made the nearly 4000 miles trip without skipping a beat. The IMS bearing didn’t explode either! Go figure.

Meanwhile, sailing across the Atlantic from a dealer in Pennsylvania to the Port of Bremerhaven, my new to me 2013 991 hadn’t left the east coast in time to make the Arctic Circle trip. The 991 has since supplanted the Boxster longer excursions. Last year, we logged about 5000 miles in it traveling to the French Riviera and Monaco for the Grand Prix, Montreux, Switzerland for the Jazz Fest and Amsterdam with a loop through Belgium during a late summer work trip.

While the Boxster’s intake sound and droppable roof make it irreplaceable to the 991, it turns out (unsurprisingly), that the power and creature comforts of the 991 make it much more suited to long hours blasting up the autobahn. Yes, I just used “creature comforts” to describe a Porsche 911. But let’s face it, the 991 is light years ahead of any prior 911, as it should be. Both the Boxster and 991 are competently fun for carving up the twisty roads of the Black Forest, which is great for a few hours of fun on the weekends.

Lastly, I have to mention our grocery go-getters. Life as an expat isn’t entirely about tooting around Europe in fast cars. My wife and I both have day jobs which don’t involve being interviewed by the late Robin Leach. Much of the drive for us to transfer here was based on the idea that we could economically tour more of Europe than would ever be possible from our native Florida. We arrived in our new home about 6 weeks before the Boxster and needed a cheap errand-runner of which we didn’t care about scrapes or dents as we learned to navigate the narrow streets and different driving rules over here.

We started with a 5-speed manual E39 BMW 5-Series wagon. Unicorns in the US but run-of-the-mill in Europe, stick-shift wagons are the car geeks unspoken dream. While lacking the go-fast coolness of Porsches, AMGs or M-cars, the European station-wagon is cool in a different way… potential for competent performance which let you row your own gears, all while hauling your wife and kids around with a muddy dog in the back. Or, as in our case, let us row our own gears while hauling a sofa home from Ikea… with the tailgate closed! Unfortunately, rust took out the first BMW so we are currently running a previously unloved and disposed P2-chassis Volvo V70 Turbo.

More to come!