928 AROUND THEWORLD PART 2
Words: Robb Pritchard Photography: Philippe Delaporte From Japan to America. Part two of Philippe Delaporte’s round the world 928 adventure, with son, Baudouin, takes them from Alaska and snow to Washington and New York, via Death Valley
With the father and son team of Philippe and Thibault Delaporte having completed the first part of the journey through Europe to Russia, and with the 1989 928 GT on a container ship heading from Japan to Seattle, they would have been forgiven for thinking that the hardest part was done. Actually, the hardest part was about to begin...and they were close to losing the Porsche.
Back in France, with a month to wait for the Pacific crossing Philippe and second son Baudouin applied for what they thought was a straight forward visa-free service for America. It was far from that, though. Because of the visit to Iran five years ago in the 928 they had to go to the embassy for a special appointment. That should have been simple enough except that there was a twenty day waiting list and then, because the embassy put the passports in the post, Baudouin's got lost. Bureaucracy, eh? So, close to departure, if he had to get a new passport the trip would have had to have been cancelled, so Philippe spent days trying to find where it was, finally locating it in a random sorting office. They wouldn't just hand it over, though, and had to put it back in the system all over again.
But while all of that was going on the Seattle-based handling company had some even worse news. The US customs had taken an interest in the strange looking Porsche and wanted to do a full document
The US customs had taken an interest in the strange looking Porsche
used that only the middle of it is smooth… and it's also the domain of truck drivers who speed along at breakneck speed expecting that anything smaller coming the other way will just swerve out of the way. It wasn't too much of a relaxing drive. Another consideration was that if something went wrong, such as a breakdown, or even something as simple as getting stuck in a truck's wheel tracks in the soft verge, then the minimum charge for calling out assistance is $1700. The Koni springs and shocks did what they were supposed to do and, apart from being covered in mud, the car was no worse for wear. The Arctic Circle is now one more point of interest in the world that the car has been to.
Back 2400km south at the Canadian- American border the guards were dumbfounded to see the mud and frozen slush covered 928 pull up in the queue of equally dirty SUVS and 4x4s. Then began the long drive south. They stopped in Seattle and San Francisco, cities that they both loved, and then got to somewhere they'd been looking forward to for a while; the garage of Magnus Walker. The alternative Porsche legend was amazed to learn of their story and couldn't believe that they were driving so far with absolutely no support whatsoever. A new friend was made here. Also, some local Porsche enthusiasts who'd seen the website and were following their progress contacted them to arrange a meeting, and so another highlight of the trip was an amazing evening being driven
The alternative Porsche legend was amazed to learn of their story
mounted on the roof. Satisfied that they were indeed driving around the world, and that the wheel hadn't been left there by accident, they were free to continue.
Washington and New York were the last points of call before taking the car to the port to be wheeled into a container and tethered down, and it was another few weeks before it arrived back at Le Havre. The condition of the roads in the USA had completely worn out the Pirelli M/S tyres so Philippe drove carefully and wasn't even concerned with the notoriously bad Parisian traffic.
After 34,714km, 4500-litres of petrol and thirteen countries traversed the 928 has now entered Porsche legend as the only car from Stuttgart to ever undertake such a journey, and obviously HQ wanted to use the car in brand promotions. Philippe was of course happy to oblige and was basically granted celebrity status as he was invited to take part in the Silveretta Classic rally in Austria, with the well-travelled 928 as an official Porsche Classic entrant! It was an amazing experience but not as amazing as being invited by Porsche Stuttgart again to the Nürburgring for the 40th anniversary of the 928. Porsche trailered the car over from Paris and flew Philippe up from his holiday and in front of a thousand Porsche VIPS Magnus Walker took the microphone and announced to everyone that Philippe was a hero for doing what he did. That was another highlight. Never mind a trip highlight, that was a life highlight!
The car is now retired and its long distance driving days are over, and if you happened to spot the odd looking 928 on its travels, on raised springs, protected lights, covered in stickers and the spare wheel mounted on the roof, now you know just how amazing its story is. PW
After 34,714km and 13 countries, the 928 has entered Porsche legend