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There is only one way up to the peak of the mountain pass, and it’s as steep and winding as is gets. Part of the driving enthusiasts’ thrill is to see how their grand tourers stand the test.

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They live in different cities and sometimes in diverse countries, but they have one thing in common: A passion for classic sports cars and all the nice things that come with it. The machines don’t have to be expensive or valuable, but they should be some kind of retro rockets. It’s all about putting the arm in the open side windowsill, pushing the pedal to the metal, and taking a break from work and busy city life.

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“Norway happens to be the only European country with a spectacular mix of deep fjords and steep mountains. The Norwegian mountain passes are similar to those of Central Europe, although they are shorter and not always as high. The end of May and beginning of June is a good time for driving, as there is still snow in the mountains.”

Since 2009 numerous enthusiasts have joined. The Oslo-based industrial designer Robert Myrene has been a frequent participant since the start of this Gentlemen Drivers Weekend.

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What equipment is required for such a trip?
“First of all: narrow driving shoes, a road map from the time when the car was new, and binoculars. Some prefer gloves, but I personally like to feel the steering wheel, so I do without them.”

Any spare parts?
“An additional alternator belt, insulator tape, some steel wire, and sufficient Castrol Classic engine oil on a spruce oilcan.”

No tinkering tools?
“Well, the amount of things that go wrong is generally inversely proportional to the number of tools you have packed in the vintage toolbox in the boot. A lot of tools means little trouble and vice versa.”

How successful is the combo classic sports cars and Norwegian wilderness?
“Some of the cars have a layout with chassis, engine and gearing that suits this type of topography. The surroundings are occasionally untouched and one gets the feel of being transported to the era when the car was built.”

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What are you talking about in the car?
“As we drive an early 1970s Citroën SM with the sound of the smooth and powerful V6 Maserati engine, we don’t need to talk, but it’s legal to have a conversation about the vessel’s excellence that is intact 45 years after it was built. It has also happened that we’ve discussed the design of the Lamborghini Espada observed in the rear view mirror, the back-swept C-column of the Dino blowing past, or the quality of the pannacotta we just ate at Utsikten in Geiranger. And then, we comment upon the wonderful feeling of riding on totally clean roads after weeks of early spring rain. Believe it or not, on our trips the sun is always shining.”

How does such a trip affect friendship and love?
“The cabin of a classic car brings people closer together, and the quality of time spent together makes it easy to agree that it’s worth the money and it motivates planning for next year.”

Where should one stop to eat by the road?
“The renowned bakery in Lom is a must, the same is a double espresso at Herangtunet in Valdres. The famous cake buffet at Hjelle Hotel, the perfectly balanced lunch at Fossheim in Lom, rømmegrøt (sour cream porridge) are all inevitable stops. And there is different kind of delicious goat cheese to taste from local producers along the road”, explains Myrene. “Being a good driver is also about knowing how to park. Relaxing in comfortable and even luxurious surroundings is a natural part of a hectic long weekend. In recent years Norway’s many mountain roads has got several modern additions to traditional pit stops. Keywords are great architecture, food, and service.”

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With creative use of architecture and art, the Scenic Routes bring visitors closer to the dramatic views and experiences Norwegian nature has to offer. In addition, there are of course numerous alternate roads with traditional as well as modern style hotels along the road. Read more about driving in Norway.

A car on a pier of a lake with the beautiful, snow-capped mountain tops in the background
Photo: Kimm Saatvedt

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