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Claus Stig Christensen believes that every road trip can be paired with a perfect ride. The CEO and founder of Book a Classic – an online platform for renting and sharing rare classic and vintage cars – has hit the road in everything from an Alfa Romeo Duetto to a Vespa Sprint. And with his company now in 36 countries around the globe (including France, Italy, Brazil, and New Zealand), the car expert and avid traveller is facilitating one-of-a-kind jaunts through some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes. Here, Christensen takes us on five once-in-a-lifetime road trips, each paired with a special set of wheels.
1. Bavarian Alps, Germany
The Drive: The 350km jaunt from Würzburg, France to Füssen, Germany cuts a leisurely 2- or 3-day course through the Bavarian Alps, winding past Stuttgart (an auto enthusiast’s must-see for its Porsche and Motor World museums) and through the forested Romantische Strasse. “You have the Bavarian hillside with snow on top, but it’s also very green and covered in trees – just lovely to look at," says Christensen. Other highlights on the route include the Neuschwanstein castle (the inspiration for Disneyworld) and, of course, a traditional Bavarian beerhaus.
The Car: A Mercedes 450 SL convertible is perfect for Bavaria – after all, Mercedes was born there. “It’s a lovely German cruiser with loads of torque and a real vintage charm," says Christensen. “And it’s a convertible, so you can drive with the wind in your hair. You can really feel the scenery around the car."
2. Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Drive: Spend 2 or 3 days winding through Italy’s classic stretch of coastline, starting in Vietri Sul Mare and ending in Sorrento. The route is short but sweet, with iconic towns like Positano and Ravello along the way. “The Amalfi Coast famously has winding, narrow roads in the cliffside, which can be challenging to drive," says Christensen. “Some people call it the ‘Suicide Road,’ because it can be a little dangerous." Drive slow and stop often on this daring drive, taking time to soak in the panoramas, taste the local cuisine and glimpse the charming historic structures lining this iconic route.
The Car: “The Alfa Romeo Duetto is a dream car for this trip," says Christensen. “It’s a lovely agile Italian convertible with direct steering and handling – perfect for narrow roads. It’s really a driver’s car."
3. Great Ocean Road, Australia
The Drive: Australia’s Great Ocean Road sweeps past pristine rainforest and misty waterfalls above some of the country’s most famous surf breaks, making the 240km stretch from Torquay to Port Fairy an adventurer’s dream drive. “You get very dramatic scenery, with steep cliffs and incredibly green hillsides that drop down to the sea," says Christensen. “You can also see a lot of wildlife – kangaroos and koalas, for example – along the way." Surfers should plan for a day on the waves at Torquay’s Bells Beach before hitting the road to see such sights as the Cape Otway Lighthouse (Australia’s oldest lighthouse) and the 12 Apostles limestone stacks on the shores of the Port Campbell National Park.
The Car: A classic Jaguar E-type is arguably one of the most stylish sportscars of all time—and a perfect match for the stunning landscapes of southern Australia. “Enzo Ferrari said once that the E-type was the most beautiful car in the world, and the only car that he felt bad that he didn’t design himself," says Christensen. “Ferrari never said anything nice about any cars but his own, so that shows how strongly he felt about the Jaguar."
4. Trollstigen, Norway
The Drive: “Norway’s Trollstigen is a challenging road to drive – and one where the hills are so big that you feel small when you’re driving them," says Christensen. Spend a full day exploring the steep slopes and jagged cliffs on this road linking Langvatnet and Sogga Bru. Don’t miss the Geiranger fjord – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most famous sights in Norway – and the Rauma Railway Arch Bridge. “It’s just a one-day drive, but there’s plenty to see. You drive on switchbacks, back and forth, as you climb up. At the top of the hill, you can stop your car and look down on the road you’ve just driven."
The Car: The Morgan +8 has a modern V8 engine and plenty of torque – perfect for tackling those steep hills – but it still has the look of an old classic. “It’s really a driver’s car," says Christensen. “When you turn, it turns immediately. When you brake, it brakes immediately. You can feel the road. It’s a car you can trust on this hillside." Put the top down when the weather’s good – and hope that it doesn’t rain. “The Morgan doesn’t have side windows, so if it’s pouring with rain – as it does sometimes in Norway – you’ll end up with wind and rain in your hair. But it’s all part of the classic-car-driving experience."
5. Pacific Coast Highway, California, USA
The Drive: “The Pacific Coast Highway is a must-drive for classic car owners and modern car drivers alike," Christensen says of the nearly 1,120km stretch that makes up one of America’s most famous highways. “On these roads, you can feel a bit like a daredevil." Indeed, the high-flying and unrivalled views on this coastal drive include the massive bridges of Big Sur, the golden beaches of Santa Barbara, the giant redwoods in Northern California and the famous seaside of Malibu. “It’s a rush, and lovely terrain to look at."
The Dream Car: For this truly American road trip, Christensen recommends a classic American car: the Buick Roadmaster. “It’s a famous car – and rather expensive," he says. “And there aren’t too many of them. It’s a real slice of Americana."