Driving in Portugal - or elsewhere in Europe

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Chris Martin
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As Nuno has shown us a lot of what is still on the road in Portugal, and certainly most European countries have their own mix of cars both local and imported, I thought we might get some old holiday memories and shots of odd cars, even if they are not real classics.

I'll kick off with a photo from July 1978 of me in a VW 1300 rented from Auto-Jardim at Faro airport, and this is the dirt road leading to a rented villa halfway between Armaçao De Pera and Porches. This was the one we once got seven people in going over the hill to the castle at Silves to see Rodrigo. (He was the big Fado star at the time, but looked a bit like Kenny Rogers).

Later rentals included Minis and Golfs, but this one remains the favourite.

Chris M.

 

GBt
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The last time I went driving in the Continent was when I took my old American car club friend Dave Martin to the first LeMansClassic.

He didnt let having Polio as a child hold him back and brought many cars back, from America in the 60s 70s, the last a 67 TBird 4 door I think it was.

Le Mans was on his things to do wish list so it was a great trip, we didnt get to the 100th Harley bash at Sturgis but that was a pipedream.

I saw what I assumed to be a genuine SLR-we viewed through some wire fencincing, from the Padock in the day,on the road near H. but the other one I particularly wanted to see (on the track)was the 917 (I was at sea when they were dominating everything in sight)but the diff blew on Bobby Rayhall'ws lurid blue striped car,we saw it leaving the pits earlier though, so at least I saw it later at Siverstone-so second to seeing Jags win again in the real race in the late 80s then this was a real treat.

I remeber lines of French folk standing buy the roadsides waving flags and hands-why do we English dislike them, I never found them anything but charming, unlike some... 

There were loads of Classics in both directions over 4 days-we sat by the entrance watching them all arrive the day after we got there, Thursday.And later in the Mayenne hotel we booked(a first for me at La Sarthe type trip)car park was a very nice TVR 3000M

We had a pretty white Bond Equipe 2 litre convertible, following us out of Le mans itself and a  Supercharged Lincoln Conti from the 90s came by like my Mondeo was standing still-

It wasnt on the Payage going down, testing its top end manufacturers claim,a bit hopefull in a car with well over 100,000 miles on the clock but like the current one never goes wrong. but we stopped for a wee halfway at one of the pristine WCs and at the other end a whole load of fast cars including a gaggle of Battmobile BMWs were to follow a blue Peuogeot van with a light atop,to, one presumes proceed in crockodile formation, to a convenient dispenser of French Francs ie an ATM machine and make it snappy. 

 

eaglegale
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Joined: 2011-06-21

Just spent a couple of weeks driving round Portugal in a Kia Venga rented from Auto-Jardim in Lisbon airport.  Not destined to be a classic...  Portugese overtaking techniques are interesting to say the least; blind bends, over hills, on solid lines, whenever.

Didn't see too many classics though.  An old VW variant, a very nice Fiat spider, a Rover P6, and a clutch of Renault Dauphine bodyshells in an old garage were the highlights.

The N222 is a fun road!

Chris Martin
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eaglegale wrote:

Just spent a couple of weeks driving round Portugal in a Kia Venga rented from Auto-Jardim in Lisbon airport.  Not destined to be a classic...  Portugese overtaking techniques are interesting to say the least; blind bends, over hills, on solid lines, whenever.

Didn't see too many classics though.  An old VW variant, a very nice Fiat spider, a Rover P6, and a clutch of Renault Dauphine bodyshells in an old garage were the highlights.

The N222 is a fun road!

I never had a problem with their driving, your description reminds me more of a two-week stay in Crete in the eighties, and that is quite mountainous.  I don't scare easily but that lot - no thanks! And for confirmation, there are a lot of those sad little shrines along the side of the road. Not going back there in a hurry.

As for the smaller roads in Portugal, I did find some of the narrower ones, particularly in the south, have a high crown in the centre and drop off to the side so it seemed normal to drive along the centre of the road until a car came the other way, and then pull over to the right, as does the oncoming, until passed and then resume the centre. It seemed to make sense, and I got used to it easily enough. Mind, this was a memory from the seventies and eighties and I am sure there is a lot more traffic there now.

Chris M.