maharajah of the road

Day 3

Maharajah of the road

Muscle cars


Day 3

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From Megève to Turin

Megeve is a French community situated in the heart of the Alps on a pass, which separates the basins draining into the Arly in the southwest and that of the Arbon in the northeast.

Situated in Sallanches County in the Haute-Savoie, its tourism industry flourished in 1910 when the Rothschild family decided to make it one of their vacation spots. To accomplish this, they had to build the French rival to the Swiss St. Moritz ski nstation. They wished to create a station bearing the symbol of the art of French living. Megeve was a desirable spot from the outset, all of the greatest royals stayed there. Today, Megeve is internationally renowned as one of the most beautiful ski stations in the world.

The Alps are a chain of mountains, which spread across Europe covering the northern border of Italy, the southwest of France, Monaco, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria, southern Germany and Slovenia.

The peak of the Alps is at 4,810.90 meters (as of September 2007), at the summit of Mont Blanc. 82 major summits are listed at more than 4,000 meters in altitude (Switzerland 48, Italy 38, France 24). The mountain passes link valleys where the countries are often more than 2000 meters in altitude.

Tuesday 14th April 2009

All times indicate French standard time


Upon opening the curtains at daybreak, we are finally able to observe the spectacle hidden the night before by the darkness. There is an unobstructed view of Mont Blanc, the roof of Europe. We are able to distinguish it by its endless coat of white snow. Megeve is certainly one of the most beautiful skiing spots in the world.


Now we’re in the cars ready to cross the Alps and tonight we will reach Turin in Italy! To find our route we have to go back down the mountains so that we may scale them more easily. The ascent towards Italy is a unique experience for us and for the lovely Californians who have rarely had the opportunity to see snow. Descending the sinusoidal roads, we start to run out of gas. Kyle’s Bullit is almost at empty. We cross our fingers and hope that we can find a gas station quickly so we can avoid a critical technical problem. On these roads, a truck operation is nearly impossible. To conserve what is left of his fuel, Kyle freewheels down the roads; the valley and the gas station are not too far away. A little later we join him and fuel up. We are ready for the final leg of the trip to Turin.


After a short passage on the highway we arrive at the foot of our rocky test. The Mustangs and Shelbys start to climb higher and higher and seem to faring the altitude well. Only Kartikey’s 1971 Boss GT1 seems to be catching a little cold, but still nothing serious. We continue to climb higher and as snow appears on the lower side we really feel as though time has stopped for these cars in a landscape so unfamiliar to them. Soon we arrive in a little mountain village and a little higher, after having crossed it, we see a helicopter waiting for us. This time he has no trouble spotting us! We stop to take a little break, time used by our photographer and cameraman to board the aircraft. A snowball fight breaks out between Kartikeya, Yan and Nadim, Bassam’s sons who, up to now, have been very well behaved. The helicopter takes flight and the convoy can head off again, our crossing of the Alps will be immortalized from above. As we pass through the village the police see us coming and decide to give us a little helping hand so that nothing can interrupt our climb.


We are almost to Italy and deserve a light meal. The altitude is tiring! We have a sandwich together and are ready to climb back into the cars. Some of the drivers exchange vehicles and we set off for Turin. We finally reach the border and unfortunately find a highway but our destination is not too far off.


Arriving in Turin and still no mechanical problems, we find the traffic similar to the day before; the cars don’t seem happy. These vintage Mustangs and Shelbys are certainly not made to sit in traffic. The road to the hotel isn’t long. A little tour of the city allows us to appreciate Turin’s architecture, its grand palaces, its monuments and its historical museums. The city of the automobile has plenty of surprises in store for us.


The Golden Palace opens its doors to us. Mission accomplished! The champagne can begin to flow and just like the Formula 1 podium, the drivers get a true shower of the precious beverage. Wet but happy we can now eat before heading to bed with our heads full of images. Sweet dreams, tomorrow we’ll visit the UCIF Modelli and the legendary Giugiaro, voted designer of the 20thCentury by his peers.

Maharajah of the Road

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