Like Outlaw Porsches? 911 Hot Rods? Check Out Germany’s Targa Cannibale
Photography by SSSZ Photo
With another turn of the calendar pages bringing us one month closer to winter, we’re already starting to miss the autumn even though it hasn’t quite left us yet. However, the days are losing light, the temperature is dropping, and interesting cars will be put away in favor of the winter beaters soon enough. Before we find ourselves in the middle of those cold and snowy doldrums, let’s look back on one of our favorite driving events of the fall: the Targa Cannibale Tunnel Run.
One weekend in early September, we woke to a grey German Saturday morning that began like any other; the sun was up but the world was still silent save for the occasional conversation of the crows perched near the roadside; nothing out of the ordinary here, until the noise of a 911’s flat-six punctured the silence with its unmistakable air-cooled shout. It was time for Tunnel Run.
Needing less caffeine than usual to get moving, we convoyed with a pack of Porsches to the event’s hub, a huge industrial area barred by a massive gate and, initially, not a soul to be seen nearby. We waited for a few minutes, thinking we may have the date or address wrong, until we swiveled around in the cockpit to see a blue 550 Spyder with a stream of cars following. Real or not, there is a certain presence that the car carries with it, one that’s far far larger than its proportions in real life. And with its arrival the gates were opened, we made our inside, hopped out of our car, and promptly started moving between all the others like the projectiles from some kind of Porsche pinball machine.
In its third year, Targa Cannibale for 2017 chose an old stone quarry as the central location, and along with some nice backgrounds for imagery, the weather began to cooperate as well, with the dark clouds from the morning blown away to be replaced with rays of sunshine reflecting the rainbow hues of our P-car assembly. This was the meeting spot, the base camp in a sense. The event itself follows no strict schedule nor timeline for the most part, and though there is a rally route with maps and checkpoints and the like, the point is to drive for the sake of it, whether that be in a group of cars running hard or away from everyone else for a meandering cruise that’s half sight-seeing. Food and cars kept people coming back to the quarry though, and everyone congregated around their shared passion for Porsche. Locals from around the corner mixed with their peers from other countries, sharing their stories as well as their cars. And what cars they were; everything was represented for the most part, from the imposing silhouette of the 935 to the lovely patina of a lightly modified 356. In terms of 911s, it was a likely not the place for purists, but fans of the outlaw look had plenty of souped-up 911 T’s, S’s, E’s, SC’s, and Carreras to take in.
After we took a tour of the area and shot as much as we could, it was time for motion. We formed a squadron of 911s to drive the route with, and we set off for the lovely country roads (and tunnels, of course!) of the Neandertal Valley. Driving these old Porsches is still a fascinating experience, no matter how many times you’ve done it in the past. Equally enjoyable though was being amongst all the other cars; every one had its own story to tell, as the vast majority Porsches here were custom machines with hearts and souls reflecting their owners’. All our companions here invested many, many working hours in their builds, and we enjoyed spending a few ourselves simply admiring the finished products (though as most will say, no build is ever truly finished). The cars were beautiful to look at, and when the tunnels/concert halls on our journey were cloaked them in darkness we were treated to their violent, beautiful chorus.
Later on, after great food, relaxing music, and many friendly faces, the evening sun started to say goodbye. Colorful ambient lighting cast over the scene, and with the coming chill people moved a bit closer together in their huddles. A few more burgers were grilled, a few more beers were cracked. The Porsche talks continued throughout, and up to the very end.