The ap summer cruise 2016 – Hunting for serpentines and summit attempt


After getting so much great feedback for our road-trip in the fall of 2015 it was a quiet logical consequence that we would plan a similar event for this year. We were really looking forward to it but there was also some pressure and expectations because of the success of 2015. With this in mind the ingredients for the trip needed to be perfect. That means: Many month of casting for the cars, a 170 km route following abandoned county roads through fields, hills and forests, passing beautiful monasteries and finally entering the bavarian mountains through countless serpentines and finally taking the steep road up to the Obersalzberg. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines please!

Day of the road-trip, 6.50 am

Early morning wake-up call. I am arriving at the parking-area number one of our trip very tired. This is just a pre-meeting for all the people who are coming from the westside of Munich. I am the first to arrive. Silence covers the new industrial area on Sunday morning, at least the heavy clouds from yesterday are slowly moving away. This would be great because the curvy mountain road will be hard to drive if there is hard rain and hail showers like the day before. I also hope that we made the right decision regarding the casting of the cars. It will be 32 cars, some well known from last years trip and many new ones, older cars from the 80`s and brand new cars from the last 2 or 3 years, fast cars and not really fast ones. A cross section from the world of cars and tuning. Suddenly the roaring of some sports exhausts is interfering with my thoughts. A Volkswagen Golf II VR6 GTI and Dianas BMW E34 are arriving next. They are followed by a „Geiger“ Mustang GT from the year 2005, the first of two Honda S2000 and and Honda Civic with a Turbo-kit, which I already loved at the last years ride. The people seem to get along very well together, and way to fast it`s 7.15 and we are all gone.

The Startpoint in Erding

The official meeting and start point for the summer cruise is 8.15 am at the Mc-Donalds in Erding, a small town in the north-east of Munich. The almost empty parking area fills up pretty fast. Dave shows up with his brand-new Audi R8, Ralf and Max are coming with their freshly imported Nissan R33 GTR Skylines. Audi S3, Audi S4, BMW M3 E46 convertible, Nissan 300 ZX Twinturbo, Nissan Silvia S15 and a racetrack prepared 1991 Honda CRX – so many dreams of car enthusiasts are arriving. Not to forget – at the first time of our trips we had a Mercedes E-class from 2003, a Mazda Miata, an Opel Astra, an Alfa GT, a Volkswagen Eos and a classic Ford Escort S2000 with us, of course, most of them heavily modified. A worker from the Mc-Donalds is so enthusiastic about our cars that he climbs the roof of his restaurant to make pictures of us. Well, all in all we are a big group of about 50 people (drivers and co-drivers) and 5 photographers. I make use of the time and say hello to everybody and tell them some details of the things ahead of us. One of them is – make use of the roadbook I gave you and stay to it because I spent a lot of work to find us a great route. Daniel, the driver of the Silvia S15 bought me a cappuccino in the meantime and boy, I really needed that one, especially if I would have had a slight idea what would happen next. Well, right on time at 8.40 am we start our engines and I ask the faster drivers to go first and the slower drivers to follow.

First stage: Erding – Buch – Isen – Halfing – Amerang

The first line about the start of the trip in my roadbook sounded like this: Let`s go. Turn left onto 388…! Everybody in front of me – and I mean everybody is turning right onto 388. I am kind a confused for a moment and I am not sure if I remember my own roadbook correctly. But of course I know what I had planned so I turn left and 2 cars are following me. Some minutes later we decide to stop and wait some time and you will not believe it – 4 or 5 mores cars are coming our way. All the rest is vanished. Well, we make the best out of it and follow abandoned and curvy country-roads through Bavaria, later we are crossing the river Inn. Some 20 minutes later we cross a main-street and guess what, there are some other cars of or group coming along. Very good that Matzes yellow Mustang is easy to see and easy to hear. Together we are arriving the first milestone of our journey, the parking-area of the Edeka market in the historical village of Amerang. The bakery there is also open on Sunday and everybody could get a second coffee or some cake. While staying there for about 30 minutes of „car talk“ and making pictures, the last participant of our event shows up. It`s Oli with his Toyota Supra with almost 600 hp under the hood. That`s the car with the most horsepower on the trip but at least half of the cars have more than 300 hp and a handful can beat the 300 km/h line. Of course, we are drawing attention and so some participants of an oldtimer meeting nearby are stopping on the street for a a chat. But after a while we need to go back to the road and the roadbook says: Just follow the street!

Second stage: Amerang – Obing – Seeon

Well, some are following the street others are driving back to where they came from. Why, I don`t know, maybe the wind, or the holy ghost of christmas or maybe the inventor of the navigation-system may know. The rest of us has a lot of fun following the curvy roads through the forests until we arrive at the monastery in Seeon. The parking area is not as full as I thought it would be, which is great. We have a beautiful view at the monastery and the lake and some of the guys are taking camping chairs and coolers out of the cars. We have cookies and drinks and some time later the missing drivers are showing up. I make use of the time to take some pictures because I am here to work of course and we have a lot of nice photo-models right here like: Dominics Golf convertible, a Peugeot 206 WRC rebuild from Christoph, Florians Honda Civic diesel, Babsls BMW or one of the other Audis or Golfs which are the most popular brands in our group today. Talking about beautiful models, Peggy, one of the ap photoshoot models of this year is also with us but today she is mostly behind the camera and not in front of it.

Third stage: Seeon – Chiemsee – Traunstein – Berchtesgaden – Obersalzberg

This time the group stays together, at least most of the time. Everybody seems to be more attentive and we have to expect more traffic anyway, because we are heading to the famous Chiemsee, also called the „bavarian sea“ and the roads around this big lake are usually packed with tourists. While enjoying the scenery we are closing in to the mountains. Unfortunately the only road which will bring us the next 35 kilometers to the Obersalzberg is closed on one line for some hundred meters which immediately results in a traffic jam. But our photographers are making the best out of it and suddenly I see cameras clicking everywhere. 15 minutes later we finally make it through the road-work traffic-jam and we start to follow the serpentines into the bavarian mountains. Unfortunately 5000 other tourists had the same idea for today so the beautiful street was pretty packed with slow driving family vans. Because of that, the roadwork down at the beginning of the mountains became a good thing. They just let 20-30 cars from each side drive through every now and than. So I just waited some time and found at least some kilometers of empty mountain road just for myself and two of the other drivers. There are also some little parking-areas on the right side of the mountain-road now and than. They are big enough for like 5-6 cars and I told everybody before we started to make use of those and take some pictures with the great scenery in the background in small groups. Well, as soon as I stop at one of those parking areas about 25 of the other cars also try to pull in which doesn`t work very well and for a moment we are closing the whole mountain road. After this moment of chaos I quickly leaf and lucky enough we did find more of those parking-areas later on. Arriving at Berchtesgaden we are heading to that very narrow and very steep little road which goes up to the Obersalzberg. This would be a great racetrack, but once in a while there is a bus coming down our direction and the bus is almost es wide as the road. That means the last 5 minutes of the trip is more a 30 km/h thing, but still, it`s a fascinating road up there.

Reaching the end of the journey

Finally we are arriving at the mountain-restaurant Obersalzberg, which is a big restaurant with a great view into the mountain-world all around. The weather is still ok and the temperature is perfect. As promised, the owner of the restaurant had blocked one of the 3 big parking areas just for us. This is great especially because there are hundreds of tourists up here on summer-weekend. Just arriving there as one of the first cars reaching the top we meet a small JDM crew. The guys are really happy to see us and we have a nice chat while we are waiting for our own group which needs approximately 20 minutes until the last one shows up. Regarding the mountain-restaurant I have to say – they did a great job. The reservation of parking-lot and tables for lunch worked well, the service was very friendly and the lunch was served quickly. Great job!


Month of planning, countless mails, a Facebook casting for the cars, a test-drive in advance for the whole route, creating memberlists and the roadbook, collecting informations about the cars, packing ap-goodie-bags, arrangements with photographers and answering a million questions – all that for a 9 hour event? And faster as I can recognize it – the trip is over. But the great feedback of the participants motivates me immediately to do it again in 2017. I will tray to motivate people a little bit more to read the roadbook, I will laugh a lot because I will fail doing this. I will be happy and thankful for every great car which will join the trip 2017 and I am really looking forward to the great spirit we always have on this trips. I also appreciate a lot that some of the drivers did spend about 1000 km on the road just to participate in our summer cruise. Respect! As long as our annual road-trips will be that much of great fun as this year – we will keep doing them.

Text: Andreas Leffler
Pictures: Matthias Pister (Unlimited Customs), Martin Zottmann, Stefan Hoiß (STH Car Photopgraphy), Yannic Penzkofer (YP Photography), Peggy Hansen (Tuning Gear), Andreas Leffler (Asphalthelden)

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