Autocar has form with the idea that underpins this trip. Back in the 1990s, Colin Goodwin wrote a memorable story about driving across France using minor roads that shared their numbers with Porsche models, an approach that led him to several exceptional bits of Tarmac.
The idea lodged in my head and I often thought of it when passing British roads that shared their numbers with famous models. Never more so than on my semi-frequent journeys along the A90 in Scotland and passing the turn-off for the A911. Could this be the start for a similarly numerically appropriate road trip?
The other impetus for this story came when Porsche put one of the ageless numberplates it rotates around its press fleet onto a nearly option-free Carrera 2 that it built to prove how good the basic, unadorned 992-generation 911 is. That created the opportunity to drive a 911 wearing the registration A 911 on the A911. You’d need a stouter heart than mine to resist that one. The logic may be skewed and the rationale silly, but I’m a great believer in random road trips. Many of my more memorable journeys have come from going to out-of-the-way places by unorthodox routes. Or even just by getting hopelessly lost, something that’s increasingly hard to do in the always-connected world.
So that’s how I come to be on the A911 in this particular 911. But it soon transpires there is a good reason the A911 isn’t mentioned when people list Scotland’s greatest driving roads. The western stretch is pleasant enough, beginning in the small town of Milnathort and then heading past a scenic castle and along the north of Loch Leven. But it is unexceptional by Scotland’s high standards, without demanding curves and crests or a stunning backdrop. It’s busy, too, and it’s raining.
Nor, it soon transpires, are we pioneers. We pause at a pub in the village of Balgedie so photographer Max Edleston can grab a picture of the Porsche with an appropriately angled ‘A911’ sign. The landlord pops his head out to see what we’re doing, clocks the 911 and shrugs. “You’re not the first, boys – and you won’t be the last.”