If you asked internet car enthusiasts to describe heaven, a good chunk of them would probably end up telling you about the Nurburgring Nordschleife. A nearly 13-mile track with 154 curves carved into Germany’s Eifel mountains, The Green Hell is one of the most fearsome, bewitching tracks on the face of the earth.
While a little bit of Nurburging track day footage from far back decades exists, things started heating up in the 1990s. If you were middle-class in the 1990s, you probably had a family camcorder, and if you were German and middle-class, your camcorder might’ve ended up at the Nurburgring during Touristenfahrten, the public days when anyone can drive around the track. So, let’s see what this camcorder operator captured.
Straight away, there’s a whole lot less carnage in this video than there is in one popular ’60s cut of Nordschleife public lapping. Shoutout to modern suspension and improved car and track safety for that. What’s more, instead of binning it like many popular Nurburgring fail compilations from the mobile phone era, these drivers find a way to stay out of the Armco. While it’s possible that drivers were better back then, cars were also a lot slower and it’s generally easier to keep the shiny side up when you have less momentum.
The driver of this Porsche 993 found themselves on the wrong side of adhesion, which given the fearsome reputation of 911s and the fact that this was a very quick car in 1995, could’ve ended badly. Instead, the driver has a slight off into the grass as they collect the slide, then they carry on their merry way. No harm, no foul, just the way we like to see it.
Of course, slower cars aren’t immune to wobbly moments either. Check out this tastefully-modified Beetle having a proper spin. Since it’s a Beetle, the spin isn’t a particularly high-speed one, so it doesn’t end up going pear-shaped.
Oh, and let’s not forget bikes. Our resident professional designer Adrian Clarke reckons that many of these motorcyclists could’ve made the corner with a bit more lean, and I agree. However, none of these offs result in high-siding or low-siding of bikes. Most just cut the corner and safely rejoin on the next straight.
In fact, the worst incident in this video is a Mazda 626 Coupe throwing a hubcap and de-beading a tire. The driver manages to limp it to the nearest recovery point, where it’s eventually rescued by a flatbed. There are far worse ways to end a track day, so chucking on a spare and going home sounds alright to me.
The variety of tin on display is incredible. A Ferrari 348, a Ford Sierra Sapphire, an Opel Calibra on a marvelous set of tri-spoke wheels, a bright yellow Alfa Romeo GTV, and the obligatory litany of Golfs. The GTV is particularly worth checking out because I thought for sure its loss of traction would end in a crash, yet it miraculously stays intact.
Maybe it’s the insane state of the collector car market, but something about this video makes me misty-eyed for the days when Mk1 Golfs were just used cars and Porsche 911s actually depreciated. Sure, nostalgia is a cheap party drug, but it’s fun to indulge in once in a while. Oh, and it’s wonderful to see people actually using their now old-school performance cars as intended on the Nurburgring. Track days are fun, you know?
(Photo credits: Frightened Fred)
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