roads to remember

My Favourite Drive: Paddy McGrath carves up LA's canyons in a Porsche 911

‘Southern California is heaven for an automotive enthusiast’

unnamed (3) Paddy McGrath / Speedhunters Paddy McGrath / Speedhunters / Speedhunters

Journeys, even everyday ones, can mean a lot. Paddy McGrath is a freelance car photographer and Commercial Editor at car culture online hub Speedhunters. As someone with a passion for motoring, Paddy told about the drive that means the most to him.

First up, describe the drive.

I’ve been fortunate over the years that my job has provided me with opportunities and driving moments that I couldn’t even have dreamed about as a child. However, one of them does stand out above all the others.

Last year I was working in California when a long time friend of mine, Brian Henderson of Rotiform, invited me to drive his new Porsche 911 Carrera. It was Brian’s first ever, brand new Porsche, and something he had worked hard towards all of his life. To be allowed the privilege to drive it in the canyons above Los Angeles, was really a very special moment.

unnamed (4) Paddy McGrath / Speedhunters Paddy McGrath / Speedhunters / Speedhunters

It was the new turbocharged 991 model (but not a ‘Turbo’ per se) in Miami Blue, with some choice modifications including Bilstein suspension and upgraded Brembo brakes, along with Rotiform wheels. It was a seven-speed manual car, too.

The car brought me so much joy when doing even the simplest of things, and absolute euphoria when carving up and down the empty canyon roads.

Is there a view or a moment that sums it up?

Southern California is heaven for an automotive enthusiast. Cheap fuel, great weather and access to some of the best driving roads in the world. The road which leads from Azuza is just one of the countless examples of perfect pavements which wind their way through, around and over the hills behind Los Angeles.

On this particular day, we picked a spot high in the hills to take a break, which offered stunning views of rolling hills and the San Gabriel reservoir beneath us.

What was it about the journey that made it special?

What made this day special above others, was that it contained all the elements of my favourite life motto: ‘travel, fast cars and cool people’.

unnamed (2) Paddy McGrath / Speedhunters Paddy McGrath / Speedhunters / Speedhunters

It didn’t hurt that just as we were finishing up, we were joined by one of Brian’s friends who arrived in his bright yellow Porsche 991 GT3, whom promptly offered me his keys along with an invitation to see what his car was capable of.

“Wait until 9,000RPM to upshift” he told me as I sat into the fixed back Recaro bucket seat. That’s all the encouragement any of us would need, isn’t it?

More My Favourite Drive: Ray Furlong travels to an ancient lighthouse to scuba dive

More My Favourite Drive: David Roome joins a fleet of Jaguars headed to Blessington Lakes

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