With its stupendous beef, acid trip scenery, and January summer, Argentina could be the greatest country on Earth. If it had any cars worth mentioning, that is.
Very interesting in the country which gave motor racing its greatest combination of delicate and aggressive in the shape of five-time Formula One world champion Juan Manuel Fangio is the pronounced lack of interesting cars. It’s hard to travel anywhere in the world and not see at least a few Porsches or Lotuses or whatever strikes your fancy when it comes to interesting cars, but after close to three weeks in Argentina, the only car I’ve seen that’s not old Detroit iron, vaguely Euro hatch/sedan, cute Renault 4, or local pride Torino was a Porsche Cayenne in Buenos Aires, and that spoke more of big money Palermo Chico district than of any taste in cars.
It took an all-night bus ride and a drive across the high desert Calchaquí Valley to come across a genuinely cool car in the shape of the Porsche 928 pictured above. It was parked in the unlikely wine town of Cafayate, very far from anywhere particular, shaded by a line of plane trees against the brutal Tropic of Capricorn sun bearing down at an angle of 85°.
Very far from anywhere particular in terms of towns—there is nothing beyond the mountains on the photo but the Andes, the Atacama, and the Pacific—but very close to one of the greatest drives in the world: Route 68 along the Quebrada de Cafayate. More on that later, as your humble correspondent applies yet another coating of titanium dioxide in a hopeless effort against the desert sun.