The French family globetrotting in a Porsche 928
Philippe and Baudouin Delaporte were crossing the Arctic Circle in Alaska when the sheer bravado of their adventure hit home. “The only other vehicles around were a Dodge Ram and Ford Raptor, and there was our little 928,” recalls Philippe.
Against these full-blown excursion vehicles, their 1989 Porsche 928 GT looked totally out of scale and out of place. And yet it had already covered tens of thousands of tough miles to get there.
That was in 2016, five years after the father and son duo had completed a Eurasian journey from their home in Paris, France to Iran, roughly following the historical Silk Road.
Driving adventure has been in the family Delaporte DNA since Philippe was a young man. “I took several long trips in a Renault 4 including traveling for four months through Africa,” he says. “When my sons were in their twenties they told me ‘We have to make a road trip together like you did with your Renault.’”
Philippe owned (and still owns) two classics cars: the Porsche and a MkII Jaguar. “The Jaguar was 60 years old so we decided to prepare the 928,” he tells Hagerty.
The 1989 928 GT was treated to uprated suspension which raised the ride height by five centimeters to cope with rough roads, the super-cool pop-up lights had custom-made grilles attached to protect them from flying rocks, off-road tires were fitted, and a pair of full-size spare wheels were bought—one stowed inside where the rear seats had been removed and one on the roof. Also inside space was made for four big jerry cans of fuel and a pair of rally-style bucket seats replaced the original squishy leather ones.
That first trip would take them through some 23 countries, across eastern Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan to their destination in Tehran, Iran. The return leg would go via Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Monaco, and home to France.
“The local people were so happy. When we arrived at the border, for example, between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, they had never seen this kind of car so they were looking after us know all the police and customs people took photos and when they saw that the speedometer read to 300 km/h they were so shocked. They were really happy everywhere,” says Philippe.
Five years on from their initial adventure the Delaportes were on the road again with even bigger plans: a ’round-the-world trip. This time Philippe’s other son Thibault would join for the first leg and Baudouin would finish the journey.
Again they set off through eastern Europe, and across the whole of Russia, through Mongolia to Vladivostok. Sea crossings to South Korea and then Japan followed, before an extended ocean voyage to Alaska, during which time the Delaportes briefly went home. Baudouin joined his father as the journey continued down the coast through Canada and into the USA, reaching as far south as San Diego before crossing the whole of the United States for a finish in New York.
“It was really a dream. Everyday was a new land, a new country,” he recalls.
Understandably, the Delaportes took a break after this truly epic drive, but in 2021 the wanderlust returned and Philippe headed to Iceland to tick another country off his list. Now the plucky Porsche has over 150,000 miles on the clock. More than 40,000 of those have been driven outside of France and without a single issue. “We had no problems. No punctures, nothing. It was really amazing,” says Philippe.
What’s more there’s no sign of the 928 being retired any time soon. “One idea is to go through South America from Colombia to Ushuaia. The other is to cross Australia from Darwin to Sydney.”
For a detailed account of each leg of the Delaporte’s 928 adventures visit porsche-928-expedition.com