Alpine drive

For Herbert Grünsteidl, driving is about freedom. That’s exactly where the former rallycross driver’s self-restored BMW 2002 ti from 1969 takes him. Photographer Julius Hirtzberger accompanied him on a drive through the Alps.

Sunday morning, just past 4:30 am. The Loser Höhenstraße in Austrian Salzkammergut is still deep asleep. But Herbert Grünsteidl is already ready to head out.

The former European Rallycross Champion cherishes the wind blowing through lowered windows. For him, getting carried through the landscape by his vintage car symbolizes pure freedom.

Carefully parking the classic car he spent hundreds of painstaking hours restoring in a garage? Not an option for Herbert Grünsteidl. He’s too much of a motorhead for that. “This has always been a sports car, so it has to be driven like one,” he explains.

Herbert Grünsteidl isn’t interested in a roaring exhaust or squealing tires, but in the driving experience that a car can give him. The changing of the environment, the wind, playing with forces to the limit and beyond.

The space behind the wheel is the rallycross legend’s living room. Grünsteidl lovingly dismantled the BMW 2002 ti down to the last screw and rebuilt it with several new parts. Every ride in a classic sportscar is connected with special emotions.

Austrian photographer Julius Hirtzberger spent several months planning the photo series, personally riding his racing bike along various mountain roads in the Austrian Alps, sometimes at different times of the day, to find the perfect light for his visual idea.

For Herbert Grünsteidl, vehicles like the BMW 2002 ti are a lifestyle. Speed plays a role, of course, but the fascination also lies...

…in quiet details like the lines and choice of materials in classic car design. Furthermore, Grünsteidl is a purist who has always been magically drawn to mechanical systems.

Hunting turns at sunrise - perfect conditions for the Alpine drive. With its compact dimensions, powerful engine, low weight, and rear-wheel drive, the BMW 2002 ti offered and still offers plenty of driving pleasure.

Classic car panorama: Herbert Grünsteidl enjoys the view from the Loser Höhenstraße.

It’s time to move on. The next curve and the next adventure are already waiting.