Lake Garda and back in an RV8

This year our summer holiday was taken in driving toLake Gardaand back in the RV8 and I would like to share our experiences. With the spare tyre replaced by a couple of canisters the RV8 makes a superb touring car. Smooth, comfortable, with enough power to cope with all obstacles yet still able to leisurely burble along the country lanes. Covering around 250 miles / day, its main problem was the daily visit to the petrol station.

We crossed from Harwich to theHook of Hollandon the new and very comfortable ferry. Even if you are crossing by day, the small extra for a cabin is well worth it. Our planned journey through Holland, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland was via Romantik hotels, sometimes expensive but high quality and all with character. In Italy we stayed at Agritourismo farms.I have included a list at the end of this article. We had booked these ahead of our trip over the Internet warning we would be coming in a classic car. The majority of the places went out of their way to provide secure or undercover parking for the car. The actual route was navigated by Pearl, our TomTom satnav programmed to take the shortest route avoiding motorways. With the exception of our passage throughBelgium, the majority of these country roads were quiet and interesting, however, were not without unexpected problems. The Dutch are very fond of sleeping policemen and while the majority of these are clearly marked, the do not suit the RV8’s suspension even if you are travelling well below the speed limit. After the number of bangs driving down these mountainous humps, it is a wonder I still have a towing hook left.

The continentals also appear to be very fond of road works, not as we know them. You are happily burbling down a road and find red barriers blocking the whole road with nothing beyond but them but the remnants of two carriageways. With no evidence of any diversion signs these turned into a battle with Pearl who, unaware of the lack of road insisted on trying out the RV8’s overland characteristics. I lost count of the number of 3 point turns.

Our plan was to “take in” a couple of interesting Alpine passes. These really proved the strength of the RV8 although I am glad I have fitted John Cumming’s power steering. The RV8 has so much torque you can drive up these windy hairpin ridden roads in 3rd gear only having to resort to 2nd for the single track passes where it was imprudent to go more than 15mph.

The main failure of the RV8 was when my rebuilt brakes got very spongy coming down the first Alpine pass, probably due to air in the system and the brake fuel boiling. This was fixed by a very helpful and not too expensive Swiss BMW dealer. The second was due to a design fault. After catching up with a tractor while driving up one pass and with no chance of passing it, I stopped in a layby. Already having climbed some 2000ft, the engine was hot and radiator fan running. When I switched off the ignition, it also switched off the fan and the latent heat in the engine caused the water to boil and blow off coolant. I am currently working with John Cumming on a delay timer to keep the fan on for a few minutes after the ignition is switched off.

We were very lucky with the weather and only had to use the hood a couple of times. All in all a very enjoyable experience.


Web Link

Our rating

Auberge de Campveerse


Schlosshotel Kurfürstliches Amtshaus


Zur Sonne


Zollhaus Sachseln


Al Giardinetto


Stalle Alte


La Montina


Baita Fiorita


Guarda Val


Hotel Hirsch

Gerd Windhösel


Hotel Alte Vogtei


Hotel De Leijhof



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