Monday, September 14, 2009

Porsche Museum, Stuttgart Germany

Many of you know that I have been a big fan of Porsche cars pretty much since I became a car nut (literally around fourth grade). I even aided my addiction in high school by working as a car washer/porter/part-time detailer at a south suburban Chicago Porsche dealer during high school (making $6/hr when minimum wage was $3.35). Since this last trip had me traveling from southeast Germany to the northeast, I checked a map to see if Stuttgart, home of Porsche, could be a stop on the way.

Lucky enough Stuttgart would be hard NOT to pass through during my journeys. Better yet, a beautiful, large museum opened less than a year ago. Encompassing 5600 square meters and 80 exhibits and housed in an architectural gem that only touches the ground at three points and appears to be floating.
The museum is located across the street from the main Porsche factory in the Zuffenhausen district of Stuttgart.
A shot of the tube that crosses the road reveals Porsches heading down the assembly line:
Even the parking garage holds Porsche treasures. Like this rally-prepped 911.
Porsche keeps the cars in running condition, this car had likely returned from some event. Note the drilled-out bumper for weight savings.

I grabbed a cappuccino and lox on a roll and then headed on up to the exhibits.
First thing you lay eyes on is Body Type 64 from 1939 - the forefather of all Porsches. Aluminum construction and streamlined styling enabled the lightweight car to hit speeds of 130 km/h (81 MPH) while only being pushed by a 33 HP VW-type engine. Only three of these were produced.
Ferry Porsche developed an early interest in fire trucks. While working as chief engineer at Austro-Daimler he was the first to combine personnel transport, a water pumper and hose - the world's first fire truck.
Moving right along, the museum also has one of Ferdinand Porsche's most significant contributions to automotive history - the iconic VW Type 1, designed to seat four and cruise at a speed of 100 km/h.
The museum changes with the post-1948 collection. At this point, Porsche had formed his namesake company in Zuffehausen/Stuttgart. For me this is where things started getting even more interesting. There's a quote on the wall from Ferry Porsche states "In the beginning I looked around but couldn't find the car I dreamt of, so I decided to build it myself." Also this section is divided by race cars and concepts (on the white floor - you can walk right up and around most of the cars) and production models (in a black cove). Here are some of my production car highlights:
early 356 prototype
356 America Roadster
early 911 (drool...)
early 911 Targa
The car I most wanted to take home with me:
911 Carrera RS 2.7
The car I lusted after as a ten year old:
early 928
And an example of a car from my modern fantasy garage:
A lineup of all versions of the 911 Turbo shows the evolution of the design, while still retaining key 911 DNA:
Okay, let's move on to the prototypes and race cars, shall we? Look to the left for some of the protos:
One very ungainly prototype from the early 90s:
And one that's still beautiful 15 years after it was first shown - the Boxter prototype:
Porsche has had racing in it's blood since day 1. Here's a composite body from the 1960s, weighing in at 130kg (286 lb):
And a stunning 908:
The legendary 917 absolutely dominated endurance and Can-Am racing in the 1970s. Many developed over 1,100 HP in racing tune and over 1,500 for qualifying. Here's a lineup of notable 917s:
The 956 was reported to produce enough downforce, that at 321.4 km/h, it could theoretically drive inverted.
Plenty more Porsche racers were on display, but this one's my favorite - a 959 that was entered in the brutal 1984 Paris-Dakar:
As I mentioned earlier, the space itself is a modern architectural masterpiece. For example:
Hey, what's that little red thing there in the upper left corner ^ ?

Why it's a Porsche tractor. Porsche made tractors for about 30 years, from the mid-30s thru the mid-60s. This would make a great addition to Keith's Double Drumlin farm...
And with that I grabbed a quick lunch in the Porsche cafe...
...and headed over to the gift shop and then across the street to the Stuttgart Porsche dealer. But that's enough Porsche for one day. I'll post some dealer pix later.

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