Last week I visited the Official Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. It’s a magnificent sight and probably the highlight of the city, aside from the Mercedes Benz Museum, which I’m making plans to see as well. The museum offers more than any tourist could ask for. As soon as I parked I noticed my humble little Volkswagen Polo hatchback was encompassed by beautiful new 911s fresh from the factory. All of which had a sign on their dash covers which read “Drive me.” I had decided right then and there that I didn’t care what the cost might have been, I just had to get one of those Carrera Turbos. I figured it’d be the best way to close out my day, but sadly I didn’t get the opportunity to take one out, because it was too close to closing time by the time I had requested one. Next time, I guess.
There are two restaurants, one of which is very upscale with a cigar lounge on the third floor. I went to the one on the first floor which offered a lighter fare. “The Cayman,” which was the nickname for the curry wurst, definitely hit the spot after the two hour drive. I polished it off with a Pinot Grigio from a local vineyard. The spicy curry sauce got me fired up for the walk that lay ahead, and sadly, for this gypsy that interrupted my lunch, it gave me a bit of a zesty attitude as well.
Once I got rid of the guy I proceeded to the front desk to purchase my ticket, which was reasonably priced at only 8 Euros. With over 60,000 square feet of real estate, there is plenty of history to absorb. The first exhibit had mostly race cars and naturally told the story of Ferdinand Porsche, the Austro-Hungarian engineer who founded the company and was the creator of the Volkswagen Beetle. For obvious reasons, the museum omits much of the true history of Ferdinand Porsche’s life, considering his close ties to the NSDAP. It’s rather a touchy subject that Germans don’t care to talk about today. In 1934 Adolf Hitler had commissioned Ferdinand Porsche to construct what would be known as the “German People’s Car.” With that, Porsche envisioned a modest, economical, affordable vehicle for the average family. It was then that the Volkswagen Beetle was conceived. It became a huge success and, in 1950, approximately 100,00 units had been sold. On display is the black 1950 model featured here. Powered by a tiny 1.1 liter 4 cylinder, its power output is a mere 25 horses which reaches a top speed of only about 65 miles per hours, which probably took twenty seconds to climb to. Nevertheless, this particular model would be worth somewhere in upwards of 50 grand in the US today.
The next vehicle, in my opinion, was the number one piece in the whole collection, mainly because of its paucity in the world today. The Austro Daimler an icon of Austrian engineering. Featured on the second floor of the museum is 1932 Bergmeister convertible in mint condition. It’s a beautiful two-tone grey and Cb2 (convertible model) with spur-centered wire wheels with a continental kit in the rear, and topped off with that classic Daimler bow-and-arrow hood ornament in the front. The 3.6 liter is mated to a 3 speed on the floor, which produced 120 hp and achieved a top speed of about 87 mph. Considering the car’s massive bulk, that wasn’t bad for the time. To my understanding, however, Porsche had already left the company for Steyr Automobile in 1929, which actually merged with Austro Daimler in 1934, so I left this section of the museum with a lot of questions. I would’ve liked to have talked to an expert, but there were only security guards around.
Speaking of which, the next section I visited featured the first generation of Carreras. The first one to catch my attention was a shiny Torch Red 356. The 356 A Convertible D Prototype featured a 1.6 liter I-4 with 60 hp. Not a speed demon by any means, but a sharp, sporty roadster to compete with the Italian automakers like Alfa Romeo. A young man approached me and asked me to take a picture of him in the exhibit and I was happy to do do and kindly asked if he’d reciprocate by taking one of me beside the 356. I took his shot in the middle of the exhibit with all the 50s and 60s generations in his background and gave him my phone to get the shot of me. I told him not to worry too much about lighting and position because I was crossing the boundary by stepping onto the car’s platform and I didn’t want to alarm security, but I just had to get that shot. I placed my hand gently on the leather boot of the convertible top and cracked a smile. He takes it, shows it to me, I approved and thanked him. At this point he asked to take one of him in front of the same car. I said, “Yeah sure. We’ll do it quick.” I take the shot and show it to him, but the kid had the audacity to tell me the shot wasn’t good. He wanted “the whole car in the frame.” I thought to myself, “Are you f***ing kidding me?” At most, I missed the rear bumper. What’s more, I was taken aback by his lack of respect for the car as he thought it prudent to press his fingerprints on the hood of the car when he posed. In any event, I took the shot, wiped his prints off with my sleeve, and gave the kid his phone back and stepped away quickly. Sure as you’re born, I look behind me and see the security guard talking to him. Sadly my picture wasn’t saved to my image gallery and I lost my shot. Oh well.
My favorite section in the whole museum featured my favorite Porsches of them all: The 911 Turbos. They had one from all the generations dating back to 1990. I was drooling as I watched them spinning on the automatic floor rotaries. What I wouldn’t give for any one of them.
As I made my way to the end I noticed a fun little picture spot where visitors could pose in a 2015 Boxster with a back drop that displays the “Porsche Museum of Stuttgart.” There was a touch screen that activated the photo and the guests could choose one and have it emailed. I thought “why not?” I approached the car and a nice family stood by the touch screen to take a shot of me. Lo and behold guess who slipped in front of me! It was that damn kid I met over by the 356. He sits down in the passenger seat for some reason and he starts playing with all the buttons and switches to a car that’s not turned on. I looked at him as he’s flipping the visor down and up and I couldn’t help but whisper out loud, “What in the hell is wrong with this kid?” Finally he gets out having never taken a picture. I stood behind the car and the nice lady behind the screen snapped the shot. I thanked her, typed my email in and pressed send, but to this day I have yet to receive it. Not a lucky day with the pictures. I managed to snag one selfie (which I hate to do) in front of a 53 356 America Roadster, which was similar to the 550 Spyder that James Dean was killed in, but I didn’t see any of those.
Overall, it was a great day. If you’re traveling through Germany it is definitely worth the trip. Before I left I inquired about the test drive, but missed the deadline by about 10 minutes as they were closing in 50, so give yourself plenty of time to enjoy all of the amenities they have to offer. See you on the next ride! Auf Wiedersehen!