Sunday, May 10, 2009

Porsche Museum Zuffenhausen -- the Best!

The new Porsche Museum in Zuffenhausen, near Stuttgart, is simply the best auto museum I have gone to. In terms of the setting, the exhibits, the ambiance, it outstrips the Petersen in Los Angeles, and that is no mean feat! If it has a weakness, however, the life of the everyday person -- although a Porsche owner is anything but common in many respects -- is a topic conspicuously absent, not only in this museum, but in virtually all automobile museums in Germany. Yet it is the people that are the most intesting to me.

With a PCA membership card the entrance fee is only four Euros, and there is also a modest charge for parking in an adjacent parking garage. Like everything Porsche does, from making their cars to racing, it is done just right. There are varied opportunities to eat here, from a snack bar to a full sit-down restaurant. And the cars! The first floor is dedicated to early Porsche cars, from autos Ferdinand Porsche designed in the 1920s to designs that ultimately crystallized as the Type 356. If you are intersted in 356s, early and later 911s, Porsche racing vehicles of every type, to water pumpers like the 924 and 928, they are here. The cars are well presented, and often you can go right up to the car and get as close as you want. Very careful attention to history takes place in this museum. Sadly, however, mention of the relationship with Hitler and Ferdinand Porsche's imprisonment after WWII is absent. Perhaps it is best forgotten, but beyond the history of technology it is the most interesting historical episode in the great man's life. I am including photos of some early Porsche designed vehicles, the 1939 Berlin to Rome vehicle -- the first car with the name Porsche on it, and several other car photos.

At the end of the visit I drove to the Mercedes Museum in nearby Cannstadt, although it took me far longer than I would have liked due to my poor map. The Mercedes Museum, in my opinion, is overly commercialized. Sure Porsche wants to sell you a car, but it seems that is all the Mercedes folks aim at doing. The Museum seems like mere gravy to them!

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