Following the Autosport Show I spent a few days exploring London before jetting to Stuttgart Germany. When we first started planning our trip to Autosport I knew I couldn’t fly across the Atlantic without visiting Germany and my mecca, the Porsche Museum and factory. We landed in the dead of winter and proceeded to pickup our Audi A3 rental car and head towards the factory (and also saw snow for the second time in my life, keep in mind I grew up here in Florida). I’ve been a Porsche fanatic for many years now, living and breathing the brand, so it was great to take in the town where these machines are created and the history of how they came to be. I had requested a factory tour which was denied due to the work force just returning from their holiday leave and the available replacement date was after my return to the states. While we weren’t able to take the factory tour this trip, the Museum was open which offered a great consultation. The museum which opened in 2009 holds about 80 cars from Porsches private collection and shows the great history behind the brand and extensive racing history. There is a factory restoration facility on site, and all of the cars are in working condition and can be shipped to events and races around the world for exhibition purposes.
In the entry forum there is a small coffee shop with a glass wall behind it that houses the Porsche factory workshop. The Workshop is where the factory restores historic cars to like new condition and keeps the museum maintained and the cars in running condition. It sure beats running to the local Starbucks when you can enjoy a latte and view master technicians at work!
When you walk into the museum you are greeted by a work in progress Type 64 body, this aluminum body was made prior to WWII and is the design inspiration for many Porsche vehicles to follow.
Just as important as the cars, is the technology that goes into them, which Porsche displays just as prominently as the vehicles in the museum. This is a billet titanium crank from one of their 917 engines, something that would be a huge undertaking even with todays CNC production, when you realize that it was from the 60s, it shows just how much Porsche was willing to invest to stay ahead.
Titanium was the cold war material of choice in the 60s, this spherical gas tank was also produced entirely from the lightweight material.
The museum had an entire 906 body handing from the ceiling to show the inner workings of one of the first race cars to be constructed from hand layered fiberglass over a tubular frame.
It’s important to realize that the Museum is a working museum, these priceless cars are kept in working condition and exercised whenever appropriate. As a result they have plenty of blemishes, or rather character showing such use. Porsche doesn’t go out of it’s way to hide this, but rather benefits from the fact that these cars can still work as designed even today.
Many of the cars are used at events around the world to help promote the Porsche brand and it’s heritage, this particular car had scrutineering stickers from the Goodwood Festival where it last ran up the hill in 2010.
A Porsche 935 Long tail, one of the original monster turbocharged race cars.
This particular car like many of it’s era was quite prone to oil leaks, the factory chose to simply put a drip pan under the engine to keep the floor clean rather than hide it.
A car that most Porsche enthusiast lust over, the RS 2.7 Coupe. Today there are likely more replicas of these on the road than originals, so seeing the real thing in the flesh was quite the treat.
3 of the most iconic modern Porsches all lined up in a row in race car form: 959, 993 and 996 GT1.
The Porsche 917 gave Porsche it’s first Lemans overall win and dominated in the early 70s, a cherished time long before rules constraints limited manufactures involvement as it does today. The flat 12 cylinder engine had many configurations both NA and Turbo, but was known to produce over 1,000hp and propelled the car to speeds over 240mph on the long Mulsaane straight.
The Pink Pig is one of the most recognizable of the 917s for it’s aerodynamic wider stance, however it was only entered into one race before being retired after a crash. The car was an aerodynamic research car that became so wide it would no longer fit in a standard transporter, after it’s sponsor declined having its decals on the car, it was painted in honor of it’s nickname which translates to “the pink pig”.
An exploded view of the famous flat 12 engine the powered the majority of the 917s (an experimental flat 16 was tested but discontinued after the turbocharged 12 version proved quicker in testing).
The Porsche Museum should be on any Porsche or automotive enthusiasts bucket list, very few places in the world house as much racing and automotive history as one can find under this roof. Next to the museum is the factory where most modern Porsches are born, and I’m anxious to do a return trip in better weather to see the production process in person after visiting the factory. For now it’s one more line scratched off my bucket list.