The Porsche Museum
No visit to Zuffenhausen is complete without visiting the Porsche Museum. Here, the history and DNA of the company is on display ( https:// www.porsche.com/museum/en/ ). You can also find the Mercedes Benz Museum and better understand the history between Dr. Porsche and Mercedes Benz ( https:// www.mercedes-benz.com/en/mercedes-benz/classic/ museum/ ). Either self-guided, audio or guided tours are available in a variety of languages. Advance online reservations are recommended, and Porsche Club members enjoy discounted access. An app “Porscheplatz” is available for orientation and is worthwhile.
The Museum itself is a striking piece of architecture situated centrally in Zuffenhausen adjacent to the Porsche Factory complex. In addition to the car display, the Museum houses two restaurants – Christophorus and Boxenstopp, a coffee shop, restoration shop for the Museum’s exhibits, souvenir shop and Porsche Drive. Separate architectural tours are also available for the museum.
Boxenstopp is the way Germans do fast food – wholesome local specialties. Christophorus requires reservations and is fine dining the Porsche way. The coffee shop starts with excellent coffee and adds real German pastries – locally sourced. You’ll find a wide variety of excellent baked goods in German restaurants – breads and pastries vary by region and are all wonderful.
Above: 1939 Volkswagen Type 1 designed by Dr. F. Porsche
Above: Prize winning design of in-wheel electric motor ca. 1896
The Museum is accessed from reception via a long escalator and you depart by an even longer one! The exhibits spiral upward with production cars arranged on the outer wall and race cars or exhibits of interest situated on the inner spiral. A fraction of their total collection is on display, some 90 of 600 examples, so the Museum is always worth a visit.
Dr. Porsche’s career started in 1895 and from the outset he worked on electric vehicles! Examples of an early ‘truck’ and the first wheel-mounted motor are shown. Industry was moving in a different direction though and he directed his talents and design office to internal combustion engines with an eye on aerodynamics, weight and performance.
Prior to WW II, one of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche’s assignments included the Volkswagen Type 1. An example of this car from 1939 is on display and it is interesting to note the development it underwent over its life.
Dr. Ferdinand Porsche’s son, Ferry and daughter Louise started a company to produce the 356 sports car in 1948. During this post-war period shortages of material and skilled labour were common and there is a real sense in Stuttgart of the effects of WW II on industrial development.
The Porsche 356 was initially fabricated by hand in aluminum in Gmund, Austria. Approximately 50 units were made in the first two years before they moved to Stuttgart to increase production. Stuttgart had an infrastructure of parts makers, skilled workers and technology. Car bodies built in steel were procured from Reuter with Porsche assembling the car and production climbed to nearly 400 units in 1950. Today, logistics and subcontractors are at the heart of Porsche.
Porsche’s history is well documented elsewhere but you gain a tangible sense of this history particularly of the company’s struggles at the museum. Another aspect of the company is their pride in victory. Nothing worthwhile comes easily according to Porsche and they celebrate their achievements with the display of their race cars and the trophies they’ve won. Even forty years on, these cars look beautiful.
Above: Porsche 935/77 Spyder of Ickx, Barth and Haywood
Porsche 917 KH Coupe of Jo Siffert and Derel Bell
Porsche 919 Hybrid. Inset: The Porsche 919 ‘office’… the doors make an amazing sound on closing!
The Museum is impressive and well worth a visit, particularly during Porsche’s 70th anniversary.
(Provinz: June 2018)