Some like it fast, others like it faster. If that’s you, head to the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. The museum features Porsche’s famous icons: the 356 Roadster, 550 Spyder, 911 Speedster, and some of the world’s fastest racing cars.
The museum also highlights the history of the Porsche factory in Stuttgart and its founder Ferdinand Porsche.
Porsche was a German-Austrian mechanical engineer with a passion for motor vehicles. In 1931 he founded an “Office for Engine and Vehicle Consulting and Construction” in Stuttgart; later the cornerstone for the Porsche factory and production headquarters in Zuffenhausen.
The chronological history of the company before 1948 is displayed in photos, sketches and interactive kiosks in multiple languages.
However, the main focus is the collection of 80 Porsche vehicles ranging from the first Porsche 356/1 to the most up-to-date model Typ 991, according to Astrid Böttinger, spokeswoman for the Porsche-Museum.
The Porsche 356/1, a two-seater roadster, was produced in 1948 in Gmünd, Austria, and was the first vehicle to receive the Porsche name.
Some people may be surprised to find a black 1950 “VW Käfer,” or Beetle, at the museum. The Beetle’s history goes back to 1933, when Porsche was assigned to design a “Volkswagen,” or people’s car, for the former “Reichsverband der Automobilinsudtrie” (automobile association during the Third Reich). Back then, the idea was to create a car that everyone could afford.
The museum’s exhibits are ever changing.
“We aim to create a lively museum, to give people the opportunity to see something new every time they come here,” Böttinger said. The museum is also referred to as “Rollendes Museum,” or rolling museum, since most of the cars on exhibit participate in various car races and rallies in Germany and all over the world.
Visitors to the museum can get behind the wheel in some of the cars, such as the Porsche 911 Carrera Cabrio for a “real” Porsche feeling. “We want visitors to take a closer look at the vehicles and give them the chance to experience the cars,” Böttinger said.
Another highlight is the Porsche garage on the first floor of the museum, where visitors can observe mechanics working on cars through large windows. The museum also hosts open garage days where patrons can enter the garage.
“During these events, the mechanics also run the engines for some high speed noise,” Böttinger said.
Taking the escalator from the first floor to the museum’s main exhibition hall, visitors can wind their way up to the gallery and the special exhibition “Identität 911,” featuring Porsche’s most popular sports car, until May 20. In the exhibit, cutaways of the Porsche 911 are displayed, allowing car and engine lovers close-up looks of the model’s inner workings.
“Originally, the Porsche was designed as a racing car, but was also meant to combine speed with the functionality of a car for everyday use,” Böttinger said.
Sports car enthusiasts may be impressed by the Boxsters and Carreras, but the futuristic building that holds these speedy vehicles is also worth a closer look.
The museum rests on three columns and is built mainly from glass, metal and steel … the same amount of steel as was used for the Eiffel Tower, according to Böttinger.
The floors, walls and ceilings are designed completely in white.
“White is defined as not being a color and that is why we picked it for the interior design … so that people can visualize and reflect on the cars only, and nothing else distracts them,” Böttinger said.
The Porsche “sound showers” match the museum’s futuristic concept. Visitors can step onto a vibrating platform and listen to Porsche races and engine sounds that emanate from above.
For those who wish to take home a car without a hefty car payment, the museum’s souvenir shop offers miniature car models, pictures, books and many other Porsche-inspired products.
The Porsche Museum, located at Porscheplatz 1, 70435 Stuttgart, is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Entrance is permitted until 5 p.m.
The museum offers English guided tours, as well as children’s tours.
For more information in English, visit www.porsche.com/usa/aboutporsche/porschemuseum.