Best German Auto Museums
Germany’s Five Best Automotive Museums
German engineering has always employed a somewhat minimalist approach to creating some of the most high-end vehicles in the world, building their engines out of nothing but the best and most efficient parts. Not a single unnecessary component or one extra bolt in place.
Their approach to establishing automotive museums isn't much difference. Where the US has hundreds of odd little novelty auto museums and collections devoted entirely to the Ford Pinto, Germany's top auto museums are modest in size and number, but overwhelming in the sheer quality of what they have on display.
5. Automotive Science Museum - Autovision –Altußheim, Germany
To be quite frank, the outside of the automotive museum Autovision looks like your local sporting goods mega-store. Don't let that fool you, though. Within, you'll find a fascinating study on the science of the automobile. The car and motorcycle collection itself is modest. The cars include some rarities like the NSU Typ5/25, but the main focus is on learning a bit more about how these cars work, with a number of interactive exhibits allowing visitors to operate much of the machinery on display, including a number of Wankel engines.
Museum Autovision is a bit lacking if you just want to gawk at some gorgeous classics, but chances are you'll come away from this automobile museum with a deeper understanding of the craftsmanship and art that goes into building Alfas and Ferraris than ever before. Our advice is to start here to more fully appreciate the next automobile museums on your trip.
4. Mercedes Museum - Mercedes-Benz Museum – Stuggart, Germany
Mercedes-Benz luxury cars are such an iconic brand that you don't even bother comparing them to other 'bests'. You don't say that the Benz is to luxury cars as the Ferrari is to high-end sports cars, you just call it a Mercedes-Benz and you leave it at that. The Mercedes-Benz Automotive Museum was uniquely designed in a three leaf clover shape to offer the automobile museum maintainers 16,500 square meters of space on just 4,800 square meters of land, of course, you probably don't care about the architecture of the place, so let's just get to the cars already...
The Mercedes-Benz Car Museum exhibits about one hundred sixty of their most iconic cars, with some of the very first ever produced including a 1906 DMG Mercedes Simplex. The Sauber/Mercedes C9 F1 Racer is probably one of the most significant models on display, having been the car that won the 1989 Le Mans, single-handedly putting Mercedes back on top after some rough years.
3. Porsche Museum - The Porsche Museum – Stuggart, Germany
There are certain brands that inspire a degree of loyalty in their drivers, and these are the brands whose automobile museums tend to draw the biggest crowds. The famous car collector Fritz Schlumpf had a borderline unhealthy obsession with the Bugatti, while other drivers refuse to sit behind the wheel of anything but an Alfa Romeo, but few brands have inspired the same kind of ferocious loyalty in their drivers as Porsche, so it’s no surprise the Porsche Automobile Museum draws something like five hundred thousand to one million visitors a year.
While the car museum spans 5600 square metres and four stories, only eighty cars are ever on display at a time, rotated in and out of a stock of three hundred. This may seem odd, but the idea is to focus only on the best of the best of the Porsche brand, so rather than carting out every vehicle they've ever made, they've chosen only to showcase their most popular, most impressive and most important models. Of course, knowing Porsche brand loyalists, most will probably make a beeline straight for the nearest 911s. Ever since their introduction in 1963, the Nine Elevens have been the only car many drivers would ever dare spend their hard earned money on.
2. Automotive Museum - Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum – Sinsheim, Germany
While the Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum is largely devoted to airplane and space craft exhibits, the automotive collection on display is, nonetheless, one of the most impressive in any of the automobile museums of Germany, with more than three hundred vintage Mercedes and Maybachs, two hundred motorcycles, a collection of F1 racers, forty sports cars, and a collection of American dream cars.
One of the most impressive of these cars would have to be the Blue Flame, an American rocket car that once held the world record for speed, but for true sports car junkies, the centrepiece has to be the Vector 8W, the only one of its kind on public display anywhere in the world.
1. Volkswagen Museum - Autostadt – Wolfsburg, Germany
The Autostadt may well be Germany's most impressive car museum devoted to a single brand. Built around a Volkswagen factory, the auto museum actually covers their subsidiary brands as well, including the Audi, Bentleys, and Lamborghinis. The Autostadt is divided into a number of pavilions: Audi, Bentley, SEAT, Skoda, and Volkswagen.
Skoda is devoted to Volkswagen metal sculptures, a nice attraction, but we're really here for the cars, thank you. More than just a rare car showcase, the automotive museum explores the process of designing and creating these cars, with exhibits delving into everything from the engine design of the Lamborghini to the leather finish in a Bentley. Of course, if you're just here to ogle the cars, don't worry, they've got that too. The vehicles on display include a Lamborghini Murcielago and the Bentley Speed 8 that took the 24 Hour Le Mans in 2003. There are even a few pop culture Volkswagens like the VW Beetle from the cover of the Abbey Road album, so make sure to bring three friends to walk in single file in front of it.
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