Porsche has a long and storied history that goes well beyond its famed 911 sports car. Highlights of the German marque’s past can be found within the Porsche Museum located in its hometown of Stuttgart, Germany. This wonderfully architectural building turns 10 years-old in 2019, so we paid a visit to the crucible of all things Porsche.
Here are some of the amazing exhibits that await you inside.
After ogling the classic Porsche’s being restored through the glass downstairs, you travel up what seems like an endless escalator to begin your journey. The first car you are presented with is not a Porsche, but an Egger-Lohner.
Well ahead of his time, Ferdinand Porsche built an electric car in 1898 while working for Egger-Lohner. This futuristic horseless carriage is powered by a motor that’s housed inside an octagonal casing that’s lined with shock absorbers.
Porsche enters the car into a 25-mile race in 1899 of which he wins, technically making it the first motorsport victory for an electric car.
While Porsche doesn’t recognize the Type 64 as the genesis of its sports car business, this car is where its foundations were developed. Known only by its model name, the Type 64 possesses a beautifully streamlined aluminum body, designed for the Berlin-Rome endurance race.
Three cars were built, but the outbreak of war in Europe meant they never raced.
Porsche and the Beetle are intrinsically linked, and so the museum features a very early example of the Volkswagen. In 1934 Ferdinand Porsche presents his plans for Germany’s ‘people’s car’ that was to be affordable and cheap to run.
It sported an aerodynamic shape to house a four-cylinder air-cooled engine, and was officially called the Volkswagen Type 1. Ferdinand visited America to learn about the latest mass production techniques, and then incorporated them into the production line at Wolfsburg.
The Beetle went on to play a huge part in German automotive history.
The very first Porsche, a car that celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2018, is a star attraction at the museum. Its low-slung shape has been restored to as it was when it first hit the road in 1948.
This mid-engined predecessor to the 356 production car was the design of Ferry Porsche, Ferdinand’s son. After being unable to find a sports car he wanted to own, Ferry created one that sparked the Porsche legacy.
Much of the mechanicals are made from modified Volkswagen Type 1 parts, with the pedals that still sport VW logos.
This handsome orange car is effectively an evolution of Porsche No.1. Ferry and his team developed the car further by moving its air-cooled engine, placed behind the rear axle to create more interior space — something that also became a core of 911 DNA.
This lightweight aluminum proved an ideal candidate for motorsport, with a top speed of 87mph - spectacular performance for 1948!
This black 1950 356 is very special as it was a 75th birthday gift to Ferdinand Porsche from his employees. It is fitted with a radio, a rare thing for a car of this period, and an option that cost almost as much as a Volkswagen Beetle at the time.
When Ferdinand Porsche passed away, the black car is used as a test mule and clocks up almost 250,000 miles.
By this time Porsche production has moved to Stuttgart from Austria, with 356s featuring a steel body.
This is the first Porsche built specifically for racing. It combines an aluminum body with a mid-mounted engine for optimum weight distribution.
Despite having a lower capacity of engine than its competitors, the 550 Spyder’s agility enables it to score a class win at the Carrera Panamerica. It also entered the Mille Miglia where its driver, Hans Herrmann, uses its tiny size to speed under a closing railroad gate.
This very early 911 was originally dubbed ‘901’, but after Peugeot lodged a complaint that the name was too similar to its models, Porsche rebranded its car as the 911. Car No. 57 has been restored to the highest level by Porsche specialist with no expense spared. It is currently the oldest 911 the company owns.
The 914 is 50 years-old in 2019 with Porsche’s famed Volkswagen collaboration takes pride of place in the museum. Parked next to a period 911, it is tiny!
Some people mock the 914, but this car actually became a best-seller for Porsche.
This is one of the fastest Porsche racing cars ever made, which is quite the achievement considering the extraordinary company it keeps at the museum. Its elongated bodywork enabled driver Vic Elford to clock over 240mph down the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans.
With up to 1580-horsepower, the Porsche 917/30 Can Am racer is one of the most powerful racing cars to ever turn a wheel. A turbocharged 5.4-liter flat-12 engine helped it dominate the 1973 season.
It was an understandably thirsty machine that averaged around 2mpg during a race, meaning two 200-liter fuel tanks were required.
New Group 5 racing regulations gave designers much more freedom when penning their racers. A divisive styling change that ditched the 911s distinctive bulbous headlamps in place of a more aerodynamic sympathetic ‘flat-nose’ design gave Porsche’s most historic model a totally new appearance.
This design was evolved by project engineer Norbert Singer and culminated in the 935/78 ‘Moby Dick’. The exaggerated bodywork of the 935/78 housed an 845hp 3.2-liter flat-six engine.
Do not adjust your screen, this Porsche is indeed upside-down. As a demonstration of just how much downforce the 956 produces, this inverted display highlights that it could technically drive upside-down.
The 1 millionth Porsche was a 1996 911 Carrera that was gifted to the German Federal State of Baden-Wurttemberg as a police car.
This road-legal Porsche 911 GT1 served to homologate the racing car. Despite its extreme design, this car met all crash and emissions testing for 1998.
This 2017 Porsche was the 1 millionth 911 model to be built. It is finished in Irish Green, features a retro seat design, and wooden steering wheel that mimics that of Ferry Porsche’s first company car.
The Porsche 919 was a dominant endurance racer, but engineers wanted to know what was possible if they threw away the FIA rulebook. This 1160-hp extreme machine is currently the fastest vehicle to ever lap the Nurburgring.
As well as housing Porsche’s past, the museum is also exhibiting its future. The Porsche Mission E all-electric super saloon will go into production in 2019 as the Taycan.
These are just a handful of the amazing exhibits currently in the Porsche Museum, with star cars changing on a regular basis — a freshly restored Porsche 917 No.1 will soon join. It is a fascinating place for any petrolhead, and a must-see for every Porsche enthusiast.
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