As the 2012 motorsport season comes to an end, organizers, drivers, teams and everyone related to racing will enjoy their well deserved vacation and will soon start preparing for the 2013 season. So this gives us time for something different.
This time of the year seemed like the perfect moment to make a trip down to Porsche’s hometown Stuttgart for a visit to the Museum. As we approached the Porscheplatz in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen we were immediately impressed by the museum’s big white structure which seems to be floating in the air. The modern architecture of the museum, designed by Delugan Meissl Associated Architects and its bright white colour was a big contrast with the sunny blue sky over Stuttgart. Inside a magnificent sample of Porsche’s history was awaiting.
Interior of the Porsche Museum
Before diving into the wonderful collection we went for a walk around the outside of the museum in order to enjoy the spectacular architecture of this building. Only a few open spots in the white solid structure give you a little preview of the beauty that is shown inside. We did not want to make this walk too long so we entered the Museum at the ground floor underneath a floating structure and quickly climbed the escalator which took us right into Porsche heaven.
Porsche Museum Exterior
Arriving at the upper level Porsche takes you on a trip through time as they proudly show their history, starting with a replica of the 1939 type 64 chassis. In fact it all started with this famous first design. Only one out of the three type 64 cars has survived to this day and is owned by a private collector. This replica chassis shows the consistency of Porsche’s design starting back in the 30s and reaching to the modern type 911 cars.
Porsche Type 64
The tour of Porsche’s production cars starts off with the 356 from 1948 – the no.1 Roadster, followed by the 356 from 1949 – the no.2 Coupé. Along the outside ring of the museum Porsche shows various models of this pioneering 356 such as the America Roadster and the 356 B 2000 GS Carrera GT. Such a great design and so much beauty! The way the Museum is laid out it feels like you’re walking in an art gallery rather than a museum.
Porsche 356 – no.1 Roadster
Porsche 356 – no.2 Coupé
Apart from the 356 Porsches the collection includes a variety of production and concept models from the old days up to the current ones. Of course the 550 Spyder is also part of this.
Porsche 906 – street legal racer
Our biggest interest was clearly the Porsche race cars exhibition. Porsche displays quite a bit of their racing history starting with the 906, also known as Carrera 6. This street legal race car has a 2-litre engine with a top speed of 280 km/h (170 mph). There are various models of the 908 (such as the LH and the 908/3) which contended in World Sportscars Championship, the 909 designed for hillclimbing, the 911 Carrera RSR turbo 2.1 in Martini livery used in the 1000 km races and of course Le Mans 24 Hours.
Porsche 908/02 Spyder
When we say Le Mans, all Porsche lovers will immediately think of the legendary 917. During our visit we could admire six 917 models on display: 917K, 917LH, 917/20 and even the amazing 917/30 CanAm racer. We clearly couldn’t keep our eyes (and lenses…) of all this beautiful historic cars.
Porsche 917 collection
Porsche 917/20 also known as the “Pink Pig”
Famous liveries such as the blue-orange Gulf, the Martini Racing-Team and the unique “Pink Pig” of the 917/20 were a feast for our eyes. An assembly of beauties! Being a Dutchman I thought it was a must to briefly be able to touch the 1971 917K in which Gijs van Lennep won his first Le Mans 24 Hours (Don’t worry, it was a very slight touch)
1971 Le Mans Winner Porsche 917K
In front the 917/30 CanAM
The more modern era of Porsche at Le Mans is displayed by the successful 956 in the famous Rothmans Livery (upside down) and the 1998 911 GT1.
Porsche’s latest American Le Mans Series LMP2 racer the RS Spyder is in the gallery as well in its well-known yellow and red Penske livery.
Apart from the beautiful Le Mans cars one of the most exciting cars we’ve seen must be the 935/77 Baby, raced by Jacky Ickx in 1977. The bright white car in its Martini livery with the fluorescent pink wheels makes a big impression contrasting with the white walls and ceiling.
The tour ends descending a long escalator again back to the ground floor. In the end we had a great day at the museum, enjoying the amazing Porsche automotive and racing history. A “short” stop at the museum shop and we were done for the day! If you ever get the chance, I can only say the a visit to the Porsche Museum is more than worth it!
(images: Gerlach Delissen)