Five Of Europe’s Most Amazing Automotive Museums
Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and Mercedes Benz are more than just car manufacturers – they’re icons of the automotive world. They’re innovators who continue to push the limits of technology and design, inspiring a legion of avid fans and collectors in the process.
The moment the engine of a Ferrari or Lamborghini springs into life, it’s not just the sound of internal combustion you hear, it’s an orchestra coming together to create a symphony of sound. And that’s a huge part of their enduring appeal. These manufacturers consider every aspect of the experience, from the technology and design to the way it makes you feel.
One man with petrol in his veins and a passion for cars that goes far beyond your average driver is Benedikt Weiler, curator for the Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.
Since 2010, Weiler has played a key role in the guest experience, helping fans (or pilgrims, if you like) come face to face with an array of classic vehicles cherry-picked from Mercedes Benz’s 130+ year history. From day-to-day management and maintenance of permanent displays to conceptualising special exhibitions, he knows exactly what car fans want.
From the 1886 Benz patent motor car, designed by Carl Benz and the first automobile in the world, to the 2016 Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid driven by Formula 1 legend Nico Rosberg, the collection is staggering. And they’re just two of some 1,500 vehicles within their pool.
“Mercedes-Benz has been ‘collecting’ since its inception,” Weiler says. “As a result, we have an almost inexhaustible pool of vehicles to select our exhibits from. We have a huge number of unique pieces including many which were only ever built in very small quantities.”
Though many exhibits are worth tens of millions of dollars, several key pieces, including the prototype 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé designed for the 1956 racing season – of which only two were made – are simply priceless. Both are part of the Mercedes collection.
Spanning nine levels and a floor space of 16,500 square metres, the museum will take you on a journey through some of the greatest moments of the past and then showcase the bright future that lies ahead. But, it’s not the only museum in Europe dedicated to the pursuit of motor perfection.
If you’re serious about motor vehicles, or even just love the feeling when you step inside a truly luxurious car, these are the European car museums you need to visit:
Mercedes Benz Museum – Stuttgart, Germany
Notable exhibits include the 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500K Special Roadster, one of the most exclusive cars to own in the 1930s; the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive; and the 1981 Mercedes-Benz ‘Auto 2000’ – a vehicle developed in 1981 with the idea of ‘What will a car in the year 2000 look like?’. Hint, they missed by a long shot.
Ferrari Museum – Maranello and Modena, Italy
Racing, performance, and beauty; the Ferrari Museum in Maranello and Enzo Ferrari Museum in nearby Modena cover all aspects of the Ferrari brand. You can delve into the history of Enzo Ferrari and the Prancing Horse, plus see exhibitions dedicated to hypercars and some of the greatest track vehicles every made. F1 fans will be in heaven with cars driven by Ascari, Lauda and Schumacher among its ranks. If you happen to own a Ferrari (lucky you) you can also experience a tour of the factory.
Lamborghini Museum – Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy
Dream of seeing a Lamborghini Aventador or Huracán in the flesh? MUDETEC, the Museum of Technology, is where you can experience all things Lamborghini. See how the brand has evolved over the 50+ years, step inside a driving simulator, view iconic models on display, or even experience a tour of the production line. Start thinking about your preferred colour.
Porsche Museum – Stuttgart, Germany
Though seriously impressive from the outside, you just wait until you step inside the Porsche Museum and see the rainbow of cars that stretch before you. More than 80 vehicles and numerous vehicles are on display inside, including the 356, 550 and 911 models. Exhibits change regularly, so chances are your first visit won’t be your last.
BMW Museum – Munich, Germany
You’ll be kicking yourself if you travel all the way to Germany and miss the BMW Museum. Located in Munich, the impressive museum covers around 5,000 square metres, with its permanent exhibition divided into seven houses from motor sport to history and design. There are also regularly changing special exhibitions dedicated to the likes of the future of electric vehicles, battery technology, and renewable raw materials, among others
Whether you visit them all or visit just one, it’s guaranteed your appreciation for the passion, the craftsmanship and the attention to detail that goes into turning a mere car into a supercar will be turbo-charged.
(Lead image: Porsche / supplied)
Published 26 February, 2020