Porsche Museum_

PORSCHE Museum in Stuttgart-ZuffenhausenVon Wolfgang Hugo Müller
The edifice by Vienna’s Delugan Meissl Associated Architects is an eye-catcher. The fascinating impact of the monolithic, virtually floating exhibition hall can be felt. This bold and dynamic architecture reflects the company’s philosophy. It is designed to convey a sense of arrival and approachability, and to guide the visitors smoothly from the basement level into the superstructure – this is how the architects express their dedication.In their design, the architects at Delugan Meissl set out to create a place of sensuous experience that reflects the authenticity of Porsche products and services as well as the company’s character, while also reshaping Porscheplatz with an unmistakable appearance.

Auto fans around the world know that the traditional site of Porsche AG is in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. Seventy years ago the erstwhile Porsche engineering office relocated from downtown Stuttgart to the first, newly built Porsche plant in Zuffenhausen. This is where the trial series of what became the “VW Beetle” was built in 1938, as was the forefather of all Porsche sports cars, the Type 64 “Berlin–Rome Car,” in 1939.

With the start of standard production of the Porsche Type 356 this Stuttgart suburb became the birthplace of the sports cars bearing the Porsche logo in 1950. Today, the 911 model series and Boxster models as well as all Porsche engines are produced in Zuffenhausen. And Porsche’s museum is located here, on Porscheplatz. At this historic location, it joins the Porsche plant and the Porsche Center as the new emblem of the company.

An especially rare piece of automotive history is to be seen from Saturday, 17 December 2011 in the Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, Museum: the Austro Daimler “Bergmeister” Sport Cabriolet dating from 1932. The “Bergmeister” is considered by automotive historians to be one of the pinnacles of Austrian automotive history. Featuring a body from the Armbruster K&K Hofwagenfabrik, the Sport Cabriolet exhibited in the Porsche Museum is considered to be one of the most beautiful cars of its era. But technically as well the “Bergmeister”, driven by a 120 hp six-cylinder engine with overhead camshaft, is very interesting. Many of its design details can be traced directly back to Ferdinand Porsche, under whose direction Austro Daimler became one of Europe’s most technically advanced automotive manufacturers. Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, will present his “Bergmeister” in person at the exhibition on Saturday at 2 p.m.

The exhibit is one of the gems of Dr. Wolfgang Porsche’s private car collection. He commissioned Austrian classic car specialist Egon Zweimüller to restore the rare vehicle, requiring more than 10,000 working hours since 2007, with the task being completed in March of this year. The premiere of the restored Austro Daimler “Bergmeister” took place in August 2011 at one of the world’s most prestigious classic car events: at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, California, the “Bergmeister” won a second place in the European Classic 1925 to 1931 category.

Ferdinand Porsche and Austro Daimler

From 1906 onwards, Ferdinand Porsche worked as chief designer at the Austrian Daimler Motor company (Austro Daimler for short) in Wiener Neustadt. His most important projects at this time included electric and petrol-driven passenger vehicles but also various commercial vehicles as well as machines for aircraft, ships and for stationary applications. During the First World War, Ferdinand Porsche was primarily occupied with hybrid drive tractors for heavy artillery as well as aero engines for naval aircraft and large flying boats. But racing cars as well were designed under his direction, including the so-called “Prinz-Heinrich Car”, in which the Austro-Daimler works team won the first three places in the 1910 running of the highly regarded Prinz-Heinrich Race. Another highlight of his work was the high-performance ADS “Sascha” compact car. 1922 saw the emergence of the racing version of the new model, which was also to be followed by a four-seater production variant.

Even after Ferdinand Porsche’s move to the German Daimler Motor Company in 1923, numerous design features of the Porsche developments remained in the Austro Daimler model range. His successor as Austro Daimler chief designer, Karl Rabe, created an entire model range on this basis until his move to competitor Steyr in 1927, where he encountered Ferdinand Porsche again in 1929. Henceforth, Karl Rabe maintained a close lifelong association with him, following Porsche to Stuttgart in 1930, where he worked as chief designer of the Porsche company until 1965.

28. 01.  2009 at the headquarters of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen the new Porsche-Museum was officially declared open. On the occasion of the ceremonial act in the spectacular new building on the Porscheplatz Dr. Wendelin Wiedeking, Chairman of the Board of Porsche AG, welcomed State Parliament President Peter Straub, the Prime Minister of Baden- Württemberg Günther Oettinger, Interior Minister Heribert Rech, the Lord Mayor of Stuttgart Dr. Wolfgang Schuster, members of the Porsche and Piëch families as well as a further 200 invited guests. On Saturday 31st January the museum will for the first time be opened to the public.

In his speech Wiedeking emphasized the particular significance of the Porsche- Museum on the site of the headquarters of the Company: “This is our new business card on the Porscheplatz. At this meeting point, we welcome our international customers as well as numerous people from all over the world who themselves may not drive a Porsche but are nonetheless fascinated by our sportscars. While the bold architecture of the building reflects the individuality, self-confidence, and orientation towards the future of Porsche itself, the exhibition with the turn-key sportscars from the Museum on Wheels, which are always ready to spring into action, breathes plenty of life into the Company’s history.” The head of the Board also announced: “We will not only use the museum as an exhibition, but also as a communication platform – as a permanent, integral part of the ongoing dialogue which Porsche conducts with the public.”

On its 5,600 square meters of exhibition space, the modern building provides space for approximately 80 historic vehicles and more than 200 carefully arranged small exhibits from the Company’s history. Spacious conference areas are available for events, including access to an impressive roof terrace. The exclusive restaurant “Christophorus” integrated into the exhibition, adds to the assortment of haute cuisine in Stuttgart. Furthermore, the museum bundles the entire historical spectrum of the sportscar manufacturer with its Historical Archive in one central location. And the experts in the glazed museum workshop will ensure that the exhibition vehicles not to mention the historic vehicles of customers are kept in impeccable condition.

Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Porsche AG, emphasized the task of the sportscar manufacturer: to remember the founding personalities of the Company and to keep the spirit of their work alive: “My grandfather and my father were passionate automobile pioneers, engineers, and entrepreneurs. Their life’s work and everything that their successors successfully made of this and further developed from it, is documented here”, said Porsche. With the opening of the new museum, the Stuttgart Company has fulfilled its obligation of preserving the dream of sports driving and to pass it on to future generations.

For Uwe Hück, Chairman of the Company Works Council of Porsche AG, the new building not only represents part of its identity, but also the motivation and commitment for all its employees: “This museum should become a part of Porsche culture – a culture of esteem amongst employees, a culture of humanity, a culture of employer and employee alike working together as well as a culture of honest and open contact with one anotherr”, said the Head of the Works Council.

Prime Minister Oettinger particularly praised the special charismatic radiance of the Porsche-Museum which would shine far beyond regional boundaries: “The history of Baden-Württemberg as the cradle of automotive engineering is closely entwined with the biography of the designer Ferdinand Porsche. All of the things which had their origin in his fountain of creativity, and which were continued by his son Ferry, are shown in this unique collection of sportscars which can be displayed to the public in its full extent for the first time. This exhibition is a reflection of the Swabian art of engineering that has given the region a worldwide reputation.”

After a walk through the new building on the Porscheplatz Lord Mayor Dr. Schuster’s verdict was: “This is a big hit for Zuffenhausen. The state capital has gained, in the form of the new Porsche-Museum, an additional, magical magnet for automobile fans from all over the world. At the same time the region can also add another attractive address for a wide variety of events. In this way Stuttgart becomes a metropolis of the automobile – and one that everyone can enjoy.”

The museum, designed entirely in white with its exhibition area resting on only three single supports that as a result, appears to be hovering, was regarded as a sensation in professional circles during its three-year construction period due to its bold architecture. Roman Delugan from the Viennese Architects’ Practice Delugan Meissl Associated Architects, whose design won the competition in January 2005, was determined from the very start to put the museum’s visitor at the very centre of things: “Architecture should not just be seen as another building, but should have an effect on the mind and body of human beings. This museum should make the Porsche cosmos a palpable reality for each person.”

The exhibition concept of the Stuttgart museum designer Professor HG Merz deliberately dispenses with the idea of a staged theme world with show effects and instead lets the sportscars speak for themselves. “Exhibits of this quality need no elaborate packaging”, stresses Professor Merz. “In Zuffenhausen they stand like sculptures in a white gallery. Against these reduced surroundings, the visitor can be alone with the vehicles and with his or her own personal feelings.”

Porsche is expecting at least 200,000 visitors per year. Even in the previous museum on the works site, which could barely accommodate 20 exhibits, 80,000 guests a year would turn up. Altogether the historic collection of Porsche AG encompasses a fleet of 400 racing and sportscars. Since almost all exhibition vehicles still take part in historic racing events, the rare items on show in the “Museum on Wheels” are constantly being changed. Apart from anything else, this make repeated visits all the more fascinating for regular guests.

The new Porsche-Museum is open daily as from the 31st January, except on Mondays, from 9 to 6 p.m..
Adults pay 8 euros admission (discount: four Euros).
Children up to the age of 14 get free admission when accompanied by an adult.
Porsche Museum
Porscheplatz 1
D – 70435 Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, GermanyOpening Hours of the Porsche Museum
Tuesday through Sunday
9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased until 5:00 pm
Closed Mondayshttp://www.porsche.com
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