• Feb 6, 2009
Click above for a high-res image tour of the new Porsche Museum

The new monochromatic steel structure at Porscheplatz is designed to be a symbolic icon of the "Porsche Idea" presented, in all its complexity, inside. More than three decades after the original Porsche Museum opened in Stuttgart, Germany, the family-owned automaker invested more than $130 million in an all-new facility to present the storied history of the marque. The new museum is designed to welcome more than 200,000 visitors each year. In addition to the 80 historic vehicles on rolling display, the inspiring building houses a workshop for restoration, historical archives and generous conference areas. We were invited to a special preview of the new Porsche Museum just days before the doors officially opened last week. Follow us inside for a tour after the jump.


All photos Copyright © 2009 Michael C. Harley, Weblogs, Inc. / Porsche Cars North America / Delugan Meissl

With more than 30 years of engineering expertise already under his belt, Ferdinand Porsche opened his own office for "engineering and consultation on engine and vehicle design" in Stuttgart, Germany, on April 25, 1931. The history of Porsche, the automaker, had officially started. Over the next four decades, the company historically launched as "Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche KG" would engineer, manufacture and successfully race some of the most influential vehicles in automotive history.



The first Porsche Museum opened its doors in 1976. Located in Zuffenhausen, a district of Stuttgart, the original museum was small and intimate. It was only large enough for about 20 exhibits, although there were literally hundreds of near-pristine cars in storage out of the public's eye. Nearly five years ago, Porsche set out to build an all-new museum. The new museum would be significantly larger than the original, and it would include an operating workshop, historical archive center open to the public, conference center, coffee bar, museum shop and upscale restaurant. More than 170 architects from all over Europe applied for the project. In 2005, the bid was won by Delugan Meissl Associated Architects based in Vienna, Austria. Construction started in October of 2005, and was completed in December of 2008.



Delugan Meissl's winning architecture features a spectacular "floating" museum supported on several massive pylons. Much more impressive (and imposing) in person, the angular exterior of the museum is finished in monochromatic white, offset by panels of polished stainless steel and glazed glass. Underneath the façade is a sophisticated three-dimensional lattice framework engineered from high-strength steel and reinforced pre-stressed concrete. Together, they bear the weight of the 35,000-ton exhibition hall hovering above. Below ground level, and hidden from view, is the building's multi-story parking garage. Sitting prominently in the middle of Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen at Porscheplatz, the dramatic architecture is striking in a European city that traces its roots back more than 2,000 years.



Entering the museum, visitors are drawn in as they descend a sloping ramp from the street. The gaping monolith opening is more than 30-feet tall, with embedded illumination in the ground reflected by the polished stainless panels far above. It is impressive, and it sets the tone immediately and rather dramatically. Mirroring the exterior, the interior of the Porsche Museum adopts the same monochromatic appearance. According to the designers, many different types of vehicles, in all shapes, sizes, and colors, would be on display. To avoid unnecessary distraction, a near seamless stark appearance was a necessity. The floors are a crystal wth synthetic glass/stone mixture that is impervious to chemical staining, while the walls are finished with a bright white seamless synthetic acrylic polymer material (it looks and feels much like Dupont's solid surface Corian).



Paying the €8 admission fee (about $10), visitors are met by the coffee bar directly ahead, and the museum store off to the right. Enthusiasts will bypass both as their eyes are immediately drawn to the large glass walls in the middle of the first floor. Framed on the other side is the operating workshop, a place where Porsche restores and repairs both vehicle exhibits and cars owned by customers. Opposite the workshop is the escalator bank carrying guests nearly 100 feet into the upper part of the building, and the heart of the 53,800 square foot exhibition space.



The exhibition floor spirals around logically in a contiguous chronological path. The automaker has divided the displays into two groups: the history of Porsche prior to 1948 and the history of Porsche after 1948 (the first vehicle with a Porsche badge was a 356 Roadster built in 1948). All told, there are about 80 vehicles represented in the museum. As most all of the cars are in running condition, a fact verified by their ongoing participation in historic races worldwide, Porsche will be moving cars in and out of the displays as needed. It is a decision that will undoubtedly encourage repeat visits and has little effect on the overall presentation.



With the exception of the vehicles on raised platforms along the walls, nearly all of the cars are openly presented on the floor sans barriers or barricades. While one would expect the mostly all-white museum to bathe exhibits harshly, the overall illumination is soft. Each of the cars is spotlighted individually from overhead. This allows for excellent observation and scrutiny from nearly every angle (the pristine white floors encourage dropping to one knee to check out the suspension, brake and wheel details!). While all of the cars have been "restored" to working condition, this does not mean each is a sterile piece of untouchable art. Thankfully, it appears just the opposite. Compared to many museums with their mindless curators who find it necessary to erase history with a full ground-up restoration, Porsche has left most of its inventory with original race scars, paint chips, and blemishes. Get close enough, and you can even smell the oils and lubricants on the engines. It is an overall impression that reaffirms Porsche's passion for driving.




During our whirlwind tour, limited to just a couple hours, we crossed paths with some amazing machinery. These included the legendary Porsche Type 64, Porsche 356 America Roadster, and the Porsche 356 B 2000 GS Carrera GT (noted for an all-synchromesh gearbox in 1960). We stumbled over the Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7, and the 1200-hp turbocharged Porsche 917/30 (the most powerful Porsche of all time). The turbocharged street models are on chronological display, too. Sitting on floor-level turntables, the 930, 964 Turbo, 993 Twin-Turbo, 996 Twin-Turbo, and the current 997 Twin-Turbo rotate silently in unison opposite the museum's upper-floor steakhouse.




Each visitor will undoubtedly pick out their favorite, whether it is the street-legal Porsche 959, Porsche 959 (actually type 961) Paris-Dakar, Martini racing Porsche 935, or the sleek 911 GT1. Some of the more impressive concepts include the Porsche "T7" Type 754 (the 911's predecessor), the Porsche Boxster Concept, and the early Porsche 924. If you are not current with your Porsche history (or the German language), placards and audible narration via headset help guests navigate the expansive space, and add credence to Porsche's extensive motorsports history. Plan a whole afternoon to take it in – there is plenty to absorb.



Porsche spent a reported €100 million (about $130 million) on the new facility. Their significant investment has delivered a world-class exhibition to serve as a central hub for vehicle restoration, an extensive historical archive, and a literal Mecca for Porschephiles. The automaker expects 200,000 visitors to follow our footsteps and walk the monochromatic halls of the Porsche Museum each year. The chronicled presentation is engaging and well worth the small price of admission--even if you aren't a flat-6 aficionado.


All photos Copyright © 2009 Michael C. Harley, Weblogs, Inc. / Porsche Cars North America / Delugan Meissl

Travel and lodging for this trip were paid for by the automaker.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is it me, or, given the quality of the building, does $130 million sound like a bargain?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Combine this with the Mercedes Museum also in Stuttgart and it makes the trip worth it. The old Porsche was terrible and I have been looking forward to this new museum for quite a while. You can fly now from Atlanta directly to Stuttgart for around $500 and see both museums.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I got back from the same trip Franz described last week. Munich to see BMW, Ingolstadt to see Audi, Stuttgart to see Mercedes, and then was at the Porsche museum on Saturday (the first day open to the public).

        The Audi museum, while still interesting, pales greatly compared to the other facilities. Ingolstadt is out of the way, expensive, and the public transportation there was non-existant as far as I could find. If you're renting a car that isn't a concern, but as I was travelling by train, the cab rides from the train station to the hotel and then the Audi campus and back nearly doubled the cost of the day I spent there. And the museum is much, much smaller. The factory tour, however, was very entertaining. The English tour is only at 11am, but they offer German tours a few times a day. Porsche also offers factory tours, according to the girl at the museum, Monday through Wednesday. Something worth looking into ahead of time if you're planning on making the trip out there.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm planning to visit sometime soon, but I wanna do it road trip style. Me & a couple friends want to fly to Frankfurt, drive to the Nurburgring for a lap then on to the museums in Stuttgart, Ingolstadt & Munich. (Porsche, Mercedes, Audi & BMW... it'll take us a few days). From there it's a brief run through Austria then on to Switzerland where we wanna do the Davos to Stelvio run À la Top Gear. While in Italy we plan to visit Sant'Agata Bolognese (Lamborghini), San Cesario sul Panaro (Pagani) and of course Ferrari in Maranello. We found a tour company that offers a package to visit all three in a day. Provided we have any money left, we'll do some sight seeing and then fly home from Rome. We're shooting for August-September-ish.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Franz man that right there is like one of the ultimate Gearhead trips. I wish I'll be able to go do that someday along with the BMW M5 Ring Taxi
      • 5 Years Ago
      What? It doesn't look like a 911? Isn't that all Porsche knows - how to make Beetles?





      • 5 Years Ago
      Great. Old museum was rather small and not really attractive, OK, cars were incredible but there were not many of them. And finding the old place was a tough job. You can't miss the new one :-)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wait... I thought the Museum was scheduled to open in "late 2008"...

      Does this mean the museum will be open this June? I'll be there this summer, and if so, this is the best news ever!
        • 5 Years Ago
        It opened last week.

        - Mike
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wait...Chris Bangle...you design buildings now too! Hopefully there is a 65 year old lost squadron of B-17s circling over Germany that can find Stuttgart again.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Did someone really just say art for art's sake is never a good idea? Um...I'm no art expert but every art major/artist/expert has always given me the impression that art has no function. Therefore wouldn't that mean in order for something to truly be art, it would really have to be for it's own sake?
      • 5 Years Ago
      that is really a piece of art, but it doesn`t really fit in that working class atmosphere of the city area surrounding it.
      nevertheless amazing and looks really expensive.

      • 5 Years Ago
      I hope they didn't pay the architect much. That's a very, ah, creative building.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It doesn't look so bad.. just be glad it isn't in the shape of a 911
        • 5 Years Ago
        Dan is right. That building is just plain ugly. Art for Arts sake is never a good idea.

        Why give a company with such a classical approach to automotive design, such a faddish and already dated looking museum? Oh well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I like the design. It's unique and awe-inspirering.

        Makes me want to plan a trip to Germany... two museums and a famous track...

        Wonder how much it costs to take one of the porsche's to the ring.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm sure you could do better... maybe with some fake masonry or other things of great intellectual marvel. ;)
      • 5 Years Ago
      do they have a 917/30? make or break.
      • 5 Years Ago
      A friend of mine went.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is the boiler in the back room?
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