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Time travel through Porsche's History

Stuttgart, 6th February, 2009

One of the greatest and most spectacular building projects in the history of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG was completed in December 2008: the new Porsche Museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. Located directly in the very heart of this unique sports car company so rich in tradition, the Museum serves to present the fascinating thrill and diversity of the Porsche brand to visitors from all over the world.

More than 80 cars are on display in the 5,600 square meter (60,250 square feet) Exhibition Area styled and designed futuristically by the Viennese architects Delugan Meissl, ranging from the legendary wheel hub motor of the Lohner-Porsche, the world’s first hybrid automobile built as far back as in 1900, all the way to the latest generation of the Porsche 911.

No less than 170 architects from all over Europe applied for the project before the architects of the Delugan Meissl office won the tender in February 2005. Construction work at Porscheplatz in Zuffenhausen started just half a year later and in November 2007 the body of the Exhibition Building was lowered on to three concrete cores, the first exhibits moving into the Exhibition Area not even one year later. On 8 December 2008, finally, the Museum was handed over to Porsche exactly on time.

Porsche expects more than 200,000 visitors to the Museum each year, so-called Theme Islands and numerous small exhibits seeking to present the “Porsche Idea” in all its complexity. Apart from the exhibition itself, the historical archives and the “transparent” workshop for historical cars, the Museum offers a wide range of catering services complete with a coffee bar, a bistro and an exclusive restaurant, as well as generous conference areas finished mainly in white, the fundamental color of the Museum.

The new Porsche Museum is also available as an event location for other purposes, for example for conferences, film screenings or concerts, quite independently of the usual exhibition activities.

The new building at Porscheplatz is located at a very important place in the history of German automobile production, since this is where the Porsche Design Office moved to from downtown Stuttgart to Plant 1 in Zuffenhausen back in 1938. In the same year the forerunners of the VW Beetle saw the light of day precisely here at this location, followed by the Type 64 Porsche as the ancestor of all Porsche sports cars, the legendary Berlin-Rome car, in 1939. Sports cars proudly bearing the now world-famous Porsche logo have been built here in Zuffenhausen ever since 1950.

The exhibition concept
The actual Exhibition Area is made up of a daring steel structure resting on just three concrete cores and appearing to hover in space, covering a span of up to 60 meters or almost 200 feet. Inside the Museum Porsche’s historical cars and some 200 additional exhibits are grouped together in a carefully planned and highly attractive arrangement.

The visitor is guided through the Museum by the history of Porsche products, conveying the Porsche Idea through characteristic features such as “fast”, “light”, “clever”, “powerful”, “intense” and “consistent”.

Proceeding from precisely this fundamental philosophy, Porsche to this date has created trendsetting technical solutions for elementary challenges in automobile production. Just how consistently and convincingly the Porsche Idea has been conveyed into reality also follows from the development projects carried out by Porsche on behalf of other companies, Porsche Engineering, the subsidiary responsible for such projects, taking on a firm place in the Museum through selected examples of its work.
The exhibition concept of the new Porsche Museum was developed by the specialists of the Stuttgart HG Merz architects’ office in cooperation with Professor Gottfried Korff, a specialist on museology at Tübingen University not far from Stuttgart. Through their concept the creators of the Museum seek “to present issues of great significance to the Company and, at the same time, to document the long history of Porsche in its products.”

Indeed, this interaction of product history, the arrangement of specific themes and the Porsche Idea provides a perfect trinity of highlights borne out, for example, by the Porsche 356 America Roadster built in the early ’50s. Weighing less than 600 kg or 1,323 lb in road trim, this is indeed the ideal testimony to the concept of lightweight engineering. At the same time the Targa Florio theme underlines Porsche’s outstanding achievements again in lightweight engineering, combined with the success of Porsche’s extra-light racing cars also highlighted by the plastic body of the Porsche 908 race car.

In addition to all this, the interactive mediatheque, micro-cinemas and mobile audio-guides offer the visitor supplementary in-depth information.

From the exhibition straight to the road: the “Museum on Wheels”
Porsche cars do not grow old. Instead, they become classics still suited in every respect for road use. Indeed, this is one of the secrets behind the success of the brand, which is also why the exhibits proudly presented in the Porsche Museum are always on the move, nearly all of the vehicles exhibited being entered regularly in historical races and drive events as Porsche’s “Museum on Wheels”. In 2009, for example, the 550 A Spyder will be making an appearance in the Italian Mille Miglia and the 356 Carrera Abarth GTL will be entering the Classic Adelaide in Australia. So instead of a conventional, static exhibition, the visitor is able to enjoy a constantly changing succession of cars with rarities re-arranged time and again.

Unique: the “transparent” Museum Workshop and the Porsche Archives
Porsche lives out its history – and customers live out Porsche’s history too. To ensure the highest level of care and maintenance for the brand’s historical cars, Porsche has established a special Museum Workshop where private customers are also able to have their classic cars restored. The visitor, in turn, has the opportunity to watch Porsche’s master mechanics and specialists working on all kinds of classic Porsches. For before the visitor even enters the exhibition, he will pass by the glass partition to the Museum Workshop, enjoying a truly unique experience of transparency offered the world over in this way only by the new Porsche Museum. The historical Porsche Archives with all its treasures has also moved to the new Museum and is partly in sight through glass walls from the lobby. After registering in advance, specialists and enthusiasts are able to visit the archives for their research on the history of Porsche.

The Porsche Museum experience: the Catering and Event Area
Apart from the Museum shop, the coffee bar and the bistro, the new Porsche Museum offers two further highlights – the exclusive Christophorus Restaurant and a special Event Area. Visitors reach the restaurant through a separate entrance and may therefore enjoy all the culinary delights and amenities also after the Museum’s opening hours.

Looking out of the guest area, visitors enjoy a truly symbolic view, admiring not only the cars in the Exhibition Area but also Porscheplatz and the Porsche Plant itself to be seen clearly through the glass facade.

This interaction of past and future clearly underlines the pledge of the Company to its roots. The third floor offers ample space for events of all kinds and size, providing an ideal setting for meetings, seminars, conferences, lectures, concerts and film presentations. This area is indeed highly flexible in its use, mobile partitions serving to adjust the Event Area to the number of guests. The Event Level moves on directly to a generous roof terrace. This spectacular location out in the open is reserved for special highlights such as car launches or particular presentations benefiting from the large dimensions and impressive space available.

Spectacular architecture: the “hovering” Museum
Ingenious ideas, fascinating technology and legendary cars certainly deserve an appropriate setting offered in perfection by the architecture of Porsche’s new Museum. And one thing is for sure: the building designed by Delugan Meissl is a genuine eye-catcher. Resting on just three V-shaped pillars, the dominant main body of the Museum appears to hover high above the ground like a monolith. This is the venue of the actual Exhibition, the Christophorus Restaurant and the Event Area with its roof terrace.

The basic building structure beneath the monolith houses the Lobby, the Museum Workshop and the Archives, the bistro and coffee bar as well as the Museum shop.

The two bodies of the building are connected by a partly glazed, dynamically angled stairwell and a lift. A double-level underground garage with some 260 parking spaces, finally, offers visitors appropriate convenience in parking their car.

The monolith and the basic building structure stand out from every perspective through their polygonous, avantgarde shapes as well as their various structures and window areas differing consistently in their geometry. The glazed front side of the Museum measuring 23 meters or 75 feet in height and proudly presenting the name “Porsche” faces to the north, proudly welcoming visitors and passers-by driving into town in their car. Hence, the architects have succeeded on the one hand in creating an absolutely outstanding highlight ranking unique in its environment and, on the other hand, in generating a well-balanced overall impression. “The new Porsche Museum creates a unique experience in space appropriately reflecting the self-confident attitude and the supreme standard of the Company through its architecture and at the same time bearing out all of Porsche’s dynamic character. Knowledge, credibility and a determined stance are just as much part of the Museum’s philosophy as courage, enthusiasm, power and independence. Every idea is seen as an opportunity to openly accept new challenges, to venture forward to the very limit, and at the same time to remain faithful to oneself. All this is to be reflected by this Museum”.

This is how the architects at Delugan Meissl express their dedication to the new Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. For it was this office from Vienna which in early 2005 won the architects’ contest for the development and construction of the new Porsche Museum in all its glory.

Welcoming the visitor as a true guest: generosity is seductive
The Porsche Museum welcomes the visitor with a generous gesture, the monolith opening up between the lower level and the street level to the generous height of 10 meters or almost 33 feet to enhance the broad open space of the area in front of the Museum. Having passed through the main entrance, the visitor will come to the Lobby leading on to the bistro and coffee bar as well as the Museum shop, the cloakroom and cash registers. The rising design of the roof on the basic building structure provides ample space opposite the entrance for a second floor where the reading hall of the Archives is clearly in sight. Moving up an escalator, the visitor enters the Exhibition Area in the upper part of the building covering an area of approximately 5,600 square meters or 53,800 square feet. Now he can decide whether to start his tour of the Museum in chronological order with the history of the Company prior to 1948 or whether he would like to move on directly to the main exhibition area a few steps higher, following the likewise chronological presentation of the Company’s history after 1948.

The Museum Exhibition

The journey in time through the history of the Company starts in the Porsche Museum with a truly outstanding vision: At the entrance leading into the Exhibition the visitor will immediately admire the body of the legendary Porsche Type 64, the Berlin-Rome car built back in 1939. The Type 64 is indeed the great-grandfather of all Porsche cars already boasting the unmistakable DNA which makes the sports cars from Zuffenhausen so unique the world over to this very day.

Even though this trendsetting racing car was never raced on account of the war, it was the first rendition of numerous features characteristic of Porsche to this very day: lightweight technology and aerodynamic design, outstanding performance, reliable technology, and that typical look so characteristic of a Porsche. Precisely these features of the Type 64 clearly bear out the Porsche idea the visitor will experience so visibly through numerous highlights and examples in the Exhibition.

The Type 64 not only welcomes visitors to the Exhibition, but also serves as the link connecting the history of Porsche prior to and after 1948, the year in which the first Porsche 356 saw the light of day. Symbolically, it offers the visitor the alternative to either focus on the Prologue all about the early decades of Ferdinand Porsche as an automotive engineer and designer or to start his tour of the Museum with the history of Porsche as of 1948.

The Prologue: Porsche before 1948
Ranging from electrical wheel hub drive on the Lohner-Porsche as early as in the year 1900 all the way to the start of Porsche’s own car production in the Austrian town of Gmünd in 1948, the “Porsche before 1948” Exhibition Area describes the activities of Ferdinand Porsche in individual episodes.

Apart from various engines, the visitor is able to admire the Austro-Daimler Sascha and the Mercedes Monza racing car. The re-start of the Company after the war, in turn, is borne out by the Type 360 Cisitalia Grand Prix racing car developed by Porsche and, accounting for a production volume of 21.5 million units, the probably most-built Porsche construction ever – the Volkswagen Beetle.

The final highlight in this Prologue is reserved for the famous Porsche “Number 1”, the first prototype of the Porsche 356 built in 1948.

The exhibits represent various milestones in the life of Ferdinand Porsche and, as a result, the visions which have shaped the Company and the brand over so many years and decades. The Porsche Idea accompanies the entire exhibition throughout the Museum: The chronological presentation of Porsche products following the Prologue guides the visitor in a clear process to the various theme arrangements focusing in detail on the Porsche Ideas and their practical results so typical of the brand. Ultimately, therefore, the visitor is guided through the entire Exhibition Level all the way to the final point on the Upper Platform.

The “lightweight” idea: the Porsche 356 America Roadster and the Targa Florio
The power-to-weight ratio of a vehicle has always been the decisive factor particularly in the construction of sports cars, that is the ratio between the weight of the car and its engine output. Precisely this is why Porsche has sought from the very beginning to reduce weight and ensure perfect lightweight engineering. This “lightweight” idea is highlighted by exhibits focusing on the Targa Florio, the famous long-distance road race through the mountains of Sicily, and underlines lightweight technology as one of Porsche’s core skills.

Racing in the Targa Florio, Porsche’s race cars were superior to the competition and thus highly successful mainly on account of their light and agile construction. Right from the start, the Porsche 356 America Roadster was the lightest Porsche of its time.

Another example of this philosophy is the extremely thin plastic-fibre body of the short-tail Porsche 908 Coupé built in 1968 and illuminated from inside, weighing a mere 130 kg or 287 lb.

The “clever” idea: the Porsche 356 B 2000 GS Carrera GT and various Porsche concept cars
Taking up all kinds of challenges in technology, Porsche looks consistently not just for a fast solution, but rather for the best conceivable answer. Hence, the idea of being “clever” is borne out clearly in all of Porsche’s engineering activities. Ever since 1971 Porsche engineers at the Research and Development Center in Weissach have been developing and optimizing all kinds of technical solutions, nurturing their love for technical details going back all the way to Ferdinand Porsche himself.

Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB), VarioCam valve management and the Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) or double-clutch gearbox are just some examples of these technologies developed by Porsche.

Another example also presented here is the Porsche 356 B 2000 GS Carrera GT already featuring an all-synchromesh gearbox back in 1960. This “clever” idea corresponds with other models presented as studies or concept cars, Porsche’s test vehicles and prototypes standing out clearly as supreme examples of technological innovation. And it is important to note that Porsche’s studies and concept cars are far more than just regular show cars of the usual kind. On the contrary – all of these cars are fully functional and come with innovations offering both practical benefits and technical feasibility al in one.

The “fast” idea: the Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Coupé and the 24 Hours of Le Mans
The central themes of the “fast” idea are the aerodynamics and ease of control a car is able to offer. After all, even the most powerful engine is of no use if the driver does not remain in control. Precisely this is why Ferry Porsche sought from the beginning to make his cars both easy to control and aerodynamic, thus achieving even higher speeds on the road.

Superior aerodynamics is indeed one of the decisive factors crucial to superior speed, the Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Coupé with its characteristic “ducktail” rear spoiler making its appearance in 1973 as the fastest road-going car in Germany, with a top speed of 240 km/h or 149 mph.

In motorsport the benchmark for speed is Le Mans. For only the driver and manufacturer with a really robust car able to reach a high top speed is able to win this legendary 24-hour race, maximum speed being the all-important factor – more than in virtually any other race – on the long Hunaudières Straight.

Thanks to superior competence in aerodynamics clearly confirmed by legendary sports cars, Porsche has scored numerous class wins and no less than 16 overall victories in Le Mans. One example is the overall distance record of 5,335 kilometers or 3,308 miles set up in 1971 by the short-tail version of the Porsche 917 at an average speed of 222 km/h or 138 mph, which remains unbeaten to this very day.

Perhaps the leading technical exhibit for the concept of “fast” is the Porsche 956 suspended in spectacular arrangement above the visitor’s head from the ceiling of the Museum, demonstrating that at a speed of 321.4 km/h or 199.1 mph this unique racing car can theoretically drive along the ceiling.

The “powerful” idea: the Porsche 911 Turbo 3.0 Coupé and the era of the Porsche 917
In the early ‘70s Porsche was more successful in motorsport than ever before, dominating virtually all competitors. Indeed, this also led to a new technical commitment within the Company, Porsche now developing the most powerful engines in addition to the best cars in terms of lightweight technology.

High-performance power units and their particular features are therefore the highlight of this part of the exhibition. In motorsport it was the Porsche 917, that outstanding power machine, which dominated events for so long and is proudly presented to the visitor in this area. A twelve-cylinder boxer engine stripped down to its individual parts serves as the exhibit. This generation of power units reached its climax in 1973 in the guise of the Porsche 917/30, a 1200-bhp turbocharged supersports and the most powerful Porsche of all times.

The technologies developed for even greater power and performance on the race track were subsequently carried over successfully to Porsche’s road-going sports cars, the turbocharged power unit soon hitting the headlines in the Porsche 911 Turbo presented here as the reference exhibit on the history of Porsche. The Turbo thus becomes the synonym of Porsche technology.

How is a Porsche created?
The question as to “how a Porsche is created?” is also answered right in the middle of this journey in time through the history of the Company: Reaching the central point on the Exhibition Level, the visitor is offered an insight into the Weissach Research and Development Center as well as the Car Production Plant in Zuffenhausen. In the process, cutaway models demonstrate how a Porsche is created, developed and built for the customer. The focus is on design, development and production, films and exhibits informing the visitor of development processes taking place in parallel and offering a good impression of how, through cooperation and networking, high-quality products may be developed to full production standard within a relatively short time.

The creative think-tank: Porsche Engineering
During his – or her – journey through the history of Porsche, the visitor will also encounter Porsche Engineering. Ever since Ferdinand Porsche established his Construction Office in 1931, Porsche has offered external clients a wide range of engineering services. Exceptional exhibits such as the rare Porsche Hunting Car built in 1956, the C88 concept car developed for the Chinese market in 1994, and the McLaren MP4 TAG Formula 1 racing car powered by a TAG Turbo engine made by Porsche emphasizes the sheer diversity of Porsche’s development activities for other manufacturers.

Other highlights to be admired are truly unusual constructions and technology concepts not even recognizable at first sight as typical Porsche developments.

The “intense” idea: the Porsche 959 Coupé and motorsport
The Porsche 959 Coupé, a genuine dream and supersports car built in the ‘80s, impressively conveys the passion of Porsche’s engineers. Conceived originally as a Group B racing car for use in motorsport, the Porsche 959 stands in the new Porsche Museum for the “intense” idea so typical of motorsport with all its emotions.

Motorsport is indeed the starting point for Porsche in the development and improvement of production cars, but also stands for success, triumph and emotion. The passion of the Company, its engineers, mechanics, drivers and aficionados the world over is indeed the essential factor and the fundamental difference borne out in more than 28,000 racing victories. Since it is impossible to present the thrill of motorsport through technical exhibits alone, not only legendary racing cars, but also emotional symbols such as the historical starter’s flag for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and more than 150 coveted trophies offer the visitor a truly “intense” experience of this idea.

The “consistent” idea: the Porsche 911 and its evolution
No other car the world over can look back at such a continuous tradition in design and style as the Porsche 911. Indeed, the 911 has been truly unmistakable ever since its introduction in 1964, regardless of the model generation and when the car was built.

Initiated by the current 911 Carrera, the “consistent” idea focuses on various design highlights of a Porsche.
First and foremost, the lines of a Porsche sports car are determined by consistent reduction to the essential – a philosophy carried forward over the years and decades from Ferdinand Porsche through his son Ferry all the way to his grandson Ferdinand Alexander. Taking models of the VW Beetle, the Porsche 550 and the Porsche 904 as examples, this area in the Exhibition highlights the design language of Porsche’s sports cars, the silhouettes of various models in the 356 and 911 range projected above one another exemplifying the closely related design of all Porsche cars.

This theme also presents the evolution of the Porsche 911 Turbo now in its sixth generation following the launch of the original model back in 1975. To clearly present this evolution, the various versions of the 911 Turbo are presented on pedestals turning in synchronized 90° steps and thus allowing a direct comparison from all angles.

Focusing on the present: “My Porsche”
Forming the final emotional highlight of the exhibition, “My Porsche” presents customer and cult cars in various designs on a kind of catwalk. The highlights to be admired here include a Porsche diesel tractor built in 1960 and a 911 Carrera painted by the famous Aboriginal artist Biggibilla.

Numerous model cars and toys relating to Porsche are also to be admired here, while that unique Porsche sound is presented in all its glory beneath three sound “showers”. As a result, “My Porsche” boasts the particularly close emotional relationship of countless enthusiasts the world over to that unique brand from Zuffenhausen.

The Museum Workshop and the Porsche Archives
Despite their excellent condition, the historical cars featured in Porsche’s “museum on wheels” obviously require regular care and maintenance in order to enter all kinds of competitions and events at any time. Precisely this is why specialists in the Museum Workshop prepare all historical racing and sports cars for their worldwide activities, conducting regular maintenance and carrying out repairs where required.

The same specialists are also at the disposal of private customers for the restoration of their classic Porsches, These include all road cars whose series production ended at least ten years ago, that is the 356, 914, 959 and 911 including the 964 model series, as well as water-cooled four- and eight-cylinder models.

These highly skilled specialists and mechanics do their wonderful job in public, instead of hiding behind closed doors: This is the world’s only Museum Workshop where the visitor is able to directly observe the work in progress, a glass partition in the lobby of the Museum offering a clear view of the Workshop.

Pooled skills: the Museum Workshop Team
The Workshop Team is made up of one master mechanic, three mechanics, an upholsterer and a customer advisor. Naturally they all have lots of experience with Porsche cars of all model years both in series production and motorsport. After all, it is also their job to correctly tune and set up the sensitive high-performance power units in classic racing cars such as the twelve-cylinder turbocharged engine of a Porsche 917.

To do this job with utmost perfection, the specialists benefit from the most advanced tooling and equipment with two car hoists, lathes and milling machines enabling them to carry out virtually all service, repair and restoration processes. And if necessary they are able to rebuild even simple mechanical components.

Minor body repairs are also handled here, while the Workshop Team has full access to Porsche’s entire infrastructure for all ongoing work and requirements.

Porsche’s memory: the Historical Archives
The new Porsche Museum also houses a Central Department offering all the historical and contemporary knowledge about Porsche. Indeed, it was only logical for the Historical Archives of Porsche AG to move into the Museum, directly above the Museum Workshop.

Acting as the “memory” of the Porsche Group, the Porsche Archives collect all important information relating in commercial, technical, social or cultural terms to Porsche AG and its subsidiaries. The Archives maintain all knowledge, facts and figures of significance throughout the unique story of Porsche’s success, ranging from the early days of Ferdinand Porsche as an automotive engineer through the Construction Office established in 1931 all the way to Porsche AG as the Company exists today.

The Porsche Archives now extend along a total distance of approximately 2,000 meters or almost 6,600 feet, spread out on shelves, displays, steel cabinets and even vaults.

Conducting research on the spot: open also to visitors
The Historical Archives with all its sources is at the disposal not only of the Company’s own internal departments, but also of visitors and interested parties from outside the Company. So after registering in advance, journalists, scientists or owners of a classic Porsche are able to conduct their own personal research in the Archives’ reading area.

Events and Catering
Apart from the actual exhibition, the new Porsche Museum also has an exclusive Event Level as well as a truly versatile range of culinary highlights tailored to the individual wishes and preferences of Porsche’s guests. So whether it is a special cup of coffee, international snacks or the most exclusive cuisine – the Porsche Museum offers the right choice for everybody.

This in-house catering service is run by the Porsche Dienstleistungsgesellschaft (PDLG), Porsche’s Service and Catering Company.

Right from the start when entering the lobby, the visitor may go straight to the coffee bar or to the “Boxenstopp” Restaurant for guests, enjoying fresh meals in a friendly environment together with his or her family, friends or colleagues.

Wining and dining with a unique view: the Christophorus Restaurant
The Christophorus Restaurant on the second upper floor is on the same level as the Exhibition and is therefore accessible both through the Museum and through a separate entrance, that is beyond the regular opening hours of the Museum itself.

The Restaurant seeks to offer the highest standard of culinary excellence, enabling the gourmet to enjoy both Mediterranean and regional delicacies as well as the most exquisite wines. A particular highlight on the menu is US prime beef grilled fresh right in front of the eyes of the guest by Porsche’s very best chefs. And after visiting the Restaurant, the satisfied connoisseur may then enjoy the rest of the evening in the adjacent Cigar Lounge.

Looking through the generous glass facade, guests in the restaurant enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of Porscheplatz and the production building where Porsche sports cars and engines are built. And looking through another glass wall separating the Restaurant from the Exhibition, guests also have the opportunity to admire the various cars on display in the Museum itself.

For very special events: the Event Level
The third upper level in the Museum is available for all kinds of events varying in both nature and size. On an area of 600 square meters or almost 6,500 square feet, the Event Level offers the most advanced media technology for meetings, seminars, conferences, lectures, film presentations or concerts.

The facilities and equipment available include video-conferencing technology, large screens, interpreters’ booths and special-effect loudspeakers. Mobile partitions allow individual adjustment of room size depending on the number of guests attending an event. And a particular attraction of great interest is the 800 square meter (8,600 square feet) roof terrace which may be easily integrated in the Event Area.

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