On the way to Glemseck we found out that Zuffenhausen was only a few miles away from our destination. and being this the birthplace of one motorsport giant we decided a trip to the museum was absolutely mandatory.
We're speaking of course of the new incredible Porsche Museum, located next to the actual Porsche factory. Here, in a futuristic building, you can have access to all the heritage of one of the biggest names in automotive industry.
The museum structure is based on a polygonal spiral that, from the bottom to the top, shows the history of this brand: from the eraly prototypes to the serial hybrid-powered Le Mans winner.
The total collection is beyond 300 cars but the Museum is able to show "only" 80 of them so more than ione visit is needed to see all those goodies in the flesh. Most important thing: almost all the cars are kept in perfectly running conditions!
The first part of the tour focuses on theoldest experimental vehicle that were created before the brand grabbed its actual reputation. Tractors, open wheel racers, firemen trucks, limos ecc.
Then a beautiful hand-crafted 1938 Type 64 Vw Aerocoupe aluminium body steals the scene.
Its streamlined body, along with the continuous shape obtained using wheel covers, makes it look like a cloud, a space ship. The lines of the beetle and future Porsches are just visible through the overall form.
Next to it an iconic 1st gen Kafer.
A true rarity is the Porsche Type 360 Cisitalia, an open wheel racer that was too hard to build and develop and lead Cisitalia to bankruptcy.
It was powered by a two stage superchargered 1500cc flat 12 Auto Union engine capable of +300 km/h.
It was a project really ahead of its time and that's way it didn't work. Nevertheless it rapresents a masterpiece and a milestone in automotive engineering.
Then a gorgeous 356 "Number 1" appears in all its flawless shapes. This was the first design with a mid-mounted engine: the production version had to share more parts from VW and was altered in its structure and finishing.
Going on in the visit we found this super gorgeous 356-2 from the year 1948. This strange colour makes her stand out even more.
She sits near another masterpiece like the 1950 356 Coupè "Ferdinand" dressed in liquid-like ultra deep black paint. The mix of refelctions generated by those curves can grab your eyes for hours.
One of the cutest racing cars ever produced, this 356 SL is exposed without the wheel covers that made it famous in the fifties.
As you would imagine this museum is the most complete archive about Porsche racing history so it's easy to get into models you've never heard about. Like for example this 356 B 1600 GS Carrera GTL Abarth.
This car was created by Abarth when Porsche wanted to create a lightweight raving version of its 356 that could keep up with the more and more effective competitors. The italian factory was able to shave more tahn 50kgs from the stock model.
It was a very succesfull racecar in the sport category but the deal was closed after 20 GTL (Lightweight Gran Touring) because Porsche's target was to develop these project in house.
The 550 Spyder is really an iconic car with its super-light and super-low design: only 590 kgs that gave great performances to a machine with "only" 110 hp.
The 550A was the racing version used in the very popular road-racing sector for all the fifities.
550 A Spyder
Lightweight construction was the leit motif for Porsche those days (and still is akey factor for their succesfull cars) so that's why you can see this 908 Bodywork exposed in all its (few) 130 kgs
This first part of the Museum is filled with these early projects of sports car all based on the 356 chassis. Last of these is a356B 2000GS CarreraGT with its unique roof line designed to reach better aerodynamic performances.
The game changer is the 904 Carrera GTS, a mid-engined sports car that embodies all the experienzes and skills learned in the previous 15 years. It could house flat 4, flat 6 and even v8 engines depending on the type of race.
The same evolution can be seen on the road-spec projects like the 901 2.0 coupè, the predecessor of the reknown 911. It has to be considered like a "practice run" before the launch of the 911.
The 908 was the evolution of the 904 and featured a whole new design, more aero-oriented and created to house engines with the full capacity allowed by the rules.
The 909 Bergspyder has been by far one of the biggest surprises in all the display. There wew lot of cars i didn't hear of but this was in a league of its own. First for its look that is unbelievably compact and nice, then for its tech sheet.
It was built specifically for hillclimb racing so its main features are lightness, balance and power. It was pushed by a 8 cilynder boxer engine capable on 275 hp, not a huge number by itself but very remarkable when you think this car only wighted 375 kilos!
Don't be fooled by the smooth and simple line because this car was a real hell to drive and almost all the drivers preferred the slower but safer 910. Ludovico Scarfiotti was killed in an accident testing the 909.
Then we come to the holy grail of Motorsport, the 917. It really is a masterpiece of racing design and beside some dangerous buildings features it granted Porsche lots of victories and contributed in building Porsche myth in endurance racing.
The 917 project was constantly evolved throughout its career so only a few are on display and they are periodically alternated in the visit path.
When we visited the museum there were 4 models: the 917k from Team Salzburg, the car that won the Le Mans 24h in 1970, the 917 LH - Langheck, long tail - in a Stunning Martini Livery that classified in second place the same year.
This version featured a longer e smoother body that was designed to reach top performances on super fast circuits like Le Mans: The rear wheels were partially covered and a huge spoiler was placed in the back.
Beside the LH, anothe super-iconic model was on display, although not being the most successful of the series: I'm speaking of the 917/20, or, as it was called at the time, Der Truffeljäger (the truffle hunter) or Pink Pig.
It was developed for the 1971 edition of the Le Mans 24h and the idea behind it was to maximize the aerodynamics concepts of the 1970. It was a mix of the short and long tail version with a shorter wheelbase and an increased width to add more aerodynamic surface.
The car looked clearly fatter and less clean than the standard model so Porsche decided to have it painted in an absurd pink livery with a meat cut chart to ironize on the car look.
Under the strange bodywork there wer some serious innovations: the engine reached 600 hp and the tube frames was built in magnesium to be considrably lighter than the steel but also more dangerous considering it is a flammable material. It was the fastest car in the 1971 Le Mans 24h practices but a DNF closed its super-short career.
Last but not least, the Martini 917K that won the 1971 Le Mans 24h: you can see some small differences from the previous year model, the two vertical fins being the most noticeable: they worked in granting more stability at high speed.