Would you like automotive culture?
National Automuseum – maximum diversity on four wheels
The car is more than horsepower ostentation at the regulars’ table. A great deal of fascination often arises when aesthetics and technology combine to form a set of wheels. Automobile history is told in appropriate museums – and Germany now has one more of that: the National Automobile Museum in Hesse.
Today, ntv.de is not out and about to describe or find out about a specific car model. Today, automotive culture is on the agenda. Car museums are the keyword. And there are plenty of them throughout the country – from the Wolfsburg Autostadt in the north to the Mercedes and Porsche factory museums in Stuttgart and the Munich BMW Museum in the very south of the republic.
And then there are the multi-brand museums here and in neighboring countries, where talking about petrol is twice as much fun as anywhere else. At least. As if there were the Louwman Collection in The Hague, where among the hundreds of exhibits is one of the first Toyoda AA from the 1930s (the company was later called Toyota), in an architecturally no less exciting building.
One of the largest Bugatti collections resides in the halls of the Schlumpf collection in Mulhouse, Alsace – but there are also hundreds of cars from other manufacturers. And again further north, namely in Einbeck in Lower Saxony, Karl-Heinz Rehkopf shows what effects it can have if you are able to let your passion for collecting run free: Here, a collection comprising hundreds of exhibits is given thousands of square meters of space to unfold. An old granary, which has long been lovingly restored, was the starting point, while several depots distributed throughout the city now serve as homes for the vehicles on display.
And now car enthusiast Friedhelm Loh is coming around the corner with a message similar to that of Karl-Heinz Rehkopf. The message of the two museum founders is that they want to share the joy of cars with many people – that may distinguish these two museums from many others. And while I already know the PS.speicher quite well, I set off for the first time in the Dietzholz valley in central Hesse. And just like Einbeck, the community, which has fewer than 6,000 souls, is so rural that the journey along winding country roads past picturesque places is really fun and encourages you to arrive in a special car.
150 cars from 55 different manufacturers
What follows when you step through the front door of the building, which looks rather functional from the outside, is quite impressive. Especially since the name “National Automuseum”, which Friedhelm Loh’s team chose for this place for car enthusiasts, is misleading. The association could arise that only local brands would appear here. But far from it – because the currently around 150 exhibition vehicles come from 55 brands from 10 countries. And it is precisely this mixture that makes a visit so exciting.
Anyone who strolls through the halls, which are sophisticated in terms of interior design, will be amazed. And by no means just because the outrageously expensive Duesenberg from the pre-war era is standing here, as well as a number of exotic small cars from the 1950s from brands à la Gutbrod or Kleinschnittger. Modern hyper athletes such as Bugatti Veyron and Mercedes-AMG Project One or racing drivers from Formula 1 and Formula E are also at the start. But also because the vehicles are staged in an exciting and unusual way. Vehicles are hanging from cranes, standing in high racks or on the built-in banked curve.
Large repertoire of highlights
Would you like a few more highlights? Kennedy’s Lincoln Continental or the Maybach one-off Exelero. Bugatti Type 57 Atalante or Porsche 917 K. Even the Ferrari GTO from the former property of the Asterix draftsman Albert Uderzo awaits curious visitors in the exhibition. Various catering facilities sweeten the visit to the museum in the truest sense of the word.
By the way, Friedhelm Loh does not go far enough with the concept of a pure vehicle collection. He would like to turn the location into a place for research and teaching. A car museum as a university campus? Forensic scientist Professor Dr. Jochen Buck teaches expert knowledge at the Nürtingen-Geislingen University for Economics and Environment and is planning to hold lectures on the premises of the National Automobile Museum – preferably live on the object.
Not a bad idea at all, because many courses touch on the subject of automobiles, whether they are technical or economic disciplines. And teaching in the museum would certainly not feed the first bachelor’s or master’s thesis that is being written in the field of automotive industry, design science or technology history.
What remains but the way back with a slight grin on your face? Maybe the information that the exhibition will open to everyone from July 23 and can be visited during the day from Wednesday to Sunday. And of course the prospect that ntv.de will report in more detail on one or the other exhibit in the near future. You can be very excited.