“We ask that you not take any photographs of the outside of the building, or of the street, or that you say where this is…” said Porsche Museum leiter Alexander Klein.
This place was a secret and a pretty well-kept secret at that. You may know the public Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. This is not that. If you want to see cool old Porsches, you can see many, many cool race cars and production cars (and even a tractor) at the public Porsche Museum at Porscheplatzz 1, 70435 Stuttgart, Germany. We saw that place, too, on a recent visit, and it is well worth your time to stop by. The public Porsche Museum has everything from the 356/1, the very first 356 (and it is truly a thing of beauty), to race cars like the 550 Spyders, 917s and 962s, as well as modern production cars you may have lusted after. You may still lust after them.
But in all, Porsche owns 575 historic race cars, prototypes and early development mules that went on to become production cars, and it can’t keep all those at the public museum in Stuttgart. So it has about 300 or so cars at this secret warehouse in… well, we won’t say where. And we might not even be able to find it now; we went there on a shuttle bus and we were a little delirious from jet lag and dehydration.
But once we got inside, hoo baby!
We love the 908 and would love to drive one. Jerry?
The first thing you see are the race cars, which are parked near the front of the huge 9000-square-meter building (almost 100,000 square feet to you and me). There are 160 race cars here. Right there in front is a Jo Siffert/Derek Bell Gulf-liveried 917. Next to that is a Derek Bell/Hans Stuck/Al Holbert Rothman’s-liveried 962. Across from those is Jo Siffert’s 917-10 Can-Am in RC Cola colors. And a Gulf 908/3 from the 1970 Targa Florio. It goes on: A 906, a 917 with the prototype flat 16 engine that never saw competition, the 911 GT3R hybrid race car driven by American Patrick Long, Dan Gurney’s 1962 F1 car, Porsche Indycars stacked in wooden crates with plexiglass panels on the end so you could look in, and others too numerous to name.
But it isn’t all race cars.
“There are race cars, R&D cars, prototypes, all kind of steps from the first idea of a car and all the steps in between,” said Klein.
For instance, how do you make a four-seater Porsche? There was an early stretched 911 with back seats that look like they’d fit live adult humans, for one. There were some ideas that might have looked better than the current Panamera.
There was a 984 design study for a mid-engine roadster done 10 years before the Boxster came out. There was a 989 that ran around the Nardo oval with a 200-liter gas tank trying to set speed records.
There were rows and rows of 356s, 911s and 924/944/968 cars, some in prototype form, some in production trim. One section had 911s stacked in racks three high to the ceiling. There was a Cayenne convertible that could give the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet a run for its ugliness.
It’s all fascinating. And all very secret. Which it will stay.