Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Rev Heads Dream Location

The region of of France and Germany that straddles the Rhine River has been fought over for centuries, more recently because of the industrial activity that goes on in the region. So its no surprising that among the industries that are in the area, the automotive industry is one of the biggest. Names such as Porsche, Mercedes, Bugatti, Peugeot all have manufacturing plants in the area and for those interested in automotive history or manufacture there is plenty to see and do.
Museum Entrance
In Mulhouse, (pronounced Mal-oose in French) there is the Cite de l'Automobile which houses the largest collection of Bugattis in the world. Originally a textile mill and warehouse, the Schlumpf brothers started secretly collecting bugattis and other interesting cars and eventually turned part of the warehouse into a museum. However, controversy and scandal prevailed and eventually after a long battle the brothers lost control of the business and "retreated" to Basel to never return to France. Today the museum is owned by the council and houses an amazing collection of cars that trace the history of the automobile.

Bugatti Racing cars
Bugatti Royale
Bugatti Royale is very impressive, with an 8-cylinder inline engine of nearly 13 litres, outputting up to 300 horsepower. This power enabled the three-tonnes of automobile to reach top speeds of 200 kph, with fuel consumption of around 50 litres for 100 km.  This car, the “CoupĂ© Napoleon” was Ettore Bugatti’s personal runaround. It was owned by the Bugatti factory until it was bought by Fritz Schlumpf. 
Bugatti Veyron

Porsche Stuttgart
Getting an overview
The Porsche factory and museum is just over the border in Stuttgart. Here you can visit the museum, have a factory tour or even rent a Porsche for a few hours. Kevin has always dreamed of driving a Porsche 911 so this gave him the opportunity to cross an item off his bucket list. When we arrived we were given the Porsche 911 GTS in canary yellow to drive for an hour. With the autobahn just outside of Stuttgart it means you can really give the car a workout. A few weeks later when some friends from Australia, Kaye and Ian Swift, were in Strasbourg, we went back for a factory tour. This took us through the engine production and also the dashboard manufacturing section. All of these sections showcase the handmade aspect of the Porsche build. We also went to the end where the marriage of the chassis and the car take place. Certainly an interesting afternoon.
The smile on Kevin's face says it all

Kevin and Michael posing
Also in Stuttgart is the Mercedes museum and a number of their manufacturing plants are scattered around the immediate vicinity. We opted to do the tour of the Sindelfingen where the Maybach and the E and S class are made. I really enjoyed the body shop tour with all the robots "dancing" around doing their job. Around 200 cars are delivered every day from this factory. The site is huge and covers an area the size of a small town with 25000 people employed just in the factory. Buses are needed to transport workers from one section to another and dedicated buses take workers to and from their homes in the surrounding villages.

Our final car activity was a little further afield in Munich where BMW Welt is. Here we decided to hire an M6 Gran Coupe for a few hours and once again test it out on the Autobahn. Ryan and Kevin each got it up to just over 200kph. Kevin loved the heads up display and the navigation system but wasn't so impressed that he would rush out and buy one tomorrow. 
The three boys and the M6

As well as BMWs there was this rolls royce and Minis

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