Hamburg, Germany - Within the beautiful Speicherstadt district of Hafencity, Hamburg lies the one and only automotive museum in the city located in a converted red-bricked warehouse – the Prototyp Museum.
The museum exhibits of some of Germany’s finest sports and racing cars that were developed during the post-war period. Privately funded to share the joys of motoring with people, the museum builds on the story of Volkswagen and Porsche based on the Volkswagen Type 1 (Better known as the Beetle).
The museum presents the motorsport in a very emotive way. From a mini cinema to an enclosed room with a surround sound system playing a selection of race and road car sounds, to a small library of books and materials for reference, and to a Porsche 356 racing simulator, the museum invokes visitors’ feelings and they make their way through the exhibits.
There are around 45 sports and racing cars spanning across various eras that are showcased across two levels including the history of some legendary drivers and the ingenious constructors should visitors have such an interest.
The 1939 Porsche Type 64 or the Berlin-Rome car is what most consider to be Porsche’s first automobile. With most parts coming off the Volkswagen Type One (Beetle), the car had a top speed of 160km/h from its 50hp flat-four engine. Just three were built and the museum has one. It's value? More than a few Bugattis.
The Denzel 1500 S was a former competitor’s car to Porsche. The manufacturer only made open-top roadsters based on the Volkswagen Kübelwagen.
The Volkswagen Schwimmwagen and Porsche 597 Jagdwagen – Like the Volkswagen Kübelwagen, these vehicles were extensively used by the German military during the second world war.
The race car that Michael Schumacher debuted in – The 1991 Jordan 191 Formula One car.
The Volkswagen-Papler Polizeikafer (Type 18A) was made specially for the Germany police from 1949. The Singapore Police ran some Volkswagen Beetles in the past, but I really think cabriolet police cars are way cooler.
The one and only Volkswagen Denzel WD Sport in existence.
A Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP-1 Race Car mock-up, similar to the one I last saw at a Porsche showcase in conjunction with the 2013 Singapore Grand Prix. The real race cars were specially developed for the FIA World Endurance Championship and for Le Mans, they were built for the challenge of putting tomorrow’s technologies through today’s toughest motorsports tests. With a highly compact, turbocharged four-cylinder 2-litre engine and hybrid system with two energy recuperation systems, the 919 Hybrid is capable of delivering in excess of 500hp and a top track speed of 340km/h.
The Audi R8R LMP Prototype was the prototype of the Audi R8R Le Mans Prototype race car developed for the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Just five Audi R8Rs would later be built, but the success only came a year later with the Audi R8 race car that brought podium finishes to Audi for the next six years.
The Porsche 904 Carrera GTS – Produced for just two years between 1964 and 1965 as a successor to the Porsche 718.
The Volkswagen Race Touareg 3 – Probably nothing like the road-going version, this race car was an off-road competition vehicle developed simply to take on the harsh conditions of rally raids at the Dakar Rally. The Touareg 3 subsequently snagged full podium victory at the 2011 Dakar Rally – quite badass until you realise it was only a choice of Volkswagen, or BMW.
Heading down a level in the converted warehouse, you would appear in another hall filled with special exhibitions of cars. For the time that I visited, I was greeted by some of my personal favourites – to my glee.
The precursor to the 997, the Porsche 911 GT3 RennSport (996) was the first iteration of the more track-focused version of the already track-oriented GT3. Pure N/A goodness with an official output of 376hp from the 3.6 litre flat-six.
The Porsche 911 GT3 RennSport (991) – Porsche launched the new 911 GT3 RS at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, the 4.0 litre flat six throws out 490hp and 469Nm of torque from a PDF gearbox. Fast is an understatement.
A Porsche 356A Speedster – A lightweight and nimble car developed by Porsche, expect to pay north of US$200,000 (or SGD$272,159 accurate as of 15th September 2020) for this 1.6-litre classic beauty.
Something on the cuter side, the Berliner Zoo Express was a miniature locomotive that operated in the Berlin Zoological Garden to haul up to 60 people in two wagons around the zoo.