Motor Mouth Blog

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After-Hours at the Porsche Museum

Photo credit: Porsche Museum

By Carson White

“You know the Porsche Museum is closed on Mondays, right?” I did not know this, and grew concerned considering our tour was indeed scheduled for Monday. After attempting to confirm this with the museum, I decide not to worry about it. My tour was, after all, scheduled with Porsche’s Manager of Historical Archives, Dr. Landenberger.

As we arrived, on a Monday evening, I was glad to see people standing inside the museum’s lobby. The street intersection is expectedly filled with Porsche activity. A dark red Porsche 991 drives through the city in some sort of test guise that resembles mid- twentieth century aerodynamic testing. In the museum’s plaza there is a photoshoot with a model and, predictably, a Porsche. I tell the man at the front desk that I am here for a tour, and he promptly summons Dr. Landenberger to the foyer. Herr Landenberger, as one would address him in the native language, walks up and greets us. I quickly realize I’m in the presence of Porsche’s most knowledgeable expert on the brand’s history. He removes the balustrade in front of the escalator, motioning for us to ride up into the upper box, as”¨it appears from the outside, where the museum’s public display is held. An opportunity like no other is about to commence: an evening with the Porsche museum to ourselves, with the Porsche expert as our guide.

Porsche 959 Cutaway - Credit: Carson White
Porsche 959 cutaway – Photo credit: Carson White

Herr Landenberger leads us to the first exhibit: a small collection of Porsche’s earliest vehicles. While the late-19th-century electric-powered automobile is front and center, I was fascinated with the fire engine that is every bit a Porsche creation as the 959 in the background.

As Herr Landenberger tells us about the first few cars, it becomes apparent that the Porsches themselves may not be the art in the museum: but rather the story of each car. Additionally, each car is continually maintained in top drivable condition; a trait that Herr Landenberger told us of early in our tour. Not only are they drivable, but also each one is kept in top condition and is regularly exercised: some of the cars are even displayed with their current registration plates. As we walk through the museum during its closed hours, the staff casually makes some changes to some of the displays. Workers reposition a 904, and tangles of electrical cords mysteriously surround a 718 Formula 2 car.

As we walked further, staff casually sends the first 935 rolling down the floor’s gentle slope, before a worker jumps in and hits the brakes to stop it just where they want it. Behind the 935 is a 924 GTP LM that also gets moved, revealing some oil drips that have settled into the grout between the polished tiles. Yes, it is quite clear these four- wheeled vehicles do get driven.

Porsche 919
Porsche 919 “Heidi” – Photo credit: Carson White

Well, maybe not all of them. While I didn’t specifically ask Herr Landenberger, I doubt the cutaway Porsche 959 remains a functioning car. The cutaway – with each individual component handcut to make it appear as though the entire car went through a bandsaw – is perhaps the star of the special exhibit celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the 959 supercar. In the exhibit are also two prototypes; one the original “Gruppe B” concept car and a development prototype. The bodywork of the latter has all sorts of hand drawn notes, tape, and even a few entertaining drawings. I’m guessing the author of this doodle never anticipated his artwork to be on public display.

Porsche development prototype - Credit: Carson White
Porsche development prototype – Photo credit: Carson White

We walked past rally cars, race cars, and street cars, and some cars that don’t fall into any of those categories. Such as the VW Schwimmwagen; essentially a VW “Thing”- based amphibious car. However, this car’s exercise is now strictly limited to dry land: no

aquatic forays for this amphibian, as I am told. I was then surprised to be greeted by Sally Porsche’s smile; a face recognizable to anyone who has seen Pixar’s Cars. This too is also not a static display. We pass by the staggering collection of trophies and arrive at what is the final exhibit in the public museum: Heidi. Heidi is the nickname for the Porsche 919 that in 2015 gave Porsche its first 24 Hours of Le Mans trophy since 1998, a well deserved addition to Porsche’s trophy collection. Heidi idealizes the drivable trait all the displays share, wearing the thickest cloak of oil and rubber marks in the entire museum.

Collection of Porsche trophies - Credit: Carson White
Collection of Porsche trophies – Photo credit: Carson White

Herr Landenberger then takes us to our final stop: the Museum’s Classic Workshop. The Workshop is like any good shop: cleaner than most, toolboxes decorated with badges and stickers, and rock music playing from distant speakers. The upholstery section houses some newly assembled seats, and a freshly restored aluminum body is reunited with a wiring harness. Most of the mechanics are finished for the day, but a few continue to work as the rock music plays in the background. I don’t think I’ll forget hearing Herr Landenberger hum along to AC/DC rock music as Porsche workers restore and service a fantastic collection.

While the museum is impressive any time of day, Herr Landenberger made our visit truly personal. He has our respect and thanks for guiding us through the museum, and also for continuing to share Porsche’s stories with anyone who might ask and listen.

Porsche frame - Photo credit: Carson White
One of the Porsche’s in the workshop – Photo credit: Carson White

About the Author:

Carson White is currently an architecture student at Northeaster University, in Boston, MA. When studying abroad in Berlin, Germany this past fall, he received a unique opportunity to get a personal tour of the museum of a favorite car brand: Porsche.

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Some Tips on Leading a Road Tour

P1190700Should you find yourself charged with organizing and leading a car club road tour, here is a list of tips””based on direct experience””that might come in handy, Keep in mind this is for a low-key, relaxed, non-competitive tour”¦ you know”¦ five-max over posted speed and no timed checkpoints.

The cars

Unless it’s a come-one-come-all tour, be very specific about the type and vintage of cars that are eligible. For instance, it could be pre-1980 sports cars, all makes or Mustangs of any year. As to the number of cars, 8 to 12 is perfect. More than that and numerous logistical complications expand exponentially.

The route

Avoid the Interstate; choose scenic routes with nicely spaced points for rest stops, eating, gas and overnight stays. Check with DOTs in each state to get current info on road closures and construction. It’s also helpful to know where ethanol-free gas can be found”¦ there’s an app for that.

Daily distances

Try to keep the longest daily leg less than 300 miles, 250 +/- is perfect. Reduce it a bit each day. 150 to 175 miles on the last day is a good low-key way to end the tour. Try to arrive at each day’s destination about 3:30 to 4:00 pm. It gives people time to unwind, look around or hit the pool before dinner. 9:00 to 9:30 am is a nice relaxed departure time.


Everyone should have a charged cell phone and a list of other participants cell phone numbers. Forget walkie-talkies, most people don’t know how to operate them and they’re distance limited.


Have a AAA card and a clear policy on this. Is it “you’re on your own sister” or, “we’re with you to the bitter end?” I suggest rendering aid until it’s obvious amateur help is futile”¦ then it’s “call for help and meet us down the road.” Be sure to keep an eye on the ammeter as well as gas and temp. Electrical issues are numero uno in old cars”¦ especially with Brits.


First off, there is no law that says everyone has to eat together. Second, not everyone likes Thai food, or seafood, or BBQ. Allow people to partner up as desired and eat where and how they want. If possible, choose restaurants within walking distance of where you’re staying. There are downsides to banquet style seating. It can be a logistical hassle and limit restaurant options. It slows service (one end of the table is having dessert while the other end is still waiting for the salad), you can’t talk to more than three or four people anyway and it often adds a surcharge to the bill.


There are basically two types, modern and “historic.” Some people find old hotels charming, some don’t. As with dining, allow tour participants a choice and just have a “meet at such-and-such a time at such-and-such a place” for the next day’s departure.

One more thing

Avoid discussions centered on politics and religion”¦ too polarizing! Stick to telling funny self-deprecating stories, discussing the ride, the weather or “how about those Huskies – Ducks — Seahawks or (insert favorite team here).”

Now, enjoy the ride!

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The Days of Chrome and Hyperbole

Walt Tomsic

It may not be wine and roses, but I miss the days when cigar chomping, seer-sucker suit wearing ad men were in charge of naming stuff… particularly car stuff! Take this for example, the 1958 Buick featured 160 “˜floating’ chrome squares on its grill. Did they call it a “Buick grill?” How plebian! No, it’s the “Fashion-aire Dynastar Grill.”

In the realm of the overstatement, copy flacks were not about to be outdone. The sales brochure for the 1958 Pontiac proclaimed it to be “the boldest advance in 50 years!” I guess the writer never heard of George Patton or Albert Einstein.

Read the full article here.

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Robert De Niro cast as Enzo Ferrari in new film

Chris Bruce

In one of Robert De Niro’s early defining roles, he portrays a young Vito Corleone as a man climbing up the ranks of the New York underworld in flashbacks during The Godfather: Part II. Soon, we might see De Niro stepping into the shoes of a godfather from the Italian sports car industry in a biopic about Enzo Ferrari.

According to The Guardian, De Niro recently told an Italian newspaper that the film would go into production soon and would shoot in Italy. This project apparently holds a high priority for him, and in addition to starring, De Niro’s company is co-producing. It could be a while before we see the film in theaters because the script is still being written. We’re also told that Clint Eastwood might sit in the director’s chair, if he likes the story.

Ferrari had a life every bit as fascinating as many fictional characters with stints as a racecar driver, an engineer and of course a canny businessman. He also held a long passion for motorsports, which could make for some very exciting scenes. According to The Guardian, the film would focus on Ferrari’s life from around the founding of his sportscar company in the mid “˜40s through to his death in the late “˜80s.

With characters like Jake Lamotta in Raging Bull and Sam Rothstein in Casino under his belt, De Niro certainly has shown the chops to portray a larger-than-life figure like Ferrari. Hopefully, he has retained the clout to get the film finished, though. Similar motorsports biographies haven’t made it to the screen, such as the supposed Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise flick Go Like Hell or the Mad Men-inspired TV show about sports car racing in the “˜50s and “˜60s.

Click here to see the original post.


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