Stuttgart and the Mercedes Benz Museum
After a week in Deutschland, the time for us to leave was almost upon us. Rather than fly back out of Frankfurt we booked our flights to London from Stuttgart, meaning a train trip and flying visit to another German city.
Unfortunately all we really had time for was the Mercedes Benz Museum. I can't complain too much, because the museum was amazing.
The history of Mercedes is really the history of automobiles in general, and their museum went to great lengths to provide context to the development and progression of their vehicles. Each level was dedicated to a particular era, and as you worked your way between levels the walls were filled with history.
Some of the more interesting history for me were early stories about the players in the field of automobiles, the names of whom I guarantee you'll recognize -- for example Ferdinand Porsche was the chief designer for Austro-Daimler, and the original Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) was co-founded by fellows called Daimler and Maybach).
Being a German company, and a large manufacturing company in the early 1900's, Mercedes-Benz was heavily involved in the production of arms during the world wars. The museum was very frank about describing the company's role during these years, including unflattering details such as the usage of slave labour. For me, the context about German life before and during the wars was a side of history I'd never really been exposed to before and was very fascinating.
But, onto the vehicles! From the first motorcycle ever built and the early Mercedes "chariots", through to the modern-day concept vehicles, the progression from engines on wooden frames to hybrid electric and F1 race vehicles was breathtaking.
Two vehicles that stood out for me were:
The 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Spezial-Roadster
The 1954 Mercedes Benz 300 SL "Gullwing"
The final section of the museum was mainly focused on their race vehicles, including a really nifty progression of their vehicles over time, and a really cool "expanded" F1 car.
For those that visit Stuttgart, the museum is definitely a "must visit" in my opinion. I would have loved to have had more time to explore Stuttgart a little more, but from the museum we headed straight to the airport for our flights to London.
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