125 years

It’s a big year for 125 year anniversaries: Bosch, Coca-Cola, and the car are all celebrating them this year. I wanted a weekend off to catch up a bit and also go to the going-away party of another trainee, so I stayed in Stuttgart and did local touristy things. Four months after visiting the Porsche Museum, I finally made it to the Mercedes Museum and offered the entrance fee to the Museum as my birthday gift for the car.

First, though, I have to make a quick comment. Sometimes I pay attention to anti-skid designs on sidewalks and train stations (this was one I saw recently), but some of the ones in Germany intrigue me even more because they contain the letter “X”. (Wait a minute! My name begins with… X! Holy cow!) Off my letter fascination high, I’m not sure how effective these would be if it ices over or snows.

Anyway, back to cars (in a second, that is). Both the Porsche and Mercedes Museums seem to have a flair for architecture. Mercedes’ is a bit bigger, but the exterior of the Porsche Museum looks cooler to me. The Mercedes Museum is no slouch on the inside, however.

     

Okay, cars for real this time. Mercedes’ history was in air, land, and sea (hence the three-pointed star), and its museum also reflects more than just passenger vehicles. It also has buses and trucks and plane engines and boat engines, and… stuff, and it was even possible to walk through a coach bus! Those seats look mighty comfortable, but I can’t imagine that an actual tour operator would adopt such a large angle of recline. 30″ pitch and 5° recline is more like it. Oops. Still not a car.

Somewhere in this post there will be a picture of a car… and here it is! The Museum also has a room dedicated to public service vehicles (aside: OMG — Unimog has a museum, too. I need to go. See last paragraph.), and one of the cars was a Polizei wagon. In front of it was a speed camera. For all the flak they’re catching in the US, they’re quite popular in Germany. It is admittedly an interesting proposition: let the police do their real jobs and leave enforcement of speeding laws to machinery. I haven’t taken a side on the issue because I have no idea how well the technology works — in catching speeders but also in not falsely identifying non-speeders — but I am curious to see how it plays out in the US.

I keep promising more car pictures, but I’ve only got one more — and it’s not even of the full car. There were automobiles, too, of course — but I figure that if you came here looking for car pictures, you’d have just looked up the car pictures online. :-D I’m more than happy to post up pictures of the cars themselves, but keep in mind I’m not really qualified to offer any background on the cars as I post the pictures (I don’t know much about old cars). I have resort to finding displays that I think are interesting and try to capture them [typically poorly]:

Mercedes also apparently offered lots of fabric choices for its cars, including… plaid! In multiple colors, at that. Wonder if VW got their inspiration for the GTI seats from Daimler!

In between each floor (which serve as halls for a given time period) of the Museum, there were photographs and descriptions about world events in that time period. One floor showcased Mercedes’ contributions to safety. I thought it was neat that they listed the safety innovations of their cars on guardrails. How clever! Naturally, I took a picture that included ABS, but truth be told, Bosch was not the inventor of ABS: we were the ones to commercialize it.

And that’s all, folks. I thought the Mercedes Museum was really well done. It captured the birth of the car and of the brand, showed some beautiful cars throughout its history, and also acknowledged some of the other market successes that made the manufacturer what it is today. There were three observations I had after visiting the Museum:

  1.  What amounts to a Mercedes dealership is right next door and has every or nearly every Mercedes model available (including the SLS and select AMG models). Why would I go to an auto show to sit in a production car when I have close to 100 models with no line to wait in next to the factory and car maker’s museum?
  2. The Porsche Museum seems more for car / racing buffs than for the general public. If you aren’t interested in cars, you probably won’t find the Porsche Museum too captivating. The Mercedes Museum offers more than just cars and mechanical stuff (though naturally it’s the main attraction), so you might find it more tolerable than Porsche’s brand orgy if you aren’t a petrolhead. Me personally? I think I enjoyed the Porsche Museum more, but I liked the diversity of the Mercedes (see point 3 below): there’s a lot more to take in and consider at the Mercedes Museum. I wasn’t asking myself this question the whole time I was at the Mercedes Museum, but count the number of cars from pictures in this blog post and compare to those in the first European blog post and you’ll see that my interpretation of the two is different. (I should also note that I honestly wasn’t thinking of this when I wrote the posts, either — it’s just how I ended up portraying the two.)
  3. I really, really need to visit the Unimog Museum!

And tomorrow, a post about the random wanderings that I did on Sunday. I think I need to force myself to take a break…

125 years

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