Chapter 5 – Porsche Factory visit and Porsche Drive.

Day 5 was only Porsche drive. Porsche factory I did on Day4, but I’ll keep it short anyways. I’m sure this is going to be a boring post.

I enquired about both Merc Benz and Porsche factory tours. Merc Benz replied me stating that they had stopped factory tours due to safety reasons. Porsche on other hand were very welcoming. It wouldn’t be wrong if anyone said that I spent some percentage of my time around Porsche.

From the Porsche Stuttgart site, you can email the Porsche factory tour team expressing your interest to be a part of their factory tour and the required language along with the date. They will confirm your request via a reply. Check here for more details.

Since they don’t allow camera inside, not even mobile phones….I don’t have a picture of Porsche factory or anything inside. Some quick facts about the tour as I can recollect…

  • Stuttgart is Porsche’s headquarters and they make all the sports car here. Some of the not so attractive models like Cayenne, macan and Panamera might be built and assembled in their other factories but even then the heart (engine) is strictly from Stuttgart. Every single Cayman or 911 is made in this factory and shipped out world wide, from wherever they receive an order.
  • The factory has 3 main buildings, the center one being the main assembly line and the parts + body shell are fed into the main assembly line from either sides.
  • It takes Porsche 5 days to build an entire car from scratch.
  • Porsche make 200 + engines and tests them in a single day. Each and every day they have targets mentioned on a board in the workshop.
  • Each engine goes through cold testing and if they find a leak or a failure in the engine, they take it out and repair it. Then the failed engine goes through cold and hot testing. Cold testing is where the system is pressurized at a set pressure above operating pressure and checked for its functionality and leaks. Hot testing is when the engine is run at a set rpm and all the systems are checked for its functionality and leaks. About the testing that I mentioned here, this is my best memory and I didn’t have a notepad to jot down some more info from that day. They also mentioned that the leaks are mainly related to some hoses or something very minor.
  • Some of the vendor supplied items may be excluded from the test since they are tested prior to delivery at the vendor factory. Probably Porsche makes sure that it is tested with a FAT (Factory Acceptance Test) certificate is my best guess.
  • Most of the repetitive works are automated. I’m sure everyone can guess that, but it is amazing to see a robot taking reference, measurement of the frame and then comparing it with the measurement of windshield which is held by the robot in other hand and then finally fixing the windshield. Everything happens under 5 mins, both front and back. Very impressive system.
  • The warehouse where they store the raw materials is quite interesting. Whenever the main computer receives a requirement in terms of raw materials, the red light over the rack where this material is available lights up. The automated vehicle aka robot goes there and picks it. There are a few people monitoring it but otherwise it’s all automated. The entire process looked very impressive.

The guides (2 of them) who came along for the factory tour were students doing part time job and were wonderful chaps. A five by five to them for being friendly and taking time to explain things to me. I had the weirdest of questions like ‘What pressure do you cold test your system?’ To which they didn’t have an immediate answer but finally managed to put a number, which is around 1.5 bars for the hoses, smaller stuff and around 7-10 bars for the engine block and the tougher lot. I’m not sure about how right or wrong it is, but the point is that they were bang on with their explanations. I would have loved to do their job. I think that is the coolest part time job to have.

So let’s move on with Porsche Drive now, which I have already posted. Read about it here.

Later that day, I went to Rhittersport chocolate museum. Unless you are a chocolate fan or you take interest in making of chocolates or reading about the vast history, I would recommend you to chuck this. The entry is free, but it’s quite a distance from Stuttgart. Actually it’s near Tubingen which is 25 kms away from Stuttgart.

I could have avoided it but no regrets. Coming back I spent some time at the Schlossplatz which is walking distance from Stuttgart central stataion. My friend was leaving the next day morning and hence we met up there to pick up dinner and our little BMW from Sixt at the 24 hr depot near central station.

 

Pic courtesy: Google search. Credits to respective owner.
Pic courtesy: Google search. Credits to respective owner.

There is a nice walk around the fountain, with a palace in front. It’s good to spend a couple of hours in the evening with your family or your loved one. Unfortunately I was tired from all the running around from the morning but still we managed to get some dinner and we proceeded to Sixt to pick up the car.

To my utmost frustration, for the 2nd time, I didn’t get the car I wanted. 😥 Despite of booking a manual geared petrol car, they gave me an automatic diesel. *sob sob*

Pretty frustrated, we drove back to our room in that generator powered car.


 

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Chapter 4 – The Museums

My aim : To not have another post describing about Museum visits. 


Plan : Porsche Museum, Mercedes Museum, Piggy Museum.

Actual: For once I covered all the places I planned for.

Porsche Museum

The Mercedes museum and Porsche museum are high up in the list of must visit places in Stuttgart. Porsche museum is close to Stuttgart and worth 2 hrs of your time. I’m not a great fan of vintage cars. Some people love classic cars, vintage cars but I really don’t take a particular liking to them. Porsche museum is more than just vintage cars. They have a collection of modern day cars, they have the cars used for Le Mans race, the GT cars and they also have a few accelerator pedals of their famous cars; step on them and hear the engine noise . The entry fee is 8 Euro. You get an audio guide which you can use to know about each display car.

Now let the pics do all the talking…’

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Rev machine!
Rev machine!
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One of my favorite modern day cars!!!

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Any guesses?
Any guesses?

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Mercedes Museum

As compared to Porsche Musuem, Mercedes has a much bigger museum. One can easily spend 3-4 hrs roaming around and listening to the audio guide. Their collection is huge. Again it is close to Stuttgart but in the opposite direction of Porsche museum.

Again let pics do all the talking…

worlds first engine
worlds first engine
A lot of old cars
A lot of old cars
Some more old cars
Some more old cars

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A racing car on a flat bed
A racing car on a flat bed. This is a special flat bed though. A very fast flat bed!
Same racing car with a race driver, who is without a helmet.
Same racing car with a race driver, who is not wearing a helmet. Guess he is Indian.
The infamous 300 SL with those Gold wings.
The infamous 300 SL with those Gull wings.

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Merc Arena. I think this is the home ground of VFB Stuttgart
Merc Arena. I think this is the home ground of VFB Stuttgart
Oh what a beauty! Never in this life time I'll end up in one of those....*sobs*
Oh what a beauty! Never in this life time I’ll end up in one of those….*sobs*
Guessing these should be wet tires, got treads.
Guessing these should be wet tires, got treads.
Finally, lot of cars
Finally, lot of cars

 

Piggy museum aka Schwine museum

This was a very different museum from the above two and most probably every adult and kid would enjoy going here. This museum is made up of small scale and large scale models of pigs. It is a very interesting place and smiles are guaranteed.

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These are some pics and there is much more to this place than these pics. It was a feel good place and despite I went there very tired, I could still enjoy Schwine museum more than the other two. The Entry fees is 6  Euros per head.

All the museums are very close to Stuttgart Central Station, each of them connected via local U or S bahns (trains). Please check the timings in the respective websites. Most of them are 9 am to 5:30 pm with Schwine museum having a bit more time extension.


 

Chapter Porsche – Because every other thing can wait

 

I had never driven a Porsche before, maybe I’ll never drive one after that day… but that day I was allowed to rent one for an hour, clock less a hundred kms. It was kind of a rental thing by Porsche itself.

For this I had to book a month and a half in advance. While searching for rental sports car in Stuttgart, I stumbled upon the website of Porsche and program called Porsche Drive.

Just a quick info, all the sports cars manufactured by Porsche comes from Stuttgart. The global production is from their factory in Stuttgart which itself is very impressive. The factory tour I had been to, calls for a separate post.

So moving on, I had booked for a Porsche Cayman GTS which is one of my favorite cars. The Cayman series are very close to my heart for some reason.

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And I screwed up royally that day as well, as usual, like every other time.

I woke up that morning pretty excited. At the right time I picked up my camera bag and left my room. It was an hour’s journey to Porscheplatz. I reached Porsche Museum and there is it is. Wrapped in blue, it looked an angel. If given a chance I would have licked it all over like little puppy. I had 15 mins more to go to the reception and give my credit card. The cost of an hour of pleasure time was 69 Euros. Bloody Expensive, but again refer to the opening line of this post. No regrets at all.

So all I did for those 15 mins were walk around and take pictures. I looked in through the windows and it’s not a manual gearbox. Sad. It must be a PDK gearbox, which people praise a lot. For me if it’s not a manual gearbox, it’s an automatic…whatever fancy name you call it. In all fairness, the Dual clutch gearbox like PDK, DSG etc are quick shifting and properly fun gearboxes unlike those sad gearboxes which we have in the name of automatics.

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Didn't even want to watermark them and ruin their look. Still the pic belongs to me :D
Didn’t even want to watermark them and ruin their look. Still the pic belongs to me 😀

 

Those large air vents...lordy lord!
Those large air vents…lordy lord!

 

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The pride of Stuttgart!!!

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But then I wasn’t allowed to drive this Cayman GTS…. 😥

The reason …. will soon follow.


(Read the next part here.)