mercredi 30 septembre 2015

Is this secret warehouse what Porsche heaven looks like?


Imagine a place where the entire Porsche songbook, from 1948 to 2015, is represented in front of your eyes. At the Porsche Museum’s ‘secret’ warehouse, where the illustrious marque’s heritage cars are stored, that thought becomes a reality. We sent photographer Rémi Dargegen to investigate…
You don’t need to be a Porsche enthusiast to appreciate the Stuttgart marque’s ‘secret’ warehouse, just a few streets from its famous museum. To wander around the vast building, with significant cars shrouded in matching covers lined up with typical German precision, or stored on shelves like Dinky Toys, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

Back to school

It’s also a history lesson – every model that the company has produced (except a few racing cars, which are retained at the racing department in Weissach) is kept and maintained here, ready to run in races or demonstrations around the world. 

The complete catalogue

It’s difficult to know where to start with such an expansive inventory. “Everything is here,” says Dargegen. “Both the street and Paris-Dakar versions of the 959, 356s ranging from the early Gmünd cars to the later Carrera 2, all the Le Mans ‘legends’ and, of course, the complete evolution of the Porsche 911, from 1963 to the present day.” Think of Porsche at Le Mans and, depending on your age or interests,  the 904 GTS, Derek Bell howling down the Mulsanne in a Rothmans-liveried 962, or even Nico Hulkenberg on his way to winning in the 919 Hybrid, on his debut just this year, might spring to mind. 
Of the 911, the world’s most famous sports car, every variant is represented, from the early 911 S, through rarities such as the 964 Speedster and the 997 GT3 RS 4.0. Elsewhere, there is the IMSA 961, the ill-fated Formula 1 and 2 models, and both the 718 RSK and WRS. And that’s still not everything covered. 

Not just the greatest hits...

It’s the unexpected (and frankly weird) concepts, mules and prototypes that are particularly interesting, plus very rarely seen: cars such as the four-seat 1970s 911, the motor show ‘cutaways’ or the sole 965, which was conceived as a ‘baby’ 959 but sadly never made production. 

Untouched, unspoilt

“These cars are left in totally original condition, just as they came back from testing in California, or the Geneva show stand, or the Nürburgring or Le Mans,” comments Dargegen. “To explore this hidden treasure trove is to begin to truly understand the Porsche legend.”

The collection’s raison d’être

The very best thing about this Aladdin’s Cave is that almost all the cars are still driveable. “This is where the Porsche Museum excels – it really is a rolling museum. Every day, cars are arriving from the museum, or departing for exhibitions and races around the world," such as the forthcoming Rennsport Reunion in Monterey from which Classic Driver will be reporting.
“Among the very few specific cars that are not demonstrated, but preserved in their original condition, is the 1971 Le Mans-winning 917K, whose magnesium body is particularly fragile, and whose engine has not been started since it crossed the finish line that day.”

Every cloud...

Unfortunately, the warehouse is not accessible to the public and probably never will be. However, owing to the constant turnaround and Porsche’s pride and investment in its heritage, a large proportion of the cars can be seen in special exhibits at the Porsche Museum, or in action at historic motorsport events throughout the year. For now, let Rémi’s stunning gallery perpetuate the fantasy. 
Photos by Rémi Dargegen for Classic Driver © 2015
In the Classic Driver Market, there are currently more than 900 classic and modern Porsches listed for sale, including over 600 911s and a variety of racing cars. If you assembled them all together, you’d have a collection that would certainly rival that in the secret Porsche warehouse.

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