Some of the world’s best known car brands originate from Germany – Mercedes Benz, BMW, Porsche, Volkswagen and Audi and now even three of the classic British marques – Bentley, Rolls-Royce and ‘the Mini’ have become German owned marques. There is also the Trabant (Trabi) – the little 500cc later 600cc East German Car built with a plastic body and 2 stroke engine that was manufactured from 1957 to 1991, with something like a cult following and marques like NSU with its revolutionary Wankel Rotary engine that have disappeared into the pages of history.
In many ways cars and engineering have become symbols of German Technology and development.
The Volkswagen, VW symbol was famously attached to some of the all-time classic cars that gained their own distinct personalities too – the VW Kombi van and the VW dub Beetle, the people’s car both becoming two of the most recognizable cars in the world, the Kombi, a symbol of ‘freedom of the road’ and the Beetle challenging convention with its rear mounted engine and distinctive shape and sound too.
The German Car industry is today even stronger than it was in times past, but that is not to say that it does not have great competition coming from car makers in France, Japan, Korea, United States, China, India and other countries, with manufacturing of cars now located in many other countries too from Mexico, to Brazil, South Africa, Thailand and beyond.
Many of the great marques of the past have either vanished or been merged into one of the bigger automakers with a new frontier of transport emerging with electric cars, driverless cars, drone development, the IOT (Internet of things) all likely to change the way that we gain and use transport, and particularly vehicles that we would normally describe as “cars”.
In Germany there are a number of museums that are dedicated to specific marques and some of these are specially interesting and beautifully set out.
If you have a passion for cars, driving on the German Autobahns or even just general interest in cars and engineering, then Germany is the country to head to –
One of the great things about Germany are the Autobahns that crisscross the country. Many of these have no speed limits so that means being extra, extra careful when you change lanes while driving. You might be doing 100 kilometres an hour, but another car in the inner lane may be travelling at 240 kilometres an hour. There are also masses of trucks, most staying in the truck lane, and there are sections of the Autobahns that do have Speed Cameras and Average Speed cameras too.
Germans have voted not to have toll roads, whereas in France there are many, so if travelling from the north to the south of Europe, it will be a lot cheaper travelling through Germany than it is through France.
All of the museums above a great to visit, so I hope you enjoy seeing one or more of them, depending on your interests.