Sunday, March 18, 2012

Meilenwerk - Exotic Car Lover's Dream

Stuttgart may be one of the best known German cities, but more so if you happen to be a "car person". Both Mercedes Benz (Daimler) and Porsche are headquartered here and some of their factories can be found in the area. Needless to say, the town is a car town and has a rich automobile history. I'm guessing that it's similar to the feeling that exists in the Detroit area. Well, about 30 minutes southwest of Stuttgart, in the town of Böblingen, is an old airfield hanger and terminal building that's been converted into a car lover's dream space called Meilenwerk:

The airfield was first developed and put into use in the 1910s. It was used through World War II and then turned into and used as an American facility after the war until fairly recently. The old airfield is currently being developed and you can see a massive Mercedes factory from the Meilenwerk property, which also serves as a reminder of car-centeredness of the area.

Meilenwerk opened in 2009 and is a sprawling facility that houses a car-themed hotel and conference center, exotic and historic car showroom and storage, car sales and service centers, and a restaurant. It's free to visit and the car collection is pretty amazing.

The idea for Meilenwerk is that car enthusiasts can come hang out, buy exotic cars and motorcycles, have those cars serviced on-site, and just generally enjoy the show. The photo below shows the service centers behind glass doors (they were closed as I visited on a Sunday), a boat-load of Ferraris, a Lamborghini, a bunch of other exotic cars, a fighter jet (yep, look again), and some other stuff:

Like I said, the "hardware" is pretty impressive. For example, just look at this exotic:

Nice. Huh? It's the type of place that my old San Diego MINI club would probably make a day of visiting. It's definitely a must-do if you're a car lover.

There was one especially unusual thing that I saw while there. Inside the men's room, there was a rack with brochures on it placed over the urinals. There were a couple that looked interesting but I didn't know if I should look while "there" or come back after washing my hands. I thought about it for a moment or two and then decided that somethings are better left alone and left without a visit to the library.

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