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Porsche Museum: special exhibition celebrates 75 years of Porsche sports cars

Special exhibition ‘75 Years of Porsche Sports Cars’, Porsche Museum, 2023, Porsche AG
Special exhibition ‘75 Years of Porsche Sports Cars’, Porsche Museum, 2023, Porsche AG

The Porsche Museum is inviting visitors to take a journey through 75 years of Porsche history with its most comprensive exhibition to-date, covering present and future topics, inspirational people and trailblazing technology.

Dreams change the world. This has always been the case. Ferry Porsche once dreamed of a car that didn’t yet exist, so together with his team he built it himself. The Porsche 356 ‘No. 1’ Roadster launched both the Porsche brand and what would become the Porsche legend. Seventy-five years ago, on 8 June 1948, the car received its general operating permit. The highlight of the anniversary celebrations for ‘Driven by Dreams. 75 Years of Porsche Sports Cars’ is the most comprehensive special exhibition ever laid on by the Porsche Museum. At its core is ‘Driven by Dreams’ – a value that captures the history of the company while transporting it into the present and the future. The exhibition, which runs until 7 January 2024, also shines a spotlight on the people behind the brand. People who, like Ferry Porsche, believed in following their dreams, in achieving great things, and in bringing even the boldest ideas to fruition: Dreamers. 

Because many dreams originate in the night and are endless like the cosmos itself, the Porsche Museum presents the protagonists of the special exhibition in the night sky.

“Like the universe, the Porsche company is dynamic and always changing. There is no standing still. With values like honesty, pragmatism and courage the brand has been developing innovations for 75 years,” says Achim Stejskal, Head of Porsche Heritage and Museum. “For the special exhibition celebrating the anniversary we’ve modified the museum more comprehensively than ever since it was opened in 2009. Seeing the feats of engineering and the many ideas from the past 75 years, and using them to shape the future, makes the importance of heritage more topical than ever.” 

A success story all about daring to dream

“With this special exhibition we are opening up a cosmos full of dreams. When the guests arrive at the top of the escalator, they enter a place where dreams and thoughts are endless,” curator Iris Haker explains. On a journey through the Porsche cosmos, visitors can experience up close the evolution of the brand over 75 years of sports car history. “We’ve created themed displays that bring the cars and the content together to recreate the dreams and experiences of the decades in an exciting way,” says Ilona Hoppe, Exhibition Design and Management.

The whole museum is infused with a new atmosphere. Between the ‘prologue’ and the ‘epilogue’, the special exhibition covers many topics of the present and the future, with inspirational people and trailblazing technology, digitally animated. The newly created ‘epilogue’ shines a light on the current and future orientation of the Porsche company with highlight cars such as the Mission R or the Vision GT painted by the artist Vexx on rotation. 

From the first Porsche to the latest concept car

The journey through the Porsche cosmos begins with the Porsche 356 ‘No. 1’ Roadster and its new media presentation. A ‘dream belt’ connects the founder of the Porsche brand, Ferry Porsche, with his dream car and during the process, the model is presented within a special setting. On new walkways, guests on the exhibition level are immersed in stories about pioneering spirit, feats of engineering and courage. 

While the Zuffenhausen site was growing in the 1950s, Porsche was thinking about exporting the 356 model to the US. Max Hoffman, the sports car manufacturer, turned out to be the ideal partner for the project. Franz Xaver Reimspieß designed the crest that would go on to become a timeless trademark. The first clubs were also founded, in which enthusiasts could share their passion for Porsche sports cars. In the 1960s the iconic 911, which celebrates its 60th birthday this year, was the focus of everyone’s attention. Visitors not only encounter exciting facts about the iconic model but can also witness the evolution of its design. Among the highlights of the special exhibition is a drawing of the 911’s predecessor, the 901, while the many potential names for the first prototypes are revealed. 

At Porsche, innovative concept cars have always laid the groundwork for the future. The sports car manufacturer is continuing this tradition with its latest concept study, Mission X. This is a spectacular reinterpretation of a hypercar, with Le Mans-style doors that open upwards to the front and a high-performance, efficient electric powertrain. For the first time, Porsche is presenting this dramatic-looking two-seater to a wider audience at the Porsche Museum from 20 June to 2 July 2023.

The motorsport of the past and the electrification of the future

In the section dedicated to the 1970s, visitors are introduced to dreamers such as Porsche engineer Norbert Singer, legendary racing driver Hans-Joachim Stuck and entrepreneur Louise Piëch. A display case on ‘100 years of the 24 Hours of Le Mans’ celebrates the endurance race on the Sarthe with exhibits such as a lap timer, a helmet, and models of the 917 and the 956. The following decade sees the focus shift to the Porsche 959 as a technology showcase. Guests on the exhibition level can also discover more about the transaxle design and enjoy exhibits such as a TAG Turbo engine and pop-up headlights. The 1980s also include the story of ‘Monoposti at Porsche’ for interested visitors. 

The next decade, the 90s, got off to a gloomy start for the sports car manufacturer. Sales figures went into a steep dive and Porsche was in danger of becoming a takeover candidate. CEO Wendelin Wiedeking made changes that included revamping production processes and prompted an upturn in the company’s fortunes. The Boxster was a hit in Detroit as a study, and shortly thereafter as a series-production model it manoeuvred the company out of its crisis. In the 2000s, ground was broken in Leipzig as the existing plants in Zuffenhausen and Weissach continued to grow. 

Rally legend Walter Röhrl tuned the Carrera GT, series manager Klaus-Gerhard Wolpert dared to launch an SUV at the turn of the millennium, and Achim Stejskal opened the new Porsche Museum in 2009. In the 2010s, Porsche saw the transformation of the motorcar industry and its electrification as an opportunity for further development. Four years separated the presentation of the Mission E concept study and the start of production of the Taycan. The limited-edition 911 R model received a lot of attention, the 991-generation 911 was a big hit with Porsche enthusiasts, and Marc Lieb and Timo Bernhard won important races for the brand. This decade, the 2020s, has been characterised by Porsche finding new paths, and by anniversaries, art and electrification. As an all-electric sports car, Mission R represents the future of customer motorsport, and the Sonderwunsch department continues to make many dreams come true. 

Porsche supports exhibitions in neighbouring countries

The’75 Years of Porsche Sports Cars’ celebrations extend much further than Germany. From 23 June, the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne is staging an exhibition for the 75th birthday. With around 600,000 guests every year, it is Switzerland’s most-visited museum. There, in addition to various exhibits on loan, the Porsche Museum will also display its Driven by Dreams heritage truck, which has been specially designed for the anniversary year. 

The anniversary of the sports car manufacturer will also be celebrated at an altitude of 2,369 metres in the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse Museum in Austria. Running for 48 kilometres and including 36 hairpin bends, the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse is one of the most beautiful panorama roads in the world. The exhibitions cover topics such as heritage, environmental protection, art, motorsport and innovation, which are of central importance to Porsche. For each topic there are three ‘dreamers’ representing the past, the present and the future, as well as cars and other exhibits relating to these trios. Visitors are introduced to the visions of 40 further dreamers whose quotations and realisations of their dreams add to the experience of the installation.

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