The Swiss-born brothers and wool producers Hans and Fritz Schlumpf started to follow their passion – cars – in a more directed way around 1950 and acquired over the years an impressive collection of cars. Over 400 classic cars from all epochs are exhibited in the Cité de l’Automobile in Mulhouse in Alsace in France, and form the largest car museum in the world.
I had the opportunity to visit the museum in May, and view the overwhelming collection. Here are pictures and videos of my almost three-hour long visit.
At the entrance visitors are greeted by a collection of several hundred hood ornaments, which cover the serious to the whimsical. And especially: there are so many animal shaped ornaments, it’s incredible.
The first section of the collection is dedicated to the oldest vehicles from the automotive history. While they still look more like horse carriages, the slow transformation process into larger and more comfortable vehicles can be seen. And already back then we saw the race for who can build the faster car. And the first car to reach speeds over 100 km/h in 1899 is right there on display: the rocket-shaped “La Jamais Contente” (“The Never Satisfied”). And fun fact: this car was an electric vehicle.
When there is technology, there are also toys. And the museum showcases that with a collection of pedal cars of all brands and years. Where were they, when I was a child?
Aerodynamic designs dominated the 1930s. Some curiosities are also awaiting visitors, such as the Beetle with a Mercedes-Benz star. And yes, it is a car constructed by Ferdinand Porsche, which was commissioned by Daimler-Benz in 1937, but never went into production with that logo.
The luxury vehicles occupy their own exhibition hall, where the Bentleys and Rolls Royces are filling the space. Especially interesting are the interiors and little details.
The museum owns the largest collection of Bugattis, which is no surprise given the vicinity of the former Bugatti-factory in Molsheim in Alsace. And so much blue colors!
At the end of my visit, visitors can see not only a limousine for Chinese government officials from Chinese manufacturing, but also the parts of a Bugatti for close inspection.
Finally a short video of my visit, which gives a good impression about the dimensions of the museum and its collection.
This article was also published in German.