Nobody has more authority to talk about the history of the automobile than Mercedes Benz. Nott only that Carl & Bertha Benz manufactured the first serial manufactured car, the company’s successes in racing, standards in automotive safety, as well as the high quality and never boring designs make Daimler Benz an authority.
The Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart invites to to a walk through the automotive history without overwhelming visitors. In the futuristic Brutalism building visitors start their tour at the top floor – by taking nothing else than the silver arrow equivalent of an elevator – and walk down the spiral-shaped floors from the beginnings of cars over 100 years ago to the present and future.
There are quite some astonishing details revealed by the exhibits, such as the 113 kilometer long metal chain that was put on the ground of the Neckar river bed, which was used by ships much like San Franciscan cable cars use cables to move upwards, to the Daimler-Motor Waggonet, a people mover with benches which was used 1887 at the festival in Cannstadt.
Automobiles, as we know them only from old movies and the museum, with box-type passenger cabins or even had no roofs at all, can be found on the next level.
Buses, like we have never encountered before, amuse and astonish visitors. Like the one Mercedes bus manufactured and produced in Argentina with some elaborate and colorful paintings. Its English equivalent on the other hand seems too thin and fragile for staying stable in curves, always threatening to shake off its passengers.
Powerful cars from a time, where the mafia in Chicago used them to make their hit and runs, are shining with their chrome and steel glory.
A bus used by the Austrian postal service with a double axle in the back didn’t just transport mail bags. No, it was the post office on wheels. The bus offered space for four postal workers and counters, and even had an opening to drop mail. Details, details, details!
Different vehicles with different tasks, starting from measurement vehicles, police cars to the Papamobile for the pope from 1980 are assembled on that floor.
Silver arrows from different epochs wherever the eye falls can be found at the end of the exhibit.
If you say Mercedes Benz Museum, you mustn’t forget the building. That alone is worth the visit. The silver arrow-style elevators, the Brutalism architecture covered in light, and many design elements to enhance the exhibit serve supporting the Mercedes Benz brand.
Here is a video with some highlights from my visit at the museum.
This article was also published in German.