I made a flying visit to Stuttgart last week and, with 90min to spare before check-in at the airport, made a quick tour of the extraordinary Mercedes museum. The display of vehicles runs from some of the very first automobiles to one of Mercedes’ most recent concept sculptures.
I was lucky enough to have one of Mercedes’ own tour guides to take me through what is a basically a continuous historic display. You enter the museum and take a lift up to the top of the building, where the story of Mercedes-Benz begins. A continuous downhill ramp around the outside edge of the building allows the visitor to descend down the years up to the present day, passing through two extraordinary displays of historic race cars.
You could easily spend a day in this place and, according to the guide, there’s a total of 42 hours of recorded information on the museum’s portable headsets, so you could spend five eight-hour days here, being talked around every single exhibit. Our tour guide seemed (very politely) to insist that Daimler, Benz and Maybach had, between them, done most motorised things first.
I was surprised to see Daimler claiming to have invented the motorcycle. The 1885 Reitwagen - or Riding car - was a collaboration between Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach and was a kind of test bed for their compact internal combustion engine - which also claimed to be the first ‘gasoline-engined’ vehicle.