Way back at the beginning of the millennium Volkswagen decided to build the Autostadt. It was to opened on the occasion of the Hanover World’s Fair, and as a result, shares many of the qualities of a world’s fair, except that it deals primarily with VWs.
Autostadt is contained within the Volkswagen Factory grounds in Wolfsburg and has a number pavilions dedicated to Volkswagen AG’s many brands.
Perhaps the most exciting thing in the Autostadt, though, is the ZeitHaus Museum. Six stories of automotive history are contained within the ZeitHaus and the collection is a very good look at the history of the automobile.
While the museum does skew Volkswagen-wise, the collection contains any and (it seems) every car that its curators find meaningful. While I was there, the ZeitHaus was celebrating automotive innovation by showing cars that were connected by those innovations.
There is, for example, a recreation of the Benz Patent Motorwagen, widely considered to be the first ever automobile, was next to the Ford Model T, the first car built on an assembly line.
There was a celebration of luxury, which placed the Bugatti Royale, a Rolls Royce, and Bentley from similar generations next to each other; early turbocharging was celebrated with a Chevrolet Corvair and a Saab 900 Turbo; aerodynamics were represented by the Citroen DS and Audi A2; and composite materials were represented by a C1 Corvette and a Trabant(!).
That’s not to mention the cars that were there mostly for being pretty, like the Lamborghini Miura, the (recreation) Bugatti Atlantic, and the Cadillac Eldorado Biaritz, and the countless other interesting cars representing the history of the car as Volkswagen’s ZeitHaus sees it.
The pictures above hint at the quality and the quantity of the really interesting, beautiful, rare, and fascinating cars that this glass museum houses. The rest of Wolfsburg is great, but the ZeitHaus should be your first priority if you’re ever there.