Technik Museum – Sinsheim (D)

Last year I visited the Technik Museum in Speyer, which I found to be a thoroughly diverting place, with lots to see. Less than 30 minutes drive south east, and you can will find the sister museum, in Sinsheim, which I can now report, is even better. This one is right alongside the A6 autobahn, about equidistant between Heidelberg and Stuttgart. It is impossible to miss it, as not only are there signposts from the Autobahn, but some of the very distinctive planes are outdoors and mounted up high so they are very visible. There are multiple halls containing the indoor exhibits, plenty of stuff to see outside, and an IMAX cinema  Billed as the largest such collection in Europe, the displays include over 300 cars, 200 motorcycles, 40 racing cars including the largest display of Formula 1 cars in Europe, 60 airplanes, 20 locomotives and all sorts of related memorabilia. As well as a vast array of permanent exhibits, there are also temporary exhibitions, which means that it would be worth returning periodically to this amazing place. In any case, there is far more to see than the brain can absorb in one visit, as I found out. Here is a sample of what I found:

This is an impressive display in its own right, but it is a mere fraction of the overall set of automotive displays

Oldsmobile Rocket 98

There are three Corvettes, from 1954, 1958 and 1968.
This is actually a replica of an Auburn Speedster, but it was nicely executed. One of my favourite American cars.
This, however, is a genuine Auburn
There were plenty of different Cadillacs
This 1959 Cadillac marked the absolute zenith of the large fins. Just incredible!
1960 Plymouth Fury
1959 Ford Thunderbird
A very rare 1969 Chrysler 300 Convertible
An earlier Chrysler 300G
DeLorean, made famous for its role in “Back to the Future”, of course
Chevrolet Caprice cop car
Buick 8 Super
Chrysler New Yorker deLuxe
1955 Ford Thunderbird
1958 Chevrolet Impala Convertible
1956 Ford Fairlane Sunliner and a later 1959 car
From an earlier age was this Simplex racer and a number of other vehicles which were made simply with one thing in mind: going fast!
Ford Model “T” Speedster, and from elsewhere in the museum, there were a number of other Model “T”s,
1956 Chevrolet del Ray
One of the temporary exhibitions at the time of my visit comprised a collection of 7 Bugatti cars, in honour of the centenary of the Molsheim marque. Highlight for many will be the replica of the massive Type 41 Royale.

Other cars include the legendary Type 35, a Type 37, a Type 30, a racing version of the Type 57 and a Ventoux Sports Coupe
Final car was the Bebe Peugeot, a car designed by Ettore Bugatti
Centrepiece of one of the halls is an impressive display of Ferrari road cars from the past 50  years.
There were a couple of F40s in 2 of the four corners of the display area

860 Monza
550 Barchetta
Not quite sure what this Mercedes McLaren SLR was doing in among the Ferraris.
Actually, there was a Lamborghini Countach in the same area, as well. As it was red, it was less conspicuously out of place.   
A few Ferraris were to be found beyond the confines of this central display, including this 400i and this 250 GT Spider.
This is another special exhibition, and although the title is “Vom Goggo zum Lifestyle-Mobil: die Rueckkehr der Bonsai Autos”, there are plenty of cars other than Goggomobils in the display.
These are Goggomobils

Latest incarnation of the “Bonsai Auto” is this Toyota iQ
There were several Messerschmitt cars in the museum
BMW Isetta 300
Fiat 600
Mini – not quite original looking, with lowered suspension and bonnet vents!
This display included a number of scooters as well.
NSU Prinz Sport
Zundapp Janus
This LM002 still looks massive even now, even though modern cars have got steadily bigger.

The Muira, by contrast, still looks small, and low and tantalisingly covetable!
Yet another special display was in honour of Maybach, and there were a number of classic machines, as well an example of the recent reincarnation of the brand

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the proximity to Stuttgart, and the fact that Mercedes has a long and distinguished history, there are a lot of classic Mercedes in the museum.
My absolute favourite has to be this, a 500K, surely one of the loveliest cars made in the 1930s. This is the SLS AMG of its day, and nice though the new car is, I know which I would prefer!

1928 SSK
These two 630K cars from 1929 flanked the SSK and the 500K.
There were plenty of other 1930s models, ranging from family cars such as the 170 and 260 to some lovely sports cars
Representing the more majestic end of the 1930s Mercedes range were these rather sizeable cars
Some earlier cars were represented, too.
These 300 cars date from the early 1950s.
The 300SL “Gullwing” is a rare car, so to see one is always a treat. There were three all alongside each other in this museum. Wonderful!
This is the 190SL, a visually close relative.
The 220 models were the entry level 1950s offerings.
There were plenty of other cars, including 2 x the W100 600 models, and a 250S from the 1960s
One of the upstairs galleries boasted a couple of models from the 1970s: there was a “New Generation” 200 model and this 350SLC, a coupe which was based on the W107 SL models, but which has never achieved the same levels of popularity or value
The SSKL from 1928.
Another 500K.
This monster, Brutus, had a 46 litre engine. Yes, 46 litres. I repeat, 46 litres! Quite incredible!
There were a whole load of other cars in displays around the main halls, of which the ones that caught my camera were these:

These early 1960s cars were designed for one thing only: racing.
A personal favourite, the 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C2300 Monza.

A Geman made vehicle based on Triumph Herald mechanicals

1000S, a popular family car from the late 1950s

Monza – a promising little sports coupe which never really made any impact on the market
The Audi 60, one of the first front wheel drive Audi cars

BMW 3.0 CS in a special conversion to a convertible model. It is believed that only a couple of such cars were made.
1937 812 model

A very elegant model indeed


A lovely SS100

Mark IV Drophead
“E” Type

Elan S2

This MGA was parked up outside but was worthy of a museum place and hence is included here

An early model

Ro80 – still a very elegant and modern looking car, even though it is 43 years since its debut.
Porsche 356 Carrera

Phantom II and III

A 2000 Roadster from the late 1940s

Late model VW 1303S Cabriolet and 1300


An “Amazon” 122
There were a number of displays of motor-cycles throughout the museum, with these catching my eye and camera

RACING CARSThere are approximately 40 Formula 1 cars from the past 40 years included in the collection.

The 1977 6 wheeler Tyrrell was an experiment that was not repeated.

RALLY CARSA small display tucked away at one end of the main hall which included such icons as a Lancia Stratos, as well as lesser known cars such as a Seat Cordoba

The Blue Flame was a world record holder back in 1970.

There are plenty of vintage tractors and other agricultural machines on display, showing how primitive and small these early mechanised devices were.

A bewildering array of different commercial vehicles from vast traction engines and steam rollers through to car-derived vans and trucks form another subset of the overall collection.

There is a comprehensive display of military equipment of all types in one of the halls.

A further array of bulkier armoured vehicles, mostly tanks, is to be found outside
This vast Russian engine was in service during WW2 and was just too conspicuous when painted black, hence the camouflaged appearance.

Some of the other locos on display included these:
A number of the smaller planes and helicopters are suspended from the roof of the main display halls.

For many people, regardless of their preferred form of transportation, the two stars of the museum are to be found outside. Sinsheim boasts both one of the Air France Concordes and the Russian “Concordski”, the Tupelev 144. Both are mounted very prominently, so you can see them from the A6 Autobahn, and a splendid sight they make.
Better than this, though, you can actually go inside them. I never managed to fly on Concorde before its sad withdrawal from service, but I had been warned that it is not spacious inside. The people who said this are not wrong. With two pairs of seats, there is barely any gangway for the cabin crew to get down. The seats would not win many prizes for luxury, comfort or space either.
Mind you, whilst there seemed to be a little more room across the width of the fuselage, the seats in the Tupelev were even more primitive.   
This is an absolutely stunning museum, with far more crammed into it than you can see and absorb in one visit. It is right next to the A6 autobahn in Sinsheim, which is between Heilbronn and Heidelberg, or expressed another way, about half way between Frankfurt and Stuttgart. There is an adjoining hotel for those who want more than one day to take in everything that it has to offer.
2010-08-20 14:10:51

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