Porsche Warehouse: A Secret Treasure Trove
An unassuming industrial building doesn’t often catch the eye. In a sea of grey pre-fabricated units, nothing much stands out – a warehouse is a warehouse, likely containing stockpiles of uninteresting components for uninteresting manufacturing processes. Imagine, then, opening one up to find an almost complete history of Porsche from 1948 to the present day?
Welcome to Porsche’s ‘secret’ warehouse.
Anyone lucky enough to get the keys to this extraordinary location should prepare themselves when first opening the door. Hundreds of models from across the generations are here, including an array of curios such as a Lada (owing to a brief period of cooperation), 1950s ‘Red nose’ Porsche tractors and a development 944 S which covered 365,000km in a year. Yes, that’s 1,000km per day.
Some of the oldest and most precious vehicles sit under dust sheets, tantalisingly hidden from view, but equally recognisable as being from the Porsche stable. Around them a smorgasbord of motorsport legends sit silently, but still evoke the names of iconic drivers such as Ickx, Andretti, Röhrl and more recent drivers such as Webber and Tandy. Many retain their original sponsor livery, and others sit on shelves built up against a wall, separated into boxes as if they were part of a toy collection. F1 and Indy cars, two of the three 804s ever built and a 917-30 with chassis number 001 share the same space – emotive cars that were built during some of the most fierce and dangerous periods in motorsport history.
And there are yet more curious vehicles from Porsche’s past. A G-Class Mercedes in full Rothmans livery would seem to be out of place in a Porsche’s library of cars, but this one – which supported the Paris Dakar for the Marque – runs a 928 engine under the bonnet. It remains fully packed with spare parts destined for, but never used on, Jackie Ickx’s victorious car. Then there’s the one and only Porsche motorbike. So the story goes an engineer with a penchant for motorcycles took it upon himself to fit the engine from a 356 into a motorbike frame. And that’s exactly what he did, albeit it’s not the most practical form of transport in the world.
It’s not just historical and motorsports Porsches represented in the warehouse. Examples of what might be considered ‘mundane’ road cars share the space quite happily with their historically important family members. Then there are the cars built for testing – whether aerodynamics, drivetrain or motorsports. A modern 918 is among them in body in white form, used to hone the engine and chassis during development.
The Porsche warehouse is the kind of place where you can immerse yourself in one of the world’s most recognisable and revered brands, losing entire days whilst doing so. It’s wonderful that such a place exists, documenting in physical form 70 years’ of motoring history. It’s sad, though, that the doors are firmly locked to the general public.