(Not My Story, Lifted From TCL)
I studied abroad in France this spring semester (Aix-en-Provence, specifically. If you haven’t heard of it before, research it, truly amazing place) and needless to say did a lot of traveling. As a big car guy, I was most excited about going to Germany and visiting either the Audi, Volkswagen, Porsche, or Mercedes “factories” than just about anywhere else.
After about half my time abroad had elapsed I still had no real plans of visiting Germany. Horrified, I started to realize this dream may not come true after all. Believe it or not, visiting car manufacturer’s headquarters isn’t that high on everyone’s European travel agenda. Whode a thunk it? Eventually however I got a Facebook message from an old friend studying in Berlin about Springfest in Munich (a scaled down Oktoberfest) and plane tickets were purchased 90 seconds later.
Originally there wasn’t going to be enough time to visit any car factories. Regardless, I was excited to visit what I consider the car Mecca of the world. However, thanks to Iceland, my friends more northern flight was cancelled while mine flew. Who’de have ever thought that’de be positive? When I landed, I walked right out into this:
Are you kidding me? I read an automobile issue on the plane with a big article on the new 2011 A8 and I land 500 yards away from this. As a dude alone in Germany with five hours to kill (when my friend was arriving,) I walked around leisurely thinking about what to do. Ahead of the parked A8’s was this:
I walked in and just for the hell of it (I had no idea where the Audi center was in relation to Munich,) asked where the Audi center is located. As if god himself was behind the counter, the very attractive blonde German woman who spoke nearly flawless English informed me that it was about an hour bus ride and located in a town called Ingolstadt. What’s more? There is a bus that leaves directly from the airport. It runs every half hour and was something like 45 euro round trip. Could this really be happening?
I took the pamphlet and realized I had like 40 minutes or something along those lines until the next bus. Across from the conference center was a little mini dealership or something and I went in to check out what they had:
Some major highlights included a 4 door A5 and the A4 Allroad wagon. Really cool stuff. I reluctantly left after awhile and headed to the bus stop. Ingolstadt, please!
From the bus I spotted this blue RS6 wagon which happened to be the same car that was pictured on the main page of vortex for awhile if anyone remembers:
I was smiles from ear to ear the entire ride there. No one in America was awake yet but I was bbm’ing everyone I knew out of excitement. When the bus finally arrived, this is what I saw first:
Amazing. I couldn’t, and still, can’t believe I was really there. Another RS6 wagon outside:
This was the first building I entered. The picture of the cars with the hoods open was of people accepting delivery of their new cars. After walking around for a bit I asked about the museum and headed over.
While I would love to comment these, it’s pretty much impossible. There are a ton of really cool photo’s of lots of cars that most of which I don’t know much about. You can check out the photobucket album to see them all, but here are some highlights:
I will say that this was an old Horsch, before Audi even became Audi.
This was really cool. You could turn it and then lift each cylinder of material. There was a screen on the wall in front of you, and when you lifted a material, a big summary came up explaining what material that was and how it was used in their cars. This went over everything from weights and densities to why it was used where it was.
This V12 roadster was my favorite.
This was hands down my favorite museum in Europe. The Louvre has nothing on Audi. Even more importantly, I was really impressed with how Audi set this up. Admission was only two euro, and there were tons of really nice black and white postcards with different Audi related pictures on them throughout the museum, all of which were free. Pretty much everything was open and you could get as close as you wanted to 90% of the cars. It felt like a big thank you from Audi to its customers and admirers who were interested enough to visit the factory and I really appreciated that. At the end their was a really cool gift store with old car manuals and old magazines featuring articles on big Audi releases, as well many other really cool items that I never would have thought they sold:
With only a little time before my return bus, I crossed the compound and entered the large, main building on the other side. While mainly offices, the interior was really impressive:
Inside here I found a couple more gems. A V10 R8 convertible as well as both coupe and convertible forms of the TT-RS. They were stunning. It is also important to note that this building was full of people at work in suits. I however was walking around in a green north face raincoat holding a weekend bag taking pictures of everything I could see.
Finally, it was time for me to leave. I couldn’t stop taking pictures and on my way out snapped some of this RS6 sedan that was hanging out in the parking lot.
I left feeling more satisfied then Brad Pitt feels when he wakes up with Angelina. It was everything I had dreamed of and a true blessing that visiting became a possibility for me. What’s better? I was here a couple hours later:
Some misc. car pics:
I hope you enjoyed my trip summary! I’ve read and enjoyed reports similar to this on here before and am excited to be able to contribute my own.
Lifted from TCL, not my story: http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?4920257-My-trip-to-the-Audi-factory-in-Ingolstadt