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Tracing History

The Automobile Region of Stuttgart

The Stuttgart Region has made an impact. In 1883 Gottlieb Daimler developed the first fast-running, light engine for universal use, thereby laying an important cornerstone for the evolution of the automobile. Even more than 130 years after it was invented, the automobile is more topical than ever in the region and represents an important unique selling point. Countless museums and events bear witness to the region's automotive history.

The ideal start to an exciting trip to the Automobile Region of Stuttgart is the Motorworld Region Stuttgart, which opened in 2009. At the two V8 Hotels (both 4-star) guests can choose between standard rooms and individually designed theme rooms, all geared to the classic car ambience of the Motorworld. After checking in you can start your tour of the automobile centre with its total area of 50,000 m². Workshops, retail stores, service providers, restaurants, conference rooms and event areas for up to 1,000 guests, as well as theme exhibitions make this a hotspot for lovers of classic vehicles, sports cars and motorcycles. During a guided tour of the extensive complex, visitors will learn fascinating details about the origins of the Motorworld Region Stuttgart, the history of Württemberg's former airport and the current occupants.

Gottlieb Daimler's birthplace is the perfect place to start delving into automotive history. In 1834 Gottlieb Daimler was born as the son of a baker in a pretty half-timbered house in Schorndorf. Today Daimler's Birthplace, later acquired and restored by the Daimler-Benz AG, is a museum and conference centre. Exhibits include the legendary postcard which Gottlieb Daimler sent to his first wife in 1872. On it he marked with a star the house in Cologne-Deutz where he was living at the time, and wrote "From here a star will go out...“ This was the first appearance of the star that was later to become the emblem of the Stuttgart automobile manufacturers. Other items include Daimler's journeyman's piece and the notebook from his trip to Russia. His extensive travels and the limitations of the means of transport available were a stimulus for his revolutionary vision: independent mobility. In 1886 Daimler presented his motor carriage, held to be the world's first four-wheeled automobile. His ideas, all of them milestones of technology, were realised in cooperation with Wilhelm Maybach in his workshop – a greenhouse in Bad Cannstatt. This workshop in the Taubenheimstrasse is today the site of the Gottlieb Daimler Memorial. Models of the engines and the tools they used bring to life the work and ideas of these two inventors. 
Those wanting to find out more and take a look behind the scenes at the production site itself can join a tour of the Sindelfingen factory. The tour starts off in the pressing plant, where the metal parts are shaped, and continues with the "ballet of the robots" at the shell stage and the marriage of the body and the power train in the assembly areas. 

The next port of call is the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. On average, visitors cover between 1.5 and 2 km on their journey through more than 130 years of automotive history. The audio guides available make it possible to access the relevant information on the exhibits in eight different languages. The museum's interior is modelled on a double helix: two circular tours lead down through the extensive collections from the top to the bottom levels. The first tour focuses on the history of the automobile, while the second presents the diversity of the brand profile. Both tours converge in the section "Silver Arrows – Races and Records". Here, in addition to the racing cars on display, two simulators let visitors experience the fascination of motorsport at first hand. 

The world of automobile museums culminates in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. Right next to the company headquarters of the Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG there's the Porsche Museum, built in 2009. The exterior of the building is in itself a veritable feast for the eyes. The spectacular access from the foyer to the extensive exhibition area takes visitors into the interior of the museum with the chronological documentation of the products and the brand, and there are also several temporary exhibitions each year. In addition to the standard audio guides, group tours and special tours, for example with the focus on architecture or Porsche history, can also be booked. In front of the Porsche Museum there's another optical landmark – "Inspiration 911" – a 24-metre-high sculpture, each of whose three pillars is topped by a different Porsche 911 model.

Classics stand the test of time: at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Fellbach, car enthusiasts can admire legendary vehicles of the Daimler, Benz, Mercedes and Mercedes-Benz brands. Repairs and maintenance are also carried out in the attached workshop.

Another automobile highlight is the Retro Classics trade fair at the Messe Stuttgart trade fair centre. With its so-called "garage gold", the four-day classic car exhibition attracts numerous visitors annually. Alongside the high-calibre classic cars, however, there are also so-called modern classics and out-of-the-ordinary US cars on show, and they can even change hands here. Thanks to a mobile vehicle registration centre, proud new owners can take to the road straight from the exhibition grounds in their newly-acquired gem.

(862 words in article)

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