‘VW town’ has every Beetle variant – even a wooden one
Wolfsburg was founded in 1938 as a town to house the Volkswagen factory workers. It seems that little has changed, as an astonishing fifth of the 120,000 population still works for the car company today. You can imagine the looks we got arriving in town in the bright yellow Lotus Elise, probably the only car of its kind within 200 square miles.
If Wolfsburg is ‘Volkswagen town’ then its zentrum is Autostadt, the company’s homage to its past, present and future. It should really be described as a museum for the VW brand, but this doesn’t do it justice. For starters, the plot is roughly the same size as 23 football pitches and contains buildings dedicated to its subsidiary brands (Audi, SEAT, Skoda and Lamborghini), an extremely comprehensive collection of cars (Volkswagens and other brands), a hotel, and so many other things it would be impossible to name them all here. Suffice to say that you’ll need at least an afternoon to have a look around (http://www.autostadt.de).
Just down the road there’s the Volkswagen Auto Museum. Ignore the outside of the building, which resembles a decrepit 1960s office block, walk past the entrance – again ignoring the décor – and you’ll enter an Aladdin’s cave of Volkswagens, from the first Beetle to long-lost prototypes, via the 1981 Dakar winner and an Oettinger-tuned Beetle that, despite looking like a 900bhp RUF, actually turns out a modest 225bhp.
It’s only open Friday to Sunday and you’ll need a guide to show you around as the descriptions of the exhibits are sparse, and in German. However, I’m struggling to think of another place in the world where you can see such a comprehensive and broad collection of Volkswagens, or indeed where you could see a Beetle built from wood, or from wicker, or that has been converted into a working hot air balloon. For more information visit http://automuseum.volkswagen.de/