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Porsche Museum Vault: The secret collection you have to see

James Riswick

For any car fan, making a trip to Germany at some point is must. Beyond seeing how fast you can go on the Autobahn, each of the manufacturers have museums worth checking out. One is the Porsche Museum in Zuffenhausen, just outside Stuttgart. The imposing modern structure sits among the various Porsche HQ buildings and 911 production, filled with the greatest hits of Porsche's production and racing history.

However, what you can see in the Museum is but the tip of a very deep iceberg. A short drive away in a top-secret location is what you could call the museum vault. Here is where Porsche keeps all its concept cars, prototypes, design studies, promotional cutaways and race cars that can be pulled out for use in the museum or shipped around the world for marketing and PR purposes. For instance, Porsche always features one or two of these cars at its annual New York Auto Show press event. There's also at least one version of every car the company has produced, including special edition versions like the recent 911R.

Although many have always been in Porsche's possession, the company has purchased some to fill out the collection, relying only on survivor cars as opposed to those that have been restored. The vault facility itself has a shop that refurbishes them as needed to make them show-worthy.

Some of my personal highlights include a Porsche Cayenne convertible design study (let's call it the Cayenne Cross Cabriolet), a teal bulletproof 996, the bonkers Panamericana concept (also teal), the world's only rear-engine and all-wheel-drive 944, a 928 convertible prototype (never produced), and an amazing Kermit green Carrera 3.0 Targa with the most perfect tartan fabric interior I've ever seen. Really, though, virtually everything you see is amazing in one way or another with an interesting story behind it -- I could've spent a full day inside rather than the 90 minutes we were given.

Although the vault is sadly not open to the public, we hope you enjoy this brief photographic taste and make a point to visit the regular Porsche Museum at some point. It's worth the flight to Stuttgart.

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