Mexico City, Mexico
October 30, 2002
Entry is free and free audio sets are available in various languages. The audio guides provide sufficient information and allow you to move around and look from different angles without having to stop to read the information.
The museum has about 100 models on display – mostly in chronological order from a replica of the first three wheeled Benz, the original is in the German Museum in Munich, to some of the latest models currently available. I found the earlier models of particular interest. Prominent features are pointed out where appropriate including the first cars actually being called Mercedes and the first one to sport the three-pointed star. Benz and Daimler developed in competition until the two companies merged in the 1920s and the various models from both companies are on display. Chrysler is mentioned in passing on a wall explaining the history of Daimler-Chrysler.
Some of the stars of the show include two Kaiserwagen – one in battleship grey for the navy loving former Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany and one bearing the chrysanthemum crest of the Japanese Imperial family. A gleaming red rare 500K Special Roadster is generally considered to be the real star of the collection. However equally impressive is the collection of Silver Arrow competition cars of the 1930s and 1950s on display on the ramp leading to the second floor.
On the top floor is a special Mercedes in which a land speed record was set during the 1930s on the flat straight Autobahn between Frankfurt and Darmstadt. Some glorious stretches of this highway still have no speed restrictions allowing attempted reenactments of that glorious event on a daily basis. If you plan on driving only 140 km/h, stick to the slow lane here.
The souvenir shop has a surprisingly small and uninspired selection although I did manage to find a postcard for my father of his first Mercedes back in the 1950s.
As everybody arrives by tour bus it is prudent to loiter a bit at the beginning and try to approach the displays in between two groups spouting from the buses. Although we visited on a Sunday morning, the museum was never too crowded to enjoy.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum was probably my main motivation to visit Stuttgart. I never doubted that it would be worth the effort but I took great comfort in having my trust confirmed when the bus arriving as we departed carried members of a BMW Owners Club!
Tuesday – Sunday, 09:00 – 17:00 Closed on public holidays