There’s a certain camaraderie you get with Volkswagen owners that you don’t get with other car manufacturers. That subtle nod of the head when you pass on the road, the admiring smile on noticing a vintage model that has been well maintained, or the all out appreciation of a Bug Jam festival. And Volkswagen car owners will also be aware of one particular town in Germany that is synonymous with their beloved brand – Wolfsburg.
The town was known as Stadt des Kdf-Wagens up until May 1945, and is located in Lower Saxony near Fallersleben. Since the 1930’s, car manufacture has taken place at this town, and you can in fact still see the four distinctive chimneys of the factory’s production plant, which still provide power for the town today. And it doesn’t end there. Next door to the Volkswagen production facility is the massive Autostadt, which is German for Car City, and a visitor attraction that includes a car museum, restaurants, exhibition spaces, water features and lakes, and ground breaking modern architecture.
Autostadt literally celebrates everything that the Volkswagen Group stands for and much more, including other well known car manufacturers such as Bentley, Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Lamborghini, Porsche, and of course Volkswagen. The car city has around 2 million visitors each year since opening in May 2000. Many people come to visit the Autostadt for the chance to see the Volkswagen cars in every stage of production, but there are plenty of others who come to marvel at the wonderful use of space and the creative application that has been made of the natural elements such as the water and the leafy foliage between the modern buildings.
The attraction is really for petrol heads and road nuts, as there are lots of ways to fulfill your driving dreams. You can drive some of the cars at Autostadt along the specially designated tracks that run underneath the bridge, so long as you have your driver’s license with you. You’ll get a guide showing you the track first so that you can judge the capability of the car and get to see the track first hand. Then you can drive the car with the guide in the passenger seat. And it’s not just any old track, there are some pretty tricky features, such as a water tank and sand pit under a road bridge, two 21 degree angled hills, a log road and numerous small mounds which allow one wheel to be raised off the ground.
And if you are thinking of buying a new VW, you can check out the huge glass car silos which house the newly minted Volkswagens, fresh off the production line. So why not make a day of it and spend your time visiting the exhibitions and the museum before picking up the keys to your new car?
For true Volkswagen aficionados, you really need to check out the ZeitHaus. Here you’ll find examples of the early Brazilian Volkswagen SP2, the Volkswagen Type 4 estate, countless Beetles, the first Sciroccos, early Polos, Passats, and of course the timeless Golf, through its many reconfigurations. But the ZeitHaus does not only celebrate iconic VW makes of vehicle, this enormous expanse showcases car production throughout history and for vehicle enthusiasts it is a wonderful space.
Celebrating historic brands such as the Oldsmobile and the Trabant, to the East German Wartburg, with concept cars such as the Bugatti EB118 on display and examples of more unknown models such as the Gutbrod Superior and the Lancia Dilambda.
For those wanting a slightly more modern vehicle however, you’ll be pleased to know that if they buy a new car from the Autostadt, when the car is ready for collection, the new owner’s name flashes up on a screen in the main building. Pretty cool right?
For more information visit Autostadt.com