My Adventures in Germany
Germany Trip-1, November 1994,
I left Munich and headed north to Wurtzburg for the night, the next day I headed south west towards Stuttgart and located the Porsche factory and Museum in Zuffenhausen which is a few miles north of Stuttgart.
The Porsche Museum was a small one room facility next to the factory.
It was filled with great historic production and racing Porsches.They had a 1 hour video (in German) on some of the history behind Porsche.I picked up a booklet in English which described all the museum vehicles in detail.
They had the chassis of the new 993 based 911 on display.
There was a prototype flat 16 cylinder engine on display which apparently was never used in competition.
I noticed a new RS2 Audi parked outside the Museum.
The tour had around 8 people in the two tour groups, one English- and one German-speaking. It lasted around 1 1/2 hours.
Production quantity per day:
80 of the 911 model six cylinder cars (The new 993 model)
8 of the 968 model four cylinder cars
2 of the 928 model eight cylinder cars
12 of the Audi RS2 Avant (station wagon) with modified five cylinder 315
HP engines and Porsche brake system.
12 of the 500E modified Mercedes sedans
The tour guide in his heavy German accent mentioned that Porsche has built over 1 million cars since the first car built in 1948. He said "If someone tries to sell you a Porsche older than 1948, don't buy it". He commented there are approximately 850 thousand Porsches still around with 600 thousand being driven on a daily basis.
Porsche has recently revamped their production facility with the help of a Japanese consultant incorporating the Japanese Kanban (just in time) system which reduced the 911 assembly time from 120 hours to around 80 hours. The entrance to the factory has a display with a engine block, crankshaft, rods and pistons for the 968, 911 and 928 with graphs showing the HP and torque outputs for each engine. The guide made a point of boasting about how large the 4 cylinder displacement is and how the new engines have more HP and are more fuel efficient etc. The 911 engine assembly line is U shaped with a slow moving conveyor system that moves the engine past many assembly stations. The moving conveyor holds the engine during assembly and has two moving racks next to each engine that hold all the larger pieces required to assemble the engine. Previously the engine assembly person worked from a fixed position and had to walk back and forth to a parts bin and select each part. The engine assembly workers are rotated around to each assembly station and every worker is capably of assembling the complete engine from start to finish. It takes 2 hours to build the 4 cylinder engine, 3 hours to build the six cylinder 911 engine, and 4 hours to build the 8 cylinder 928 engine. They mentioned that each crankshaft journal is color coded and has several different size bearings available to blueprint the engine clearances (similar to the Honda engines).
Each engine is tested on a dyno for a total of 32 minutes. Our group was able to see one of the 911 engines being tested on the dyno. The engine is warmed up for 20 minutes and checked for leaks or abnormal noises and then run at 5000 RPM to check the torque output and then raised to 6100 RPM to check the horsepower output. The engine is inside a small room and the operator works behind a glass panel and he has a large lever that controls the throttle. The horsepower output must be within 2% on the lower range (270 horsepower nominal) or the engine is checked to find the reason for the low horsepower. They indicated that the average output is closer to 280 HP. They have 15 engine test beds (dynos) to handle the different engines they produce. It was amazing seeing so many 911, 928 and 968 engines in various stages of assembly. The amount of $$ in that one area was staggering. We then headed for the final assembly area.
The final assembly area is located in a different building and is not very large with two rows of 911 vehicles passing by us at chest height on conveyor. He pointed out the subtle differences between the U.S. versions and cars for Germany and other countries (center mounted brake light U.S. and side marker lights for Europe etc). We walked past racks of various vehicle parts, painted brake calipers etc. The vehicle final assembly process is done by a 6 person team. The completed engine and transmission assembly (engine, transmission and front differential on 911 C4 vehicles) is installed as one unit in under 5 minutes. Porsche makes available an option which has buttons mounted in the steering wheel to control shifting with their optional Tip-tronic semi-automatic gear box.
The guide mentioned that Porsche allows the customer to select custom colors for both the interior and exterior of the car (for an extra fee of course). So if you want to purchase a car that matches your wife's finger nail polish you can bring in a sample and Porsche will take care of the rest. There are over 2000 colors available with this system. It takes 2-3 days to paint the car, with the color spraying of the car still being done by hand without the aid of a robot. Only the primer and undercoating is done by a robot. This allows the paint to sprayed in different proportions in certain areas of the car that need it. After the car is built it is test driven by professional drivers on public roads for 60-80 Km to ensure every system is working correctly. This is done all year round even when there is snow and ice on the roads. The tour guide pointed out that the 911 car does 0-200 Km (~125 MPH) in 20 seconds and 200 to 0 under braking in 5.7 seconds. The brakes have 5 times the power output of the engine! He said "You must be very careful when following a Porsche on the Autobahn because of the superior braking system. Most Porsche drivers are rear-ended by cars with inferior brakes".
Here is the information from November 1994 on making reservations to visit the Porsche factory and Museum.
If you have any "new" information regarding the Porsche Factory tours, please let me know as this information is likely out of date.
Link to the Porsche Germany Web Site
Porsche Factory and Museum
Location: Porscheplatz 1, 70435 Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen-Germany
More Info: Telephone: +(049) 0711 / 911 5685
Fax: +(049) 0711 / 911 7300
Situated next to the Porsche factory, five miles from the city centre, the museum is a celebration of the one million Porsche sports cars built since 1948. It has a wealth of classic production and racing Porsches on display, as well as new models and prototypes that never went into production.The company also offers a one-and-a-half hour factory tour (in English or German) at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm each day. The tour follows the production process from the drawing board right through to the rigorous testing of each new 911 engine and the paint shop with its choice of 2000 custom colours.Reservations required for the tour. Admission
Monday to Friday - 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday - 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
From November 1994-Likely outdated
At Porsche North America, I spoke with Karen Evans (Tourist delivery department) to arrange the tour at the plant in Zuffenhausen (a suburb 5 miles outside Stuttgart). Karen sent me an info packet with a map and details on the tour. I made reservations two weeks before I was to arrive in Stuttgart. This was in October which may be less crowded than the Summer months. Tours are available at 10am and 2pm. There were English and German tours available when I was there.
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