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Deutsches Technikmuseum - Cars from the depot on show

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The Websites of the donation Stiftung Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin at a glance:

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The donation contains six locations:

Photo: A compact white convertible carefully pushed off the lorry and onto a ramp by two men.

A Fiat Weinsberg from 1939, based on the Fiat 500 and built by the Heilbronn car body maker.

Photo: A lifting truck was used to take the compact car off the lorry and into the hall.

The Ford Berlin vehicle study drawn up in 1968 - designed at the time as an urban car for the year 2000, with an electric engine and room for two people.

Photo: The bonnet allows us to see the pointed nose with the front wheel.

The Tempo Hanseat three-wheeler - whose nickname was triangular file - was a popular delivery vehicle in the 1950s.

Photo: Side view: Antique car with an aerodynamic fender that juts out over the short engine bonnet.

A DKW Schwebeklasse from 1935: the plywood car body is covered in artificial leather.

Photo: The cover has been half removed to reveal the long engine bonnet and chrome-plated bumper.

Opel Commodore, manufactured in 1969: Its design was based on American sports cars.

Photo: Front view of the long, elegantly curved engine hood with its distinctive twin headlamps.

Citroën DS 19, manufactured in 1960: Fans liked to call the DS La Déesse (French for goddess).

Cars from the depot on show

6 December 2017 to 31 July 2018

Special exhibition section on Ladestrasse (access via Möckernstrasse 26)

We’re offering a unique opportunity, not just to fans of historical cars, to discover further milestones in automotive history. As the depots are being renovated, some 29 vehicles from the collection of more than 200 cars and lorries will be on show in the museum until the end of July 2018.

Photo: A glimpse at the exhibition: the vehicles stand next to one another in their marked parking bays.

A stylish résumé of the 1950s: the three-wheeler Tempo Hanseat (manufactured in 1953), the BMW Zwilling from Eisenach EMW 340 (1952), an Opel Olympia (1953) from Rüsselsheim and a red AWZ P70 coupé (1955) from the VEB car factory in Zwickau.

Vehicles from 1923 to 1987

The range of vehicles covers the Brennabor S6 Type from 1923, one of the first cars to be produced on an assembly line in Germany to the experimental electric vehicle Ford Berliner study from 1968 to an everyday Japanese car like a Toyota Crown taxi from 1987.

Other important objects are a Chrysler 52 Type, produced in Berlin in 1928, an aerodynamic Adler Autobahn from 1939 and a Tempo three-wheeler from the era of the economic miracle.

More than just car history

The cars selected don’t just signify technical milestones. Same of them also provide insights into social history, such as three DKW cars from the 1930s for instance. With plywood car bodies covered in artificial leather and powered by a two-stroke engine of just 20 hp, they are examples of the simplest form of car vehicle at the time.

The Citroen DS on the other hand is a car whose sculptural lines were drawn by sculptor and designer Flaminio Bertoni in 1955. Back then, the DS was considered a stylish car that found huge favour with intellectuals above all.

Photo: The two antique cars’ covers have been pulled up to the roof to show the front of the car and its body.

They’re protected by custom-made fabric covers: a W24 Wanderer from 1937 (left) and a Chrysler 52 Type (manufactured in 1928) as a taxi version.

The Ford B from 1932 highlights one aspect of economic history: its all-steel car body, which was revolutionary at the same, required vast amounts of expertise and huge investments in machines and tools.
As a result, certain companies specialised in manufacturing car bodies. From Berlin, the American-German Ambi-Budd joint venture also supplied large automotive makers like the German arm of Ford.

World politics is also reflected in some of the vehicles shown, such as the EMW 340 – the East German virtual carbon copy of a BMW pre-war car. In 1945, BMW’s production facilities were located in Eisenach in Thuringia; due to the problems generated by the Cold War, it took the Munich-based company until 1952 to enforce its copyright.

Restoring and researching

The showcase also gives a behind-the-scenes look at work in a museum. The cars aren’t simply parked in the depots.

Photo: This vintage car isn’t all bright and shiny but shows lots of signs of wear and tear and damage from rust.

An Adler Favorit from 1931: original paintwork and signs of wear and tear have been deliberately retained. The windows were sealed to prevent moths from getting at them.

Quite the contrary, they are protected from insects attacking the interiors for example and research is conducted on them too. Different approaches to restoration are also shown: some vehicles look brand new, others have retained their historic paintwork or deliberately manifest signs of wear and tear and neglect.

In the future, a key aspect of the museum’s work on the car collection will also be to look into the vehicles’ provenance to find out where they came from and who they belonged to. Particularly when the museum was started in the 1980s, many vehicles became part of the collection because they were gifted or purchased and former owners couldn’t always provide full details of where the vehicles came from or their history.

Header photo: The museum’s depot with the blue Citroen DS 19 to the front left and several antique cars in a row to the right. © SDTB / photo: Klaus Huber-Abendroth

© for all other photos: SDTB / C. Kirchner