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    European Adventures 2006

    Where to begin. I went to Europe to photograph a wedding but thought I'd make an adventure out of it. I drove to Maranello, Italy to visit Ferrari but that's not really the point of this post. I headed up North through the beautiful Swiss Alps to Stuttgart, Germany to visit both Mercedes Benz and Porsche. I stayed at the Achat Hotel Stuttgart directly down the block from the Porsche factory. In fact, this was the first thing I saw when I drove up to the hotel.



    A good sign! Since it was on a Sunday afternoon, the production line was stopped. I went to visit the Mercedes Benz Zentrum because it would be closed on Monday. Pictures from that can be found here: http://jasontang.virtuality.org/mbzentrum.

    Afterwards I took the time to walk around the Porsche factory taking a number of pictures:

    Here you can see that they're hard at work building the new Porsche Zentrum directly across the street from the dealership. This museum is set to open in the summer of 2007. You can bet that I'll be coming back then. More on the reasons why later.



    Rest of the images around the factory can be found here:

    http://jasontang.virtuality.org/porschefactoryarea

    One of the first things I noticed was Porsche had a very small facility compared to some of the other car factories I'd visited in the past. What's interesting is that they've managed to make efficient of the space allocated to them. Nothing was left to waste. More on that later.

    On the following day, I took the time to visit the Porsche dealership which was also located next to the factory. I spoke with a salesperson who was only too happy to fill me in on how things worked. If a customer were to walk in their dealership to order a car and there was an open allocation slot available, he/she could literally get a car within 1-2 weeks time. That was mind boggling for me, especially since I'm in the states and it'd take me some time before my car arrives after it's built.

    The dealership was a very slick setup:




    They even had a cutaway Turbo on display for all to see. I took quite a few pictures.


    Dealership pictures: http://jasontang.virtuality.org/porschedealership

    I also took the time to ask about a few things related to my car such as whether or not Cobalt or Lapis blue was a standard vs special order color. They referred me to someone over at Porsche HQ a couple blocks down, a Peter Frashka who was in charge of Customer Customization and the Tequipment section. He was only too happy to clarify that he thinks that Cobalt is standard only in Germany but still a special order color in the States. We also spoke about how his job allows him to come up with a number of different special color scheme cars. I thought this was a cool job!

    One of the many cars he put together for a customer was a special 997TT in Fountain blue with a custom Maserati/Sea blue leather interior.

    It really is an eye popping color:




    More pictures of this car here: http://jasontang.virtuality.org/997ttspecial

    I was also able to go on a brief factory tour. I saw how they built a number or different Porsche models on one assembly line which spans several floors. This setup takes advantage of the limited space. I believe that they build the 911, Boxster and perhaps the Cayman all in one assembly line. The highlight of the trip was seeing the 997TT engine fully assembled at the end of the tour! I wasn't able to take any pictures during this tour but trust me when I say that it was eye opening! A few things I learned from this tour were:

    -150 built a day with 2 shifts.
    -90 stations with 2-3 men per
    -A car comes off the assembly line every 5 minutes.
    -4800 employees
    -Takes a week to build a car
    -Each Cayman/Boxster engine is built in 2 hours by one man -Each man moves with the engine to each station as it's built.
    -All the other parts such as dashboard assembly, the men stays at a single station as the sections move along. They rotate thru different stations.
    -Only manufacturer in the world to put each individual motor thru 10 minutes of real world intensive testing. If it fails, it's taken off and rebuilt or rejected altogether.
    -Not much space so they built their assembly line vertically over several floors. They use elevators to transport each car between floors. -One assembly line built different types of 911s, Caymans and Boxsters. Only the Cayenne is built in Lepzig (sp?) -Each car is built to order -Each car has exact options built to specifications which would be why a car gets delayed if option changes are made.
    -Every car has some hand painted parts
    -Each car is signed in an area hidden after assembly.

    Afterwards, I also visited the very small museum and took a number of pictures.

    http://jasontang.virtuality.org/porschezentrum

    The next day just before leaving town, I took the time to stop by TechArt out in Leonburg just outside of central Stuttgart. Axel was happy to give me a tour of the facility showing me all sorts of cool toys that they have for various Porsches. I asked about the Turbo specifically because that's what I'm really interested in. They're planning to release a body kit for the Turbo fairly soon. It will look somewhat like the body kit available for the 996TT but have it's own distinctive look. Axel promised that we would not be disappointed. I'm planning to order the steering wheel with carbon fiber/leather so that's what I was shown. They make most if not all their things in-house. A pretty impressive operation if you ask me. What I also asked was whether they have any other performance mods available for the Turbo. Two that immediately came up were the progressive lowering springs and an exhaust system. The springs will be available in about two months' time but there's no release date yet for the exhaust system. I also wasn't too convinced about the TechArt Formula wheels until I saw them in person. I'm a little bit more convinced.



    Check out how good the seatbacks look when painted in aluminum look!



    Porsche offers the same thing but they don't paint the whole seatback. Only the large section but not the airbag nor the release cover.

    The steering wheel looks good doesn't it? Mine will be like this except that the top section will be CF and it won't have the "TechArt" logo.



    They had some very nice cars in the shop. Check out the rest of the pictures at:
    http://jasontang.virtuality.org/techart

    Overall, it was a good visit for me.

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    Very nice Jason

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    The fountain blue turbo is just WOW. Thanks so much for the pics of that one. It looks like polar silver, a bit blue-isher. Very nice car except for the weird steering wheel.

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    Jason, thanks for the great pics

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    great thanks,

    looks like polar silver to me ?

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    Looks like a fun trip, thanks for the pics.

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    If I remember correctly, if you see the Porsche Exclusive brochure, they actually have a Fountain Blue Carrera with beige leather with Fountain blue deviated stitching.

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    Great pictures Jason, thank you for taking the time to post such an extensive photo journal. It is greatly appreciated!

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    Wow, that Fountain Blue is beautiful, thanks for the pics Jason

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    thanks for all pictures!

    great trip!

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    Great Job !

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    AMAZING!

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    uaauuuuuuu THANKSSS

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    Felt like I was there . . . Thanks!

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    Thanks for the report and the nice pics!

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    thanks jason, really great photographs, next best thing to actually being there. looking forward to you going somewhere else fun soon..

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    Great pics.

    Though I give much credit to P Exclusive for allowing much personalization of car specs and executing the choices w/outstanding quality ....was disappointed to see that deviated stitching/carpet colors/more high-end leather (i.e., NGL quality w/blk color) is still not avail in US.

    Just had a 997TT Tip built this past wk....and P was unable to readily quote a price for airship and advised that, since P doesn't routinely airship, they couldn't assure that car would arrive much sooner than via boat....

    F has learned from and adopted P's smart (and very profitable) options pricing game, esp w/various Exclusive cf touches and w/pricing of CCM/racing seats, etc ....and F now has very efficient airshipping into SF ...perhaps the professor needs to learn a few tricks from the student here?....

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    Great pics,thanks

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    amazing report and amazing pictures, I really enjoyed it

    THANKS !!!

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    It looks like we were there possibly at the same time! One of my 'unofficially endorsed' photos....

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    ..and the Werks from das Casino

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    ...and the new museum site, from a higher vantage point.

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    Dan,your car looks stunning!!

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    Quote:
    Super Darius said:
    Dan,your car looks stunning!!



    You FOUND it mixed in with the silvers and blacks!

    Yea,--it was pretty easy to spot. I'm sorry I missed you at Como.

    Dan

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    if you haven't taken a look at jason's great photos of the dealership he vistited recently in germany , do it now. the photos of the cutaway tt are enlightning to say the least, if your like me and look at the car and wonder how did they ever get all the mechanicals under the taut skin..? it obviously wasn't easy. imo it's 50% engineering 50% art

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    One of the more amazing things in the cutaway 997TT is the size of the wiring harness that lays along the back firewall. It must be about 1.5 inches in diameter! No wonder they're going toward FO in the radio, nav, tele side of things. Weight savings.

    Dan

    Re: European Adventures 2006

    Isn't that someething? I found it fascinating how thick the wiring was back there! I'd wondered why Porsche hasn't switched over to fiber optic yet. My Beemer bike uses a fiber optic "CANBUS" system so why can't the Turbo have the same thing? Maybe the 998 will have that.

     
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