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Another ED Thread

 
Old 06-06-2015, 01:09 PM
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Default Another ED Thread - Delivered!

After CarChick bought her 981 in late 2013, I realized, viscerally, that despite the fact that my latest acquisition - a TT-RS - was, by the numbers 'better' (for some values of 'better') and cost about $20k less than her Cayman S, her Porsche was $20k more car than my Audi. So, I got jealous. And I began playing with the Configurator.

Long story short, after about a year of almost-nightly playing with the Configurator I decided exactly what I wanted. Just after the New Year, I pulled the trigger. CarChick was with me and after I'd done the handshake deal she pipes up and says "Oh, I want to do ED and call it an Anniversary vacation. And, I want to drive it on the Nordschleife too."

A funny look crossed our salesman's face for an instant after this declaration. I would later learn that the expression was due to the dealer having to foot the $3200 bill for ED and that my SA had given me more of a discount off sticker than he would have had he known we'd want ED. Oh well, merde happens.

At that point, I stopped playing with the Configurator and began planning the trip. Here's how it turned out...

Last edited by worf928; 07-15-2015 at 09:00 PM. Reason: kant spel; not a hog
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Old 06-06-2015, 01:18 PM
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Default Day 1

We left Yankee Land on Saturday night and arrived in Frankfurt Sunday at noon. At that point all we needed to do was to collect the rental car and head to our first destination.

This is what Hertz gives you when you ask for a Ford Focus but intend to drop it off at another location. At least it was manual shift. And, we'd only be using it for one leg of the trip so I didn't complain. I'd been up for 36 hours and didn't have the energy. Talk about a POS though. At 120 kph it was scary.



The view from our B&B (thanks to airbnb.com) was pretty nice and relaxing:


We unpacked and then did a recon mission to make sure we knew our way for the next morning. When we saw this we both starting getting excited:



Mission accomplished: we knew exactly how to get to where we were going bright and early on Monday morning:


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Old 06-06-2015, 02:00 PM
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Default Day 2

We arrived at RSR Nürburg at 7:30 AM for the driver's briefing. I'd booked two cars, two instructors and 18 laps total. The RSR folks are great and they've got quite the operation. They have a permanent presence at three tracks in Europe and 70+ cars ranging from a bunch Renault Cleos to a McLaren.

All cars are inspected top-to-bottom after each client is done. And normal wear - pads, rotors, tires, etc. - is dealt with for the next client. And, of course, any abnormal wear - bent rims from taking curbs, warped rotors from not cooling down - is billed to the client.

My 'weapon' for the day would be this. I hadn't counted on the wrap though:


CarChick got her familiar 981CS:


Why? You have to ask? I know where my bread is buttered. However, there were logical reasons. There was no point in renting a GT3 for our first Nordscheife laps. No. Point. Whatsoever. CarChick's tracked her 981S and the Scirocco's controls are Corporate VAG like my TT-S DD. Renting cars that we were familiar with meant that we could concentrate on the track and not be distracted when we needed to find controls. Like the windshield wipers. This would prove to be a very good decision because...



... it started raining as we were climbing into the cars with our instructors.

There was no way we were going to NOT go out.

I could write a lot about the track. It's not at all like the You Tube clips. Well... it is. And it isn't. More on that later.

We got one lap with our instructors and then we were all on our own. Having the instructor on board for one lap is, I think, more for RSR's benefit than for the driver. I guess it gives them a chance to figure out if they need to preemptively have the flatbed and ambulance on their way. Mostly, they impress upon you that damn near all of the corners are blind and that you have to be constantly scanning for faster traffic behind you. As far as learning the track goes, yes, my instructor gave me pointers for each of the 170+ corners. I remembered about five of them.

It was at this point that I was actually glad it was raining. The rain forced everyone - well, almost everyone - to slow down considerably. I had time to really try to pick out lines, try to remember what my instructor told me and I had plenty of time to react to the few cars that came up behind me.

Basically, the wet track was almost empty. It was great.

The one exception to 'everyone going slower' was some bat-$h1+ crazy dude in a 60s-era Mini Copper modified to look like a Group B rally car. Apparently, no one told him it was raining and neither he nor the car cared. So, I must assume that it didn't just look like a Group B rally car.

I later found out that Mr. Bat S. Crazy's real name is Achim and that he's the Instructor Instructor. A quick Google results in many hits I will need to checkout later.

I did two sessions of three laps and one session of two laps with a break between. Three laps was about right. I could tell in the middle of the third lap that I would probably lose concentration on the fourth.

CarChick did the same three lap session lengths I did. On her seventh lap she got the Cayman totally sideways in the wet, recovered nicely, but decided to call it a day and head back to RSR to change out of her brown pants. (The T&Cs for renting from RSR are that you are responsibly for the first XX,XXX Euros of damage if you get it sticky side up. XX,XXX for the 981 is a considerable amount.)
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Old 06-06-2015, 06:31 PM
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Default Day 3

The next morning started out again at RSR's Nürburg base of operations. However, today we'd be driving this V8 M3 (not pictured at RSR's BOO):



Day three's agenda was a driving tour led by RSR's event coordinator Veltin. Equipped with handheld radios we headed off with the Cleo RS leading, a nice couple from Switzerland in the Lotus in the middle and the M3 playing caboose.

Our first 'stop' wasn't really a stop, but a slow drive along Gottlieb Daimler Staße (which runs parallel to the main straight of the Nordscheife) with Veltin pointing out and providing some info on each of the development centers along both sides. That might sound boring, but if you're into racing it isn't. One thing we noticed is that the high-end manufacturer's centers are unlabeled - AMG for instance - while those that need publicity - like... umm... GM - have signs. Take note of that observation.

After that we hit the road:


You'll note that we have a clear view of the Lotus and the Cleo is heading towards the horizon. Veltin had a lead foot and it was work, but fun, to keep up with him. I noted that the roads around Nürburg were fantastic. Not just in terms of curves and view but also in condition. Veltin was about to explain why.

Not too long after we took that picture we stopped at the outside apex of a curve in the road. Along the inside of the curve was a big pond that apparently is the place where frogs go to have fun. So much so that the nature conscious Germans have built frog crossing tunnels underneath the road. However, that's not why we stopped.

In the immediate vicinity of where we parked was a roadside shrine with fresh flowers. It's dedicated to two manufacturer test drivers who died at that spot. Apparently, the public roads around Nürburg are the 'unofficial' test roads. The manufacturers know who to keep happy to ensure that the roads are in good condition and to ensure that they are lightly patrolled outside of the villages. In this case a driver for Lexus was flogging a test mule and had a head-on with another mule-flogging driver coming the other way at that curve in the road. A sad story that.

In the US you might expect the locals to 'do something' about these automotive engineers and test drivers using the local roads. In and around Nürburg though, everyone derives income from the Nürburgring. It is the economy. Farmers store race cars in their barns for clients. Tons of homes have a listing on airbnb or similar.

Back to signage on manufacturer's facilities... after driving for about 15 minutes Veltin slows down to match the village speed limit for a tiny village - even by German "Dorf" standards - and, on the radio, directs our attention to this facility located in these unremarkable boondocks:



Here, I'll give you a hint:

Anyone looking for it ain't gonna find it. You have to know where it is.

This was one of the next stops along the way:


Any guesses? It's one of the remaining sections of the Südscheife. The South Loop of the Nürburg ring. The section that in particular earned this track the moniker of The Green Hell. They actually raced Formula 1 cars on this. If you went off you went into the trees where you'd only be found after the end of the race when they counted cars.

We stopped several more times at various spots adjacent to the Nordscheife. There was a organized (non-public) track day on-going. There were lots of expensive, not-so-expensive, and seriously-expensive cars on the track. Veltin provided captivating stories at each stop. For example: Breidsheid is the best corner to have a crash. Because one of the two on-station ambulances is feet from the corner and the hospital in Adenau is about two minutes away. A friend of Veltin's - a test driver for Bentley - learned that lesson the hard way after experiencing mechanical failure.

Those are some of the highlights of the tour. It wasn't all car-related. But it did end up here:



Anything you've seen on TV doesn't come close to capturing the majesty of this track. And pictures are also a sad representation. That view in particular shows you how the track sprawls across the Ardennes. And that view is something you would have during an F1 race only if you are super-tight with Rolex.

Last edited by worf928; 07-06-2015 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 06-06-2015, 07:09 PM
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Default Day 4

Day 4 started off where day 3 ended.

As in the previous, a picture of Eau Rouge doesn't convey the elevation change. When you are coming toward it from La Source it looks like a wall in front of you.

Before we got to go out we did a track walk. Looking at it the other way, a picture still doesn't convey the feeling you get when you are standing at the top of it. Looking at the drop-off, your reptilian brain is unsure if you'd roll all the way down if you tripped and fell.


We had an instructor for the whole day. He was awesome. By the end of our day I was pushing hard - as hard as a Scirocco can - through all the corners except Eau Rouge. That one is hard to get right. All you see is asphalt through the windshield until all you see is sky. It brings a new meaning to blind corner.

One thing though: the format was 'open pit' and not at all like our PCA DE events. There was no segregation for speed or experience classes. Go out whenever. There were first-timers like us in front-wheel drive sporty-econo-boxes mixed in with GT3s being driven by experienced drivers. There were even two freekin' DTM Cars on the track. Seeing one of those things at full boogie in your rear view while you are braking for the bus stop will make you want to head to the run-off. It did me.

We got in about 30 laps between me, CarChick and the instructor. He drove about 5 demo laps during the day. I was more than a little worried about that XX,XXX abnormal wear-and-tear clause in the RSR T&Cs when he was driving. But, he made that 'rocco dance and showed me a number of interesting things. For example: Malmedy is actually a straight, Pouhon is all about moving the steering wheel once and then letting steady throttle carry you to the second apex, and the apex for Stavelot is the whole inside. I got each corner right at least once but was able to get only one perfect lap in.

Since we had to be in Stuttgart bright and early we had to head out before 3. We didn't get to this bad boy hit the track:


A couple of days later, I was able to put two-and-two together. This 918 had temporary plates good until June 3rd and was quite likely a Leipzig ED.

Last edited by worf928; 07-06-2015 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 06-06-2015, 09:20 PM
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Thank you for the personal and insightful posts. I felt a little bit closer to really being at the Ring. Keep the stories coming!

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Old 06-07-2015, 06:13 AM
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I've edited the thread title. It turns out that, since I crop and resize my pictures to 800x600 before embedding them, that this thread is, comparatively, very bandwidth friendly.

Originally Posted by TerryO View Post
Thank you for the personal and insightful posts. I felt a little bit closer to really being at the Ring. Keep the stories coming!
Thanks. I may post more later today, but our trip doesn't get back to the 'ring for a few days.
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Old 06-07-2015, 08:57 AM
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Default Day 5

After thanking our Spa instructor and bidding our RSR hosts a temporary farewell, we climbed into the scheißestück Mietwagen and headed south. For the next 6 to 12 months I would recommend that anyone following our footsteps avoid the west side of Mannheim. The A61 loop around it has 3 long construction zones of stop-and-go-and-mostly-stopped traffic. Once south of Mannheim the traffic thinned enough to make some progress.

On our way east from Mannheim I was reminded that a friend of ours had recommended a visit to the German Transportation Museum. As we passed through Sinsheim it became obvious that even if the place we saw from the car was not 'The' German Transportation Museum we'd still need to take some time to stop at Sinsheim out on our way back north on Friday.

Towards the end of Day 4, we'd found our way to the Hotel in Stuttgart. I then spent about a hour trying to figure out how to return the rental. The Hertz office in the the center of Stuttgart was shown on google maps directly across from our hotel. When we got to the Hotel the spot across the street was a big crater. No rental office. Fun. Not.

I'll spare you blow-by-blow details about the Hotel except for this summary: the outside was designed by a Russian escapee from a Siberian prison camp, the plumbing was designed by a Frechman, the electrical components were Italian and the staff was Greek. Basically, nothing worked too well, the staff was pleasant and attempted to be helpful but as a whole they were a study in disorganization.

But, we didn't go to Stuttgart for the Hotels.

Day 5 started bright and early. CarChick was at least twice as excited as I was. We arrived at Porsche a few minutes early and were treated to coffee and breakfast (if we wanted any.) At the appointed time we were escorted into the delivery room.

I was a bit disappointed to see that most of the cars to be delivered that day were... not GT3 RSs or wild PTS colors:


Oh. Wait. I lied. There were a couple worth mentioning


And, of course, the one providing our reason for being here in the first place:


Our "delivery consultant" - Louis - was a trip. Originally a New York City boy, he'd joined the Army and did his tours in Germany. Subsequently, he stayed, got married (perhaps not exactly in that order) and got a job at Porsche in the post-assembly repair shop. (If you know your Porsche history, you'll know that prior to the 90s there was a lot of work to be done in the post-assembly repair shop.) From there he moved-on to the factory floor and then later to test driving. At this point he's a couple of years away from retirement and is finishing his career at Porsche with the happy job of introducing freshly-minted Porsches to their new owners.

After showing me the ins-and-outs - all identical to CarChick's 981 - he set the Nav with two stored destinations: Porsche and our Hotel. After that it was time to very, very carefully, drive out of the delivery show room and park in the customer parking lot.

Personally, I think I'm pretty good at building a Porsche

At that point we dropped our cell phones into a plastic bucket and began our factory tour. Our tour guide was an Engineering Intern who spoke good English and preferred to give the English-language tours because they were smaller and didn't have to stick to a schedule as much as the much larger German-language tours. Besides us the tour consisted of two blokes from Jolly England picking up a Sapphire 981S.

The tour is awesome and you don't have to buy a new Porsche to go on it. We all had lots of questions, with CarChick asking the most technical in terms of assembly technology none of which stumped our guide. He knew his $h1+.

When we were in the engine shop I ask our tour guide if he could take us to the room where they were testing the new flat-4 turbos. He paused and with the barest hint of a grin said: "I have no idea what you're talking about."

One thing on the tour, in particular, stood out. I might not have noticed if our guide hadn't pointed it out: After the marriage of body and drive train the coupes are supported on the factory jack points by big (likely pneumatic) platforms that raise them to a convenient height for door installation. Note I wrote 'the coupes.' The Cabs and Targas, however, move through the line on their wheels. Why? Because if supported from the jack points they bend just enough that the doors can't be installed properly. This is something to keep in mind if you own a Cab or Targa and do your own work on a lift or stands.

As we finished the tour and were walking back to the customer area, we stopped at a crosswalk as a freshly-assembled GT3 rolled off the line. I motioned for the grinning driver to go on ahead, but he declined and motioned us on. I noticed the expression on the driver's face and as I walked in front of it, I remarked to our tour "that guy has the best job in the world." Well, the window was down on the GT3 and the driver heard me. His grin got even wider. Then I said "and he KNOWs he has the best job in the world" at which point the driver started laughing.

Our tour guide was a nonplussed and pointed the other way and said "no. He has the best job in the world." He was pointing to the very-serious-looking guy driving 918s onto the enclosed transport truck.

After the tour we were shuttled over to the restaurant where we had our very-good lunch. Afterwards we headed over to the Museum. There are plenty of pictures on various threads about what's in the Museum so I will only post a picture of what captivated my attention the most:



This display is an exploded view - with real parts - of the twin-turbo 180° V12 used in the 917/30. It developed well over 1000 hp. I could have studied these bits for hours.

Thus ended Day 5.

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Old 06-07-2015, 10:19 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by worf928 View Post
After CarChick bought her 981 in late 2013, I realized, viscerally, that despite the fact that my latest acquisition - a TT-RS - was, by the numbers 'better' (for some values of 'better') and cost about $20k less than her Cayman S, her Porsche was $20k more car than my Audi. So, I got jealous. And I began playing with the Configurator.

Long story short, after about a year of almost-nightly playing with the Configurator I decided exactly what I wanted. Just after the New Year, I pulled the trigger. CarChick was with me and after I'd done the handshake deal she pipes up and says "Oh, I want to do ED and call it an Anniversary vacation. And, I want to drive it on the Nordschleife too."

A funny look crossed our salesman's face for an instant after this declaration. I would later learn that the expression was due to the dealer having to foot the $3200 bill for ED and that my SA had given me more of a discount off sticker than he would have had he known we'd want ED. Oh well, merde happens.

At that point, I stopped playing with the Configurator and began planning the trip. Here's how it turned out...
A little off topic from your trip. But there was some talk of putting a PDK transmission in the TT RS in Europe... Do you know if that ever happened. I heard a test mule TT RS with PDK was doing sub 4 second 0 to 60 Runs at will. But the VW group couldn't have that happen in the US Market. It would have skewed purchases from Boxster's and Cayman's which they make more money on. Personally I would have loved to have that combo; TT RS with PDK. To Porsche it was too much performance for such a little price. So the "Higher-Up's" made the decision to use a manual to slow the car down. Can you Imagine getting 95% of the performance of the GT3 for over less than half the price? Can't have that!
But let me just say I'm getting rather eager for the next TT.

And that 917 is crazy, talking about the monster of the 12 Cylinder engine. No wonder Porsche dominated with that car. Youtube has video's of team's starting up that flat 12. Lovely sound that you can't talk over, well just barely.

And finally that car of yours is looking pretty sick. Personally I'm going to get Arena

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Old 06-07-2015, 11:16 AM
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Thanks for the account worf928. Funny how the factory guys are locked down on stuff that has been in the press for months about new models, engines, etc.

I trust that you are driving your TT now. Enjoy the journey! Try to get to Mont Tremblant in early July for the three day.
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Old 06-07-2015, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Tacet-Conundrum View Post
A little off topic from your trip. But there was some talk of putting a PDK transmission in the TT RS in Europe... Do you know if that ever happened.
As far as I know it happened first - as in: before the manual. DSG RSs were all over Europe a couple of years before 2012 when it hit here. I think they were available from 2009? Or maybe '10.

I heard a test mule TT RS with PDK was doing sub 4 second 0 to 60 Runs at will.
Hell, you can do that with the 6-speed if you are good. The motor in the RS is a beast. And that's on the stock tune. To put it into perspective a 3.4 liter version of that motor with the existing de-tuned mid-range would have 490 horsepower with 490 ft-lbs of torque available from 1800 rpm. That also gives a clue as to the potential performance of the new Porsche turbo flats that will come soon (although we know that that potential will not be approached for years.)

But the VW group couldn't have that happen in the US Market. It would have skewed purchases from Boxster's and Cayman's which they make more money on.
I think you've got it wrong. The RS was knocking on R8 territory. Also don't confuse the timing. During the inception of the Mk2 TT Porsche was still separate from VAG. And while the RS is by the numbers a 'Cayman' killer, if you drive both in anger you will realize...

Re-read what I wrote: The RS is a great car, but the 981 is worth the extra money.

While the Mk II RS is a great car it is way too nose heavy and suffers from Audi's front-suspension-designed-by-lawyers. And it suffers - in comparision to 981/991 Porsches - from many other things, but those are the biggies.

Personally I would have loved to have that combo; TT RS with PDK.
If the RS had been offered in the US with PDK (DSG) I would have had that instead of the 6-speed. I might even not have pined for something else. As it was I didn't drive the RS much because during the week the 6-speed was an annoyance as compared to my TT-S with DSG. Then, on the weekend when I wanted a fun drive, the supercharged 928 GT (5-speed) was the go-to car. That will still be the case now. The 991 will be my three-season DD with the twin-screwed 928 as the 'fun' car. No, I'm not kidding. (Also, I have something else for the track.)

Can you Imagine getting 95% of the performance of the GT3 for over less than half the price? Can't have that!
If you want to talk straight line sure. But the RS can't keep up on the track with 'actual' sports cars with 3/4 or less of the power.

But let me just say I'm getting rather eager for the next TT.
I am not. At all. The design changes to the interior are a turn-off for me. I really, really like the more-buttons interior of the 981/991. I will try out a Mk3 at some point, but I don't see one in my near future.

And that 917 is crazy, talking about the monster of the 12 Cylinder engine.
The 917/30 is what caused Mark Donahue to conceive a famous quote: "I always thought that in order to be safe a car needed 1000 hp."

And finally that car of yours is looking pretty sick. Personally I'm going to get Arena
Thanks. My TT-S is orange. I wanted a less-memorable color for my new DD.

Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
I trust that you are driving your TT now.
911s do not fit in overhead compartments. Nor can you check them as baggage. I'm 3 to 5 weeks out on having it in the States.

Try to get to Mont Tremblant in early July for the three day.
I like Mont Tremblant. Except when it's wet. However, this year I'll probably stay closer to home. Last year a new track was opened (Thompson) that's 55 minutes from our house. Can't beat that with a stick.
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Old 06-07-2015, 02:28 PM
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Is anyone interested in Days 6 - 12? Or is this boring?
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Old 06-07-2015, 03:39 PM
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Continue please...
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Old 06-07-2015, 05:42 PM
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The goal for Day 6 was to end-up north of Frankfurt. We'd booked a place for two nights that was in the vicinity of my relatives. We knew the trip wouldn't take all day so on Day 4 we'd decided to spend a few hours on our way to Frankfurt at the Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim. Little did we know at the time that a few hours wasn't going to cut it.

This place is composed of two giant warehouse-sized multilevel display areas along with whatever they can line up outside. Inside, it's jam packed:

This place features a little bit... no a lotta bit of everything. We've got about a hundred pictures. These are chosen to give you an idea of just how much interesting stuff is here. They've got everything from well-selected American cars from the 50s, to Ferraris, to F1 cars, planes, trains, ship engines, steam-powered electric generators.

Tanks:


Hitler's armored Mercedes:


Planes stuck on the roof (this is what you see from the highway when you drive past the Museum):


If you look closely you can see the winding staircases that leads into the Tu-144 (there's a staircase into the Concord too but that's clipped in the picture.) You can climb those stairs and walk up the passenger compartments of the planes to the cockpits. Here's the cockpit of the Tu-144.

Several of the other planes allow interior access. A couple of those along with the Concord feature a slide that kids can use to slide down from plane level to ground level. The slide from the Concord deposits into the lobby of the second display hanger. I quickly learned the German phrase for "I gotta climb up and do it again Mom!"

There are dozens of exhibits where, when you see it and read the display's placard you ask yourself "how the heck did they get that?

Here's ... I dunno ... Ten Million Euro worth of Bugatti race cars and one of the seven Royale 41s.


You could easily spend a day here then come back the next week and spend a day noticing stuff you didn't see the week before. There's stuff strapped to the walls, hanging from the ceiling, on catwalks. It goes on and on. I was kinda done - overloaded - after two hours. But, CarChick dragged me through the whole thing.
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Old 06-08-2015, 12:01 AM
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Please continue, I'm enjoying your updates, very interesting!
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