Museums

8 don’t-miss museums for Volkswagen brand enthusiasts

A Volkswagen ID.3 electric car stands on an elevator platform inside one of the twin towers used as storage at the Autostadt promotional facility next to the Volkswagen factory on October 26, 2020 in Wolfsburg, Germany. The facility contains a multi-brand museum.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Volkswagens hold a place in many hearts. From the classic Type 2 Bus to the sleek Karmann Ghia to the Beetle, there's a heritage of Volkswagens for nearly every type of enthusiast. Museums across the world are dedicated to sharing those models, including some of the rarest Volkswagens ever made. Scroll down to see some of the best places to see VWs.

LeMay – America's Car Museum (Tacoma, Washington, USA)

Volkswagen Type 2 at Lemay America's Car Museum

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen: "America's Car Museum preserves the history, technology and influence of cars in the U.S. through its 12 rotating exhibits. Among the museum's collection of over 250 cars is a light green 1967 Volkswagen Type 2 double-door camper (shown above), which has been restored with its original interior, wood cabinets, fold-down table and bed. The car was donated by renowned blown-glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, who was born in Tacoma. The museum also features a turquoise 1962 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, which was owned by museum founders Harold and Nancy LeMay."

AutoMuseum Volkswagen (Wolfsburg, Germany)

AutoMuseum Volkswagen is one of the few museums in the world dedicated entirely to Volkswagen branded automobiles. Among the models in the collection are a 1958 Volkswagen Beetle 1200 Convertible, 1969 "Herbie" Beetle, 1971 "Basket Beetle", and 1963 T1 fire brigade pickup truck.

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing (Ocala, Florida, USA)

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen: "Automotive engineer and racecar driver Don Garlits is considered the father of drag racing. As a young man, Garlits would buy a new Volkswagen every year, and the vintage vehicle wing of his museum reflects his love of the brand. Most notable in his collection is his green 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia that he purchased from a car dealership auction. The vehicle has only been driven for 27 dealer test miles and has never been titled. From the same auction, Garlits also purchased a black 1950 Volkswagen Beetle — one of only 151 that were imported to the U.S. that year — and restored it himself before displaying it at his museum."

Lane Motor Museum (Nashville, Tennessee, USA)

Lane Motor Museum has a rotating collection, of which five are Volkswagens: 1956 Volkswagen Beetle, 2002 Volkswagen Beetle, 2003 Volkswagen Beetle, 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit "Rocket Car", and 2014 Volkswagen XL1. The '81 and '14 models are the most unique. The Rocket Car has Buck Rogers fiberglass bodywork that helps the car reportedly get over 50 mpg. VW's XL1 is a diesel-powered plug-in hybrid. Just 200 were sold.

Volo Museum (Volo, Illinois, USA)

Volo Museum

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen: "On your next trip to the Windy City, head to the suburbs to see the Volo Museum's exhibits of classic cars, including many from TV and movies. The pearl white, No. 53 Beetle is a movie star worth visiting. About 35 models of the iconic car were built for the 2005 sequel, 'Herbie: Fully Reloaded,' but this model really does come to life, thanks to over a mile of wires concealed under the hood. The museum has rigged it to a motion sensor, so the Beetle still reacts when someone walks by."

ZeitHaus (Wolfsburg, Germany)

The Zeithaus museum is housed within the Autostadt, the world's largest new car delivery center. ZeitHaus is a multi-brand museum with over 60 brands represented. The museum is filled with examples of all aspects of automotive past and present, including concept cars, early autos, and examples of the automating process. Museum managers frequently change out the vehicles on display

The National Automobile Museum (Reno, Nevada, USA)

The National Automobile Museum

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen: "See over 200 vintage vehicles dating as far back as the 1890s in downtown Reno's National Automobile Museum. An air-cooled, four-cylinder black 1947 Volkswagen Type II Limousine is on display. Visitors are often surprised to see that the small four-seat car is called a "limousine," but in Germany where the car was built, the term simply means "full-sized sedan." A ruby-red 1964 Volkswagen 1200 Deluxe Convertible is also on display, after being completely disassembled and restored by the museum."

The Petersen Museum (Los Angeles, California, USA)

The Petersen Museum

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen: "With over 100,000 square feet of exhibits and 300 vehicles, the Petersen Museum is one of the world's largest automotive museums. Its exhibits feature many iconic Volkswagens, including the yellow 1979 Volkswagen Transporter Van driven in the 2006 film, "Little Miss Sunshine." Also on display is the 1966 Volkswagen Type 2 "Jenkins Bus," formerly used by civil rights pioneers Esau and Janie B. Jenkins in Johns Island, South Carolina. The bus was used to transport hundreds of residents of the island to Charleston, where they could attend high school. The Jenkins family helped Black citizens pass discriminatory voting literacy tests, and later opened businesses on Johns Island to support the community. The bus has been carefully preserved and still bears the marks of its over 40 years with the Jenkins family."

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VW purchased the rights to the iconic Scout name and plans to make new EVs under the brand.

Volkswagen

Automakers bring back names and brands from the past all the time, but it's not every day that a major company purchases a brand name specifically for the purpose of reviving it. That's exactly what Volkswagen just did with Scout, the name of an ultra-popular off-road SUV that was built by International Harvester in the 1960s and 1970s.

As for the types of vehicles we'll see from the brand, we currently only have the renders to go on. The pickup truck and SUV both feature throwback styling that is reminiscent of the original Scout shapes. Beefy off-road tires and lifted suspension are the only other clues available in the drawings.

Volkswagen has its own EVs, and its other brands like Audi and Porsche have made significant progress with electric vehicles as well. That said, VW doesn't really have a solid off-road option from any of its brands at the moment, so the Scout purchase opens doors for the automaker in that arena.

The announcement sounds exciting, but we've still got plenty of time to wait before there's a Scout-branded EV on the roads. Volkswagen said the plan is to release vehicles by 2026, but it won't be sitting idle between now and then. The VW ID.4 is still very fresh and the automaker says it will launch a total of 25 new EVs in the U.S. by 2030.

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New performance sedan

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 on the way with F1 tech

The new C 43 gets engine tech straight from Formula 1.

Mercedes-AMG

It's about time we started considering Mercedes-AMG's 43-level cars in some of the same conversations that include the 53- and 63-level monsters. Today, Mercedes-AMG announced the 2023 C 43 Sedan. But even though it's the "entry-level" C-Class performance car, AMG gave it some serious upgrades, including standard rear-wheel steering, a mild-hybrid system, and plenty of power.

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 SedanRear-wheel steering is standard, as is adaptive suspension. Mercedes-AMG

The new turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 402 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque - up from last year's 385 ponies. It's paired with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and rear-biased all-wheel drive. Mercedes says the powertrain is strong enough to propel the C43 to 60 mph from a standstill in just 4.6 seconds.

The four-cylinder is the first production engine with an electric exhaust-gas turbocharger. The tech came directly from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team, who won the 2021 Constructor's Championship. Where traditional turbochargers have to build boost over a short period of time, an electric motor spins the turbo to start before allowing the exhaust gases to take over. The system is driven by the car's 48-volt mild-hybrid system and should reduce turbo lag and improve responsiveness.

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 SedanThe car's electric turbocharger is a first in a production car. Mercedes-AMG

Five driving modes are available, including Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport +, and Individual. The drive modes alter throttle and steering response, transmission shift points, exhaust sound, and settings for the adaptive dampers. Shockingly, the car comes standard with rear-wheel steering with an angle of up to 2.5 degrees. The system works at speeds of up to 37 mph, and can drastically reduce the C 43's turning radius while improving turn-in and handling.

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