What is new at the Volkswagen AutoMuseum? New exhibits, the latest developments, celebrity visitors – we keep you up to date.

Chico exhibit from 1991/92 partially restored.

24 May 2018. The Chico was a small economy concept car of which three were built and showed for the first time at the 1991 Frankfurt Motor Show. It was built by Volkswagen's R&D department. In different economic circumstances, it might well have had a chance of going into production. Consideration was given to making the 3.15 metre long two-door hatchback 20 cm longer in its production version. It was a hybrid vehicle – as is very much on-trend nowadays – featuring a small two-cylinder petrol engine developing 34 horsepower and an asynchronous electric motor producing 7 kW, equivalent to 9.5 horsepower. The Chico had a number of sophisticated design features – especially its four-way hinged doors which provided for easier entry and exit in tight parking spaces, its head-up display, and a trip computer. The vehicle is one of the highlights of the AutoMuseum's collection, but has suffered some damage over the course of time. Thanks to work by the recently re-established Friends of the Volkswagen AutoMuseum, volunteers under the guidance of former VW R&D employee Christian Bartsch and a team from EDAG Wolfsburg-Warmenau have got together to restore it to exhibition condition. They have undertaken great efforts, employing industry-standard moulding techniques to gradually restore the shovel-shaped wheel arches and the vehicle's interior. The Friends have already had success in restoring other vehicles in the AutoMuseum's collection, and their work is greatly appreciated.

A yellow and black parade.

20 May 2018. The morning quiet at the Volkswagen AutoMuseum was broken shortly before the official opening time by the burble of Boxer engines from 14 yellow and black liveried race cars. The special Beetle model – a production run of 3,700 back in 1973 – remains highly popular to this day. There are currently about 100 known exemplars of the model in existence. And a community has grown up around it which meets on a quasi-annual basis. This time the group undertook a trip to Wolfsburg, the Beetle's birthplace, where organiser Carsten Meyer had come up with a wide-ranging Volkswagen-based programme for the attendees to enjoy. The event began in the modern-day world, with a factory tour. After visiting the Autostadt, on Whit Sunday the group headed to the Volkswagen AutoMuseum. There they proudly exhibited their magnificent racers in the museum's car park – much to the delight of the other visitors. The glorious sunny weather was perfect for taking a spin in a classic car, so that was how the afternoon was spent. But before that the fan group thoroughly enjoyed a comprehensive tour of the Volkswagen treasure trove under the guidance of Ernst Lilje from the museum's staff. For some of the group, who had come from far and wide, it was the first time they had visited the Volkswagen AutoMuseum – but certainly not the last.

Customised Pickup from Sweden stops by the AutoMuseum.

2 May 2018. The traditional start to the classic vehicle season in Germany is the large-scale Beetle meet on May 1st in Hanover. Once again this year, the big crowds drawn by the event also boosted visitor numbers at the Volkswagen AutoMuseum. Two of those visitors were Ulf Karwik and Ore Persson from Östersund in Sweden, who undertook the 1500 kilometre trip from their home, via Gothenburg and Kiel, first to the great Beetle family get-together in Hanover, and then on to the AutoMuseum in Wolfsburg. The vehicle they made the trip in was a special one: a Beetle Pickup, a modification of a 1956 Beetle carried out by Karwik's father four years after acquiring it from new. He developed the idea after visiting the Volkswagen factory in 1955 as part of his work for the company's Swedish importer and seeing a number of Beetles being run as Pickups there. It took a few years before he had built up the confidence to undertake his own customisation based on what he had seen in Wolfsburg though. The long-established family treasure has regularly been driven on summer-time trips all around Europe ever since. The two present-day travellers this year had all the AutoMuseum staff sign the Pickup's bonnet in commemoration of their visit to Wolfsburg.

AutoMuseum at classic vehicle meet in Braunschweig.

1 May 2018. The Volkswagen AutoMuseum recently exhibited for the first time at the all-makes classic vehicle meet in the neighbouring city of Braunschweig. Beate Harris and Kalle Forytta – the latter of whom was one of the founding members of the Friends of the Volkswagen AutoMuseum – attended the meet in fitting style in the 1975 Jeans Beetle. As well as engaging in lots of interesting dialogue with the attendees, the museum staff also offered a small selection of items from their shop range at the event, and promoted their special exhibition and the upcoming flea-market at the museum, all of which was very well received. The two also of course very much enjoyed checking out the other classic vehicles on show at the meet, including a historic scooter and a convoy of fire trucks. This year's was the 37th meet in Braunschweig.

Retiring after 50 years and one month.

26 April 2018. It was to be a special day for Wolfgang Hammerschmidt: After his 50 years and one month working for the German Postal Service, head of the Volkswagen Post Office Jürgen Gentemann and his colleagues were certainly not going to see him off without ceremony. As a big thank-you for his many years of close collaboration, they invited him to a photo-shoot in the Volkswagen AutoMuseum. There Hammerschmidt had the opportunity to sit in the Post Office yellow Fridolin van and officially handed over the post to the Volkswagen staff one last time. Postie Hammerschmidt started as an apprentice with the German Postal Service in Wolfsburg on April 1st 1968. It was in 1971 that he took over post deliveries to the Volkswagen plant. He was responsible for delivering letters and – back then still – telegrams too. His wife Rita is now looking forward to spending more time together, and after 50 years no longer having to iron Post Office uniform shirts! The Fridolin van was produced in small volumes exclusively for the German Postal Service (though some of them did find their way to the Swiss Postal Service). It was based on the Karmann Ghia type 14, and was built at Westfalia in Rheda-Wiedenbrück between 1965 and 1972.

Opening of the new special bicycle exhibition.

27 March 2018. The Volkswagen AutoMuseum's new special exhibition, "Trends on two wheels", is devoted to the history and use of the bicycle. It's very much in keeping with the times, because cycling is becoming increasingly popular – as was demonstrated by the great interest in the exhibition. Over 100 guests attended the official opening, where they were treated to an interesting and entertaining presentation by exhibition curator and bicycle expert Ingo Kollibay. His aim was to create an exhibition which would highlight the diversity of bicycle variants, featuring small production run models as well as lots of unique custom bikes, including one made of bamboo and a lowrider. There are 55 exhibits in all – thanks in part to the many loaned items on show. Tobias Ludwig from Volkswagen enthusiastically presented "his" e-bike prototypes, under the motto "Micro Mobility". They proved very popular, and would doubtless find buyers. The bike culture at the Volkswagen factory is reflected in presentations featuring the simple works bike and its role on the site. The exhibition includes five portraits of company employees who are glad to have one of the bikes to get them around the huge site. They, and some of their colleagues who cycle to work every day, were also in attendance in person at the evening event.

AutoMuseum places first Volkswagen robot in Wolfsburg factory.

22 March 2018. In order to meet their own high quality demands, in 1973 Volkswagen's in-house product planning engineers began developing and building the first robots themselves for the electronic spot-welding of Golf 1 bodies. "Robbi 1" remained in operation from 1975 to 1978 before being decommissioned and finding a new home in the AutoMuseum. In 2014 it was exhibited in the special exhibition commemorating 40 Years of the Golf, providing a striking demonstration of how automation in production took off. It has now been loaned back to the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg, where it is on display for the many visitors to enjoy on their factory tours.

AutoMuseum exhibiting at Techno Classica.

21 to 25 March 2018. The Volkswagen AutoMuseum Foundation attended the Techno Classica in Essen, presenting four of its vehicle exhibits at the show, which to once again this time around achieved record visitor numbers. The Volkswagen Classic stand featured the two concept cars ESVW 1 and IRVW Futura, both of which were key ground-breakers for technologies that are today common in mass production. Alongside them on the stand in Group Hall 7.0, the Autostadt, were two alternatively powered vehicles from the museum's collection: a gas turbine powered T2 Bus (also featuring an additional power pack from the AutoMuseum's motor cabinet) as well as a Passat B6 with a CNG motor. Sustainable future-proof technologies are becoming increasingly important, especially at Volkswagen. And it's good to see how the evidence of past progress is being preserved. 25 March 2018. The Volkswagen AutoMuseum Foundation attended the Techno Classica in Essen, presenting four of its vehicle exhibits at the show, which

Nordhoff's Beetle in front of Nordhoff's villa.

20 March 2018. It was 70 years ago that the man who made the Beetle a global mass-seller came to Wolfsburg. He ran Volkswagen for 20 years, and it is 50 years since his death. To mark the anniversary, classic car magazine "Auto Bild-Klassik" requested the Volkswagen AutoMuseum to loan it the Nordhoff family's own Beetle for a photo shoot in front of the Nordhoff villa. The villa has for some years been privately owned by Rolf Schnellecke, a former mayor of Wolfsburg, who was all too pleased to place the villa and its garden at the magazine's disposal for the shoot. Over tea, coffee and cake, he talked about his time as the town's mayor, and about his historic house, which remains largely in its original condition. So on the evening of February 6th 2018, the car was once again parked in the garage where it had previously been housed in the period from 1960 to 1988. The Golf-blue export Beetle was driven mainly by Nordhoff's wife Charlotte. It nowadays spends most of its time at the AutoMuseum, and has even become a much sought-after Lego kit. The story of Nordhoff and his work is featured in the latest issue of the magazine (04/2018).

Europe in a VW T3 Bus.

15 March 2018. All good things come in threes: World-traveller Oliver Lück, his dog Locke and his classic VW Bus recently made their third appearance at the Volkswagen AutoMuseum. Lück took his audience of some 40 people on a captivating journey all around Europe. The author of "Neues vom Nachbarn" [News from the neighbour] conveyed his special experiences from different countries – and especially of their people – through illustrative, striking and in part humorous photographs. Lück shot the images over the past 20 years on his journeys around the continent, and his commentary provides an interesting and entertaining accompaniment. His focus is on the extraordinary life-stories of the people he encountered – whatever the country, whether in a big city or the remotest of rural areas. The author also reveals that he is still today in touch with many of the people he so lovingly portrayed on his travels. He began his talk in Wolfsburg by explaining how his love for the VW Bus was first born – and why he is still an enthusiastic driver of the T3 even today.

Marking International Women's Day with the Beetle.

8 March 2018. International Women's Day is celebrated worldwide, including within the Research and Development department at Volkswagen. Once a year, the female members of the Works Council invite all women (and men are welcome too) working in the technical field to an Open Day – this time around under the motto "Digitalisation 4.0". The event featured two interesting presentations on the company's advance research projects. The ladies in attendance were also especially interested in the Volkswagen E-Bike that was on show at the event, as well as the digital 3D Virtual Reality (VR) headset. The Volkswagen AutoMuseum exhibited a 1960 Beetle, as a reminder of where Volkswagen has come from and how mobility was experienced in earlier times – in the era of "Digitalisation 1.0" so to speak.

Full house during James Bond event at the Volkswagen AutoMuseum.

9 February 2018. As part of the special exhibition "WOB-007" the Volkswagen AutoMuseum and Dr Siegfried Tesche invited guests to a talk about the Bond vehicles. A resounding success: 150 guests accepted the invitation and listened in spellbound silence to the speaker's presentation that was accompanied by film excerpts and pictures. Tesche said that if you pay close attention to the films you will find that they always follow the same pattern – with wild chases in fast cars that spin around and perform incredible loopings. Many product manufacturers have used Bond for their own advertising with some even producing special models. To start with, Susanne Wiersch welcomed the guests and asked the audience which of Her Majesty's secret agent's cars they liked best. The Audi 200 was one of the cars named – a Volkswagen Group product with an attractive design – and, needless to say, the Aston Martin DB 5. The British classic car reminded many visitors of a coveted model car from their childhood.

A short visit by the director of the Dornier museum.

31 January 2018. David Dornier, grandson of the aviation pioneer Claude Dornier and director of the Aerospace Museum at Friedrichshafen Airport since May 2017, made a brief visit to the Volkswagen AutoMuseum. He reminisced about his own Volkswagen models and showed great interest in the factual, minimally orchestrated presentation of the large Wolfsburg automobile collection. A tip for readers: the Dornier museum is currently constructing a parallel building where the legendary "Landshut" kidnapped by terrorists and freed by the GSG 9 will be exhibited.

First vernissage of the New Year: Women with Beetles.

30 January 2018. Volkswagen AutoMuseum opened its first exhibition of the year with the vernissage "Women with Beetles". The eighth show in the "MobilArt - Art at the Volkswagen AutoMuseum" series presents the same motif of women with Beetles in all kinds of different situations and ever new constellations. The collection of 700 amateur photographs from private albums was compiled and thematically composed in terms of photographic art by the Chilean artist Enrique Muñoz García, who lives in Switzerland. It is the artist’s first show of this kind and he was very pleased with the large number of invited guests and was happy to answer their questions. After a welcome and a brief introduction to the exhibition by museum employee Susanne Wiersch, the guests studied the pictures at their leisure. For some guests this brought up memories of their own Beetles – some of them even have similar pictures lying around at home (which we would be very pleased to receive!).

Treser Club at the Volkswagen AutoMuseum.

26 January 2018. On Friday more than 70 members of the Treser Club came to the Auto Museum for an hour and a half. For Walter Treser, legendary head of motorsport and small-series manufacturer on the basis of VW and Audi vehicles, it was a repeat visit as he had attended the opening of the large special Polo exhibition in 2015 as a guest of honour. The fans were particularly interested in the research engines and Treser revealed himself to be an expert here – especially in VR engines from Volkswagen.

Happy Birthday to the last German Beetle.

19 January 2018. It has been exactly 40 years since the very last Beetle from German production rolled off the production line – and this was in Emden, not in Wolfsburg, where the production of the classic bug ended four years earlier. By 1978, more than 16 million Beetle cars had left the production line in Germany (around 2.4 million of them in Emden) and more than 19 million models of the air-cooled classic car had rolled off production lines worldwide. A large proportion of the Beetles produced in the final years went to the USA. In Emden production of the Rabbit (Golf for the USA) ran parallel to this, together with the Audi 80 and Passat. The 1200 L painted in dakota yellow, which was the last Beetle to leave the production line on the North Sea coast on 19 January 1978, is on display in the Volkswagen AutoMuseum – with minimum equipment and features but in brand new condition. (Image 6: image rights Volkswagen AG)

New Year reception at the Volkswagen AutoMuseum.

16 January 2018. This year the Volkswagen AutoMuseum once again invited its sponsors and supporters to the traditional New Year's reception at the Volkswagen AutoMuseum Foundation. Around 60 guests listened to Eberhard Kittler, Chairman of the Board of the Volkswagen AutoMuseum Foundation, talk about the numerous activities that took place in the museum last year which were responsible for the record number of over 23,000 visitors. These included the big special exhibitions across brands "Cabriolet Milestones" and "WOB-007", one of the most successful shows of recent years. But once again the museum was also very active artistically, for example with Pop Art to mark the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans and with the current lifestyle project "Lookbook No3". In addition, there were evening and day events in the form of concerts, readings and a traffic education day for children. During the reception, attention was also drawn to the recently completed engine gallery – guest of honour Dr Carl Hahn was particularly impressed by this. These successes will be continued in 2018, artistically with an exhibition of photographs entitled "Women with Beetles". The Auto Museum is entering completely new territory with a bicycle exhibition. No more will be revealed at this point. A special mention and special thanks from the Volkswagen AutoMuseum were given to Jannie Hübers, who presented the three self-built H2 and H3 roadsters in her possession to the museum at the end of last year. She proudly told the audience about the idea behind the cars and how Volkswagen parts were used in them. Last but not least Eberhard Kittler thanked his team for all their hard work. The evening at the museum came to an end with small talk among the guests.

40 years ago: Golf 1 diesel successful in the Rally Monte Carlo.

9 January 2018. It’s more than four decades since a Golf 1 with a 50 PS naturally aspirated diesel engine piloted by employees of the magazine Auto Zeitung set numerous world records, to start with in 1977 during a 50,000 km endurance run on the Miramas racetrack in the south of France, followed by a complete circumnavigation of the USA by road. Auto Zeitung editor Gernot Röthig and his co-driver Gerd Ottenburger then went even further and took part in the Rally Monte Carlo from 21 to 28 January 1978 with precisely this car (starting number 125) – finishing 83rd as the final result. "Jochi" Kleint as the driver of a similar, more powerful zebra-look diesel Golf (starting number 49) caused even more of a stir with his interim 13th place in the overall standings, although unfortunately a defective cylinder head gasket ended the race prematurely for him. The vehicle driven so superbly by Auto Zeitung belongs to the collection of the Auto Museum and can now be seen in the exhibition again.