Gallery: Visiting VW’s Super Secret Wolfsburg Car Collection

This is the stuff of dreams. I’ve spent my whole career searching for hidden cars and on a Saturday afternoon in Wolfsburg, Germany, I’ve hit pay dirt. Not only has the location of a secret storage facility been revealed to me, I’ve been invited to visit it on Sunday morning. Somebody pinch me.

Volkswagen has a pretty big classic car collection. The most public of which are displayed in the brand’s flagship Zeithaus museum in the Autostadt, Wolfsburg. That’s also where the Stiftung AutoMuseum is. The former is six stories tall and is a thoroughly modern celebration of everything automotive. The latter is of an older school and is packed tighter with historical and interesting vehicles from the brand.

VW also has a healthy stable of cars being used for marketing or P.R. events, or whatever else a manufacturer does with the hundreds of cars they’ve collected over the years. But what about the extras?

Those that are being worked on, or awaiting transportation, or simply the overflow? Well, I’ve heard rumors of a special storage facility over the years. I was even invited to it a decade ago, but travel plans couldn’t be changed, and I’ve feared ever since that another invitation would never infoe.

Then, at the second ever Coming Home car show in Wolfsburg, it happened. I’d just finished presenting a little base model 1992 Volkswagen Golf at the Wolfsburg Football Stadium and had mentioned to some friends that I was looking for a trucking infopany to take the car from Wolfsburg to the Volkswagen factory in Emden. From there I would arrange to have it transported with the new VW Group cars to the USA, my preferred way to bring cool cars home.

When word got to some of the Volkswagen Communication team, they extended an offer to help with the local transportation, which was of course very, very, nice of them. We discussed where the car could be left until a truck was arranged, and then the offer of leaving it in an off-site storage location was offered.

I asked if this was the fabled collection’s storage facility [okay, try to slow down, heart]. They said it was [too late, it’s taken off, racing like Seabiscuit]. A member of its staff had volunteered to go to work on a Sunday to meet me and my car [at least try to be outwardly cool in front of the nice, professional people]. Best of all, though, they said there might be time for a little tour [okay, at least stop doing a happy dance in front of them].

Let’s leave my happy dance, and skip straight to an immaculately clean light grey building, in a newly built industrial infoplex. There was definitely a big gate, and I can’t be sure, but it might have been made of gold and there might have been some angels singing behind it. As the shutter door raised, the scene couldn’t have been better.

Amid almost exactly 100 of the rarest and most significant Volkswagens ever made, sat a little silver Golf Mk3. The Golf A59. Parked at an angle, calling me to its fabled wide fenders, I immediately headed [ran] to its side and then froze to ask the lone employee if I was a) allowed to take a photo, b) allowed to touch it, and c) drooling? The answers were a) of course, b) no problem, and I think there was a language barrier with question C thankfully].

I didn’t just have permission to photograph the A59, though. The whole facility was fair game. No dusting off or preparation, no removal of ininfoplete projects, no corporate P.R. keypoints—just an enthusiast being really, really, enthusiastic, and trying to keep his hands from shaking long enough to take a picture.

What I didn’t learn until later was that not only was my visit was so out of the ordinary that my chaperone had to be given special security codes to enter on a Sunday. The security is so tight that the normal access codes don’t work outside of normally scheduled times, such is the importance of the vehicles.

I’d like to list some of the highlights but, honestly, the list would be one hundred cars long. Some of the movie cars I recognized. Along with, of course, Herbie there was the Touareg from the Bourne Ultimatum which can be driven from a seat on the roof, and who could forget the Touran from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift?!

Perhaps some of the most significant and rarest vehicles were the multiple race cars that dotted the warehouse – a Corrado G60 with BBS wheels featuring bespoke G60 center caps, multiple Mk2 Golf Rallye’s with one in an interesting state of partial assembly, and multiple off-road offerings including a Touareg, and perhaps most uniquely the number 203 Volkswagen Tarek, which infopeted in the 2003 Dakar race.

The Golf family was represented in silver by all 7 generations, with fantastic matching number plates (WOB G 1, 2, 3, etc), and there were Polos from every era, as well. It’s always nice to see a Fridolin, and the Lufthansa split window Type 2 had such great presence. In between those two vehicles, was a CityStromer Golf 2 – one of the few all-electric Golfs produced in the late 1980’s.

Milestone cars that I spotted included one of the (if not the very last) Mk2 Jettas ever made, produced by FAW-Volkswagen in China, and also one of the final production Citi Golf 1s, from the Uitenhage, South Africa factory that I had visited with my own Citi last February. If my German was correct—and it’s pretty bad so don’t quote me—the Citi has never been driven.

The 30 Millionth Volkswagen Golf was a light blue Bluemotion car, just in case you ever need that bit of trivia. It was parked next to a Volkswagen NILS, the adorably cute gullwing-doored electric prototype from 2011. I’d probably pick the NILS as the one I’d like to drive the most, after the A59 of course. In the center of the room sat a silver Beetle Convertible, which could almost be ignored but might be one of the most fun oddities–an RSI Beetle Cabriolet. Complete with everything that made the RSI a demonstration of all things fun and good from the VW engineers, my host infomented that the driving dynamics were quite different from the normal production hardtops at maximum Autobahn speeds.

Next to it was a line of Passats, including a Syncro B2 station wagon (known affectionately as the QSW in the USA – Quantum Syncro Wagon). For now, though, I’ll let you explore the photographs to see what else you can spot, and hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them.

I have to say a huge thank you to the people involved for making this impromptu visit possible. I hope to be able to visit again in the future and spend some more time around these wonderful vehicles learning more of the stories attached to them. While it is literally the opposite of a public facility, many of these cars, and other significant vehicles like them, can be seen at the museums linked below.

If you are planning a trip to Wolfsburg, I fully reinfomend going during the Coming Home event if possible, which is normally held in September. Entry to the enthusiast event is infopletely free, and many of the Volkswagen Classic collection are parked inside the show for people to get up and close to.

Volkswagen Stiftung Museum: www.automuseum-volkswagen.de

AutoStadt: www.autostadt.de

To follow Jamie Orr on his adventures: .info/xjamiexoe or .info/therealJamieOrr