Hallowed ground

The Audi Museum Mobile in Ingolstadt celebrates its 20th anniversary.

For two decades, the Audi Museum Mobile in Ingolstadt has been a ‘must visit’ site for the Audi faithful, showcasing the wonderful and ongoing history of the brand.

James McRory and AUDI AG

22 December, 2020


Given the sheer size of the brand’s history it simply isn’t possible to have every vehicle permanent try on display

For anyone visiting the Audi headquarters in Ingolstadt, it is an essential stop as you tour the facility impressive. The Audi Museum Mobile, that striking circular steel and glass structure that greets all visitors to the sprawling Audi site, turns 20 this month. Two decades of providing a captivating window on the brand’s past and vehicles that have solidified the company’s enviable reputation over more than 100 years.

The museum is a veritable Aladdin’s Cave for Audi enthusiasts and indeed car enthusiasts of all stripes, displaying an ever-changing array of models from the brand’s evolution, from concept vehicles to motorsport heroes and of course all manner of road going vehicles dating back to the very beginning.

Given the sheer size of the brand’s history it simply isn’t possible to have every vehicle permanent try on display, and the museum often showcases specific eras or focuses on different genres for a given period in addition to a select few permanent ‘pieces’ which mark the evolution of the brand over time.

Officially opened in 2000, the building itself is worth visiting for those whose interests run to architecture. The stunning circular structure is essentially the focal point of Audi HQ, the four storey structure of steel and glass a place to while away hours taking in the original race cars, early motorcycles and even pushbikes as well as the constantly changing special exhibitions. 

Horch 853 Coupe.
1937 Auto Union Type C Streamliner.

Then of course there is the spectacular paternoster, a massive rotating lift with capacity for 14 cars that is constantly turning, carrying the vehicles from the ground floor to the top floor and down again. A sort of giant automotive rotisserie that is itself a marvel of engineering and a sight to behold. 

As part of the museum’s 20th anniversary, the paternoster will be dedicated solely to motorsport exhibits in the future, with the history of motorsport at AUDI AG taking a ride where previously exhibits for particular topics regularly exchanged places. With the exception of the Auto Union Silver Arrows which will remain in their traditional spot on the third floor of the museum, everything which, since the 1960s, has made Audi into the motorsport success story it is will be presented on the revolving platforms. 

Included in the permanent paternoster display will be the Audi A4 DTM winner from 2007, the Audi Le Mans R8 LMP prototype from 2002, the Audi A4 STW from 1996, an Audi Rally quattro Group 4 from 1980, the Audi Sport quattro Rally Group B from 1985, the NSU 1300 TT ‘Jägermeister’ from 1975 as well as the DKW F11/64 touring car from 1963. 

This restructuring has made it possible to redesign the previous motorsport exhibition area on the second floor and equip it with more recent Audi icons. In future visitors will see the Audi TT Coupé – a design icon – plus the legendary Audi A2 and the Audi A8, a witness to Audi's return to the luxury segment. 

Then there is the spectacular paternoster, a massive rotating lift with capacity for 14 cars

The famed 'crocodile R8' race car from the 'Race of a Thousand Years' in Adelaide 2000.

The Audi Duo III is also featured, a vehicle that Audi developed for testing electric mobility as far back as in the 1990s

The same applies to the Audi RS 4 and the Audi Convertible with its five-cylinder engine which represent the new sporting prowess of the brand as well as the Audi allroad quattro from 2001 which heralded the extremely successful SUV segment. 

This is rounded off by the Audi Duo III, a vehicle that Audi developed for testing electric mobility as far back as in the 1990s. 

After 20 years, it is also necessary to replace some exhibits with exhibition pieces of equivalent value, because leaving historic vehicles to stand for great periods of time is not good for them. So the Horch 303 from 1927, the first German eight-cylinder vehicle, is leaving the museum to be replaced by a Horch 305 from 1928 with the very special Landaulet body – one of the last survivors of its kind. Also joining the exhibition is the Audi Front Roadster from 1936 of which there are now only two in the world and which Audi Tradition had restored to its original state years ago. 

So, be it DKW, NSU, Auto Union or Horch, concept vehicles, vintage examples, classics or motorsport legends, the Audi Museum Mobile is a place that must be experienced first hand. When international travel eventually opens up, this is certainly a destination that is well worth inclusion on any automotive wish list.

Horch 305 Landaulet.
Motorcycles also feature, including here, examples of sister brand, Ducati.
The Audi RSQ concept car from the film, I, Robot.