June 7, 2013

I’m in Germany this week. I visited Continental tires in Hannover, Germany. They have created a new, more precise way to measure how well their tires perform in rolling resistance and wet braking. It’s the first in the world and I will be reporting on it shortly.

Right now I’m sitting in the Cafe at the Porsche museum in Stuttgart, Germany. From June 4 – September 29, 2013 in the Porsche Museum you can the Anniversary Exhibition of Porsche celebrating “50 Years of 911”. If you can’t make it to Stuttgart we’ll be bringing back video of the cars with Dieter Landenberger, Head of Porsche’s Archives, narrating.

Free admission

All 911 drivers plus one accompanying person, upon presentation of the vehicle registration at the box office of the Porsche Museum, have free admission from June 4 to September 29, 2013. The Porsche Museum also foregoes any admission price for visitors who were born in 1963 and can prove it by presenting their ID.

June 14, 2013

I’m back in the United States from Europe. I just landed in Denver, CO, on my way to a Fiat Lounge launch in Baltimore, MD. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the people whose homes and families are being affected by the fire and the smoke.

It’s fun to go to a city and think about where you, my chatting friends, would want to visit. What type of restaurants embody the type of car you are buying, what museums you would want to visit.

When I go to Stuttgart, Germany, the home of Porsche and Mercedes-Benz or Modena and Maranello, Italy, the home of Maserati and Ferrari there is an infusion of automobiles and lifestyle. Just like in Detroit and Dearborn, MI, home of General Motors and Dearborn, there are factories where people work and museums full of classic cars.

Drivingthenation.com will be putting up videos from some of these factories and museums in the next couple weeks. What I really enjoyed was the feeling of lifestyle in Modena/Maranello Italy. Modena is the assembly plant for Maserati, Maranello is the factory for Ferrari and engines for both vehicles.

I talked to Porsche and Maserati and both said that if you want to buy a Porsche or Maserati and have it shipped back to the United States that can happen. There are also tours of the factory of the automobile you are buying.

If you do take a trip to Italy I have a couple of suggestions of places you have to visit. Maserati is about lifestyle. Modena is known for their 25 year old balsamic vinegar and Parmigiano reggiano cheese and Maserati.

You have to visit the Maserati Factory, right in the heart of the city, of course! But there is a cheese factory in the countryside that is a must as well. You will think you have made a wrong turn, but keep going past the cows, past the cheese factory to the barking dog named Car. Yes, Car. Matteo can tell you the story behind the name while he takes you around a museum that has more classic Maseratis than anywhere else I know of in the world. You can find out more at paninimotormuseum.com. It’s a private museum so contact them first.

If you want to take a ride up to Maranello to visit Ferrari-land go a little past Maranello to a little restaurant named La Fontanina. Shamefully, I don’t speak Italian and the owners speak very little English, but the food is delicious.

At night you can drive to the outskirts of Modena to Emilio’s “Strada Facendo” restaurant. It there are 10 tables in the restaurant I would be amazed. It’s a labor of love and Emilio comes to each person’s table himself to take their order.

If you want to drink and not drive you can visit Alberto’s “La Cucina del Museo” restaurant in the heart of Modena. Alberto has owned the restaurant since 1987, but the restaurant is over 300 years old. It reminds me of a little speak easy from the prohibition days. Only 19 people can be seated at one time, so make sure you have a reservation. The kitchen near the museum restaurant was frequented by the great Luciano Pavarotti, who lived in Modena.

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