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Nationales Automuseum - The Loh Collection
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In July 2023 a new car museum in the heart of Germany opened its door. Officially named the Nationales Automuseum, the Loh Collection, the museum is the brainchild of Professor Friedhelm Loh, a German entrepreneur who had been assembling a car collection for more than 30 years, whereby his selection criteria were broad, but his preference for quality had priority. In other words, he kept on looking for the best cars available in the market. In this way he has owned far more cars than are now being shown, but good cars were replaced by better ones on a continuous basis.
The Museum is located in Dietzholztal, in the German Sauerland, roughly 100 km north of Frankfurt. The location is close to the first premises of the Rittal company, established by the father of Professor Loh. It uses one of the former steel factories, that had emerged during the times when the region was thriving on the presence of iron ore. The fact that an existing building was used may limit the possibilities to create a museum from complete scratch, but the way the collection is spread over the various spaces in the building, which have been kept as original as possible, does it more than justice. It will take you some time to visit everything, even if you come only for the cars, but you will also find a first-class restaurant, where a lunch break becomes a pleasant treat.
For us the focus was on the cars in the museum, but there are several other objectives that the Loh Foundation wants to achieve. In collaboration with the Nuertingen-Geislingen University of Applied Sciences (HfWU), the museum will also act as the Nationales Automuseum university campus of the Faculty of Economics and Law under the academic direction of Dipl.-Ing. Prof. Dr. Jochen Buck from the 2023 winter semester onwards. The University of Applied Sciences is setting up a new Master’s course in Engineering Science for this purpose. The aim is to provide a qualification enabling graduates to assess classic cars, in particular with regard to their importance as historical and cultural assets. There is also permanent exposition related to the (industrial) history of the region
When we visited the Museum, the opening ceremonies had taken place and not only had the collection become accessible for the public, there was also a special exhibition celebrating 100 years of the Le Mans 24 hours, which is still ongoing. Expect to see many of these cars at a later date in the permanent collection.
Modern technology helps the visitors to get more information about the cars. A tablet can be loaned at the reception and used to download the in-house developed app and open the information hidden in the QR code shown on the signs in front of the cars. Of course one can also use ones own phone or app. At the time of our visit there was no catalogue available.

The current number of exhibits is around 150, and we were told that there is “reserve” collection of some eighty cars, which gives ample opportunity to rotate the collection and make recurrent visits worthwhile. For some the presence of the unique Maybach Exelero, used in the past by Fulda for high-speed tyre testing must be an absolute highlight, for others it would be the presence of the all- conquering McLaren MP4/5 Honda V10, that won the Monaco GP in 1989. Highly unusual is, that the Honda engine is still with the car.
The presence of the Lincoln Continental in which President Kennedy was killed is something really special too. Furthermore, there is a great selection of cars from the thirties, including the Bucciali TAV8-V12, a Murphy bodied Duesenberg SJ, a Mercedes 770K Cabriolet, the inevitable Maybach Zeppelin and a Voisin C4, with a paint scheme inspired by a cover on a Vogue magazine issued in 1925.
The collection of Formula One racing cars includes a Ferrari 312B3, that some years ago was still racing in the Monaco Historic Grand Prix. There is also a Ferrari 1512, with the screaming 1500 cc version of the later 3 Liters. The Tyrell 012 used by Stefan Bellof in the infamous rain race in Monaco is there too, together with a Ferrari F1-2000, which was used by Michael Schumacher in his race to his first F1 championship.
The Le Mans exhibition comprises 20 cars rather special cars, including the Audi R8, with which the Japanese Goh team won the 24 hours in 2004, after having won the Sebring 12 Hours already in 2002. Impressive is the presence of the Ferrari P3, that until not so long ago was a regular in the European historic race scene in the hands of the Leventis family. The car was the third in the famous one-two-three finish in the 1967 Daytona 24 Hours, giving the Ford team a firm warning that Ferrari may have been down but was certainly not out. The only one of the three Mercedes CLRs that did not become airborne during the 1999 edition of the 24 hours is present as well. A good selection of pre-war participants completes this overview of 100 years of long distance racing.
In the main hall a cross section of sports and (road-going) GT racing cars is shown, joined by several cars from the heydays of the DTM. As a sharp contrast an impressive collection of mini cars from the fifties and sixties shares the same space in the largest hall of the museum.
The permanent collection in the Museum is closed during the winter, but the restaurant and the Le Mans exhibition can still be visited. Full reopening is scheduled for March 23, 2024 with opening days from Wednesday till Sunday. What is waiting for you is a great cross section of 125 years of automotive history with several unique highlights.
Four months after opening the Museum was already rewarded with the FIA Founding Members’ Club Heritage Cup. The FIA Heritage Cup is regarded an accolade within the classic car scene.
To give you a more detailed impression we have put together an 90-shot gallery, both from the permanent collection and from the temporary, although still running, Le Mans exposition.

Report and images by Pieter Melissen for Ultimatecarpage.com.