Dietzholztal-Ewersbach should be just as little known to most as Friedhelm Loh. But in the unknown community in central Hesse, the Rittal company became a global corporation for steel cabinets, switchgear and software applications. At its head since the age of 27: Friedhelm Loh, now 76 years old, who has become one of the richest Germans with the family company over the decades. Loh has been a passionate car fan since childhood and has been a big hit on the international collector scene for decades. But the general public had nothing to do with his passion for collecting automobiles, because Friedhelm Loh only used it for private pleasure. That's over now, because after years of planning, after a ceremony this week and officially on July 23, the National Automuseum - The Loh Collection - will open at the company's headquarters in Dietzholztal-Ewersbach. Anyone who visits this (Wednesday to Sunday, 10.30 a.m. / 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) will be amazed, because unlike the impressive brand museums of Audi, BMW, Mercedes or Porsche, Friedhelm Loh has been collecting across brands for more than 35 years with a great love Motorsport and technical finesse.
But not only motorsport fans get their money's worth in the grandiose exhibition of currently around 150 exhibits. The museum itself, as a converted industrial hall, is hardly less worth seeing than many of the very different vehicles, because in the more than 7,500 square meter exhibition halls you can immerse yourself in a wide variety of themed worlds. Here a banked curve with Le Mans racers, there an oversized type case with racing, touring and sports cars or the picturesque favorite area of Friedhelm Loh - the Bugatti theme world with grandiose individual pieces and an irretrievable archive. No wonder the Hessian's favorite model is a Bugatti Type 35 racing cigar.
Loh has always been a car fan, but his passion for collecting seized him in the late 1980s. The cars not only had to please the collector; they should also have a technical meaning for the automotive world. The collection grew and expanded to new halls around the Rittal industrial site in Dietzholztal-Ewersbach and Friedhelm Loh's residence. Since he is considered to be close to his homeland and wants to give something back to the region, there is no question of building the National Auto Museum in a more attractive region with better accessibility. After all, it is more than an hour's drive to the cities of Frankfurt and Cologne, even without significant traffic. But this route is worthwhile, not only because of the attractive country roads in the area, so that car fans can combine a visit to the museum with an entertaining car tour.
With the broad portfolio of more than 150 vehicles on display, every car fan should get their money's worth. The spectrum ranges from the first Ferrari world champion car by Michael Schumacher to the Benz Victoria from 1896 with just three previous owners to the Ferrari 288 GTO by comic artist Albert Uderzo or the Mercedes 600 Landaulet in which Queen Elisabeth once traveled through Germany. The electric fire engine from 1906 is hardly less worth seeing than various Me-Mans racing cars, numerous one-offs from Porsche or Mercedes to exotics such as a VW XL1, Citroen 2CV Sahara 4x4 or a Bugatti Type 57 Atalante. Where else can car fans admire a Mercedes CLK GTR, Porsche 550 Spyder, 956, 917 K or the unique Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato? Better a couple of long-distance or Nascar racers – Friedhelm Loh not only has them, but had them staged magnificently. And of course there will be a special exhibition to mark 100 years of Le Mans right at the opening.
National Automobile Museum, Museumsstraße 1, 35716 Dietzholztal-Ewersbach; Open from July 23, 2023, Wednesday to Sunday, 10.30 a.m. / 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.