Once upon a time, American families enjoyed a road trip to Detroit to take factory delivery of their new cars. You still can, provided your new car is a Chevrolet Corvette, and instead of Detroit, you get to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where the delivery is done at the National Corvette Museum, which is just across the road from the Corvette assembly plant.
In these days of shelter at home, automakers are promoting at-home delivery of your vehicle.
However, there are still automakers that offer factory delivery, especially in Europe, and one of them, Porsche, is getting ready to celebrate the 70th anniversary of what it calls its “factory collection” program.
It was on May 26, 1950, that 43-year-old doctor, Ottomar Domnick, a specialist in neurology and psychiatry, arrived at the Porsche facility in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen to collect his new 356. Domnick took possession of his car, chassis 5001 and wearing Fish Silver paint, in the field next to Plant 1, Porsche reports in an anniversary news release.
Before getting the key to his own car, Domnick was invited into the passenger’s seat next to Herbert Linge, the Porsche mechanic who would take the car on its final pre-delivery test drive. Linge had been one of the first people hired by Porsche when it moved from Gmund, Austria, to Zuffenhausen at the end of 1949.
“I was 14 years old when I started work at the first Porsche training workshop,” Linge recalled of his employment in 1943. “In those days, we were six mechanics and two technical draftsmen. Ferdinand Porsche often walked past our workshop with important guests in tow. He would always stop to say hello while keeping his guests briefly waiting. That’s something I’ll never forget.
“When Ottomar Domnick collected his Porsche 356, he really celebrated the occasion. But he had been coming to the factory every day anyway to see how far on we were with the work. Even Ferry Porsche briefly dropped in when the doctor was presented with his sports car.”
“Even today, factory collection at the Porsche headquarters is a particularly special experience for customers,” Porsche notes in its news release.
“The most exciting aspect of this first encounter is that the customer has never actually seen the car before,” said Tobias Donnevert, head of the company’s factory collection and sales personalization operations.
“The customer has configured the car of his choice in the Porsche Centre or together with the customer service of the Porsche Exclusive Manufacture department and has only seen the color combinations on photos or tiles.
“So when he collects his personal Porsche, he is seeing it for the very first time. This is a very special moment, reserved exclusively for the customer at the beginning of the handover.”
Donnevert and his team deliver about 20 cars a day to customers at Zuffenhausen, with around 30 a day taking delivery at Leipzig, where the Macan and Panamera are produced. In addition to their cars, the customers in Zuffenhausen get to tour the 911 assembly plant and visit the Porsche Museum while those at Leipzig can do a test drive on the plant’s FIA racing-style test track.
The Domnick Foundation, which manages his doctor’s estate, still has the original order form from Ottomar Domnick with the commission number 5001. The order was processed by the Volkswagen Hahn dealership as there was no sales distribution in Germany at that point.
“Volkswagen” had been crossed out by hand and replaced with “Porsche-Sport” on the order form.