The Best Destinations for Car Lovers

by  Emily Saladino | May 23, 2013
Monaco / amoklv/iStock

The world's top race car drivers, and the gamblers who love them, convene in Monaco this week for the annual Grand Prix. From May 23–26, the winding roads of Europe's glamorous principality will be overtaken with automotive enthusiasts of every stripe.

While the Grand Prix is arguably the world's most famous Formula 1 race, Monaco isn't the only global destination car lovers should consider. From Germany's legendary Autobahn, to Model T mash-ups in Cuba, here are four other spots where fans can get their fix.

Havana, Cuba: For the majority of the 20th Century, Cubans only had access to cars purchased before the country's 1959 revolution. As a result, drivers got creative, trading and repurposing vintage car parts to make existing vehicles last for some 50 years. These elegant, one-of-a-kind Model T mixtures now chortle through modern-day Havana in a moving museum of automotive ingenuity. Thanks to licensed tour operators like Insight Cuba, Americans can now legally see it for themselves.

Stuttgart, Germany: The birthplace of the automobile, Germany has plenty of automotive attractions to boot. Cruise the high-speed Autobahn to Stuttgart, where the Mercedes-Benz museum has two-hour tours amongst the hillsides of Germany's picturesque Baden-Württenberg. In the north of the city, the Porsche Factory is a veritable altar to analog assembly, where vehicles are produced entirely by hand. Porsche also has a small, recently remodeled museum displaying 80 vintage cars.

Detroit, Michigan: Motor City is an imperative stop on any automotive itinerary. Check out the Henry Ford Museum and its accompanying Ford Rouge Factory to understand Detroit's significance in both automotive production and the industrial history of 20th Century America. The museum houses 200 vehicles, including the Goldenrod racecar and the 1961 Lincoln Continental in which JFK was assassinated. The Rouge plant, now a tourist attraction, was once a 15 million-square-foot assembly complex, with 93 buildings and 120 miles of conveyor belts producing a new car every 49 seconds.

Modena, Italy: Every year, almost 200,000 car lovers trek to northern Italy to see Ferrari's birthplace and bat cave corporate complex. While the official museum, Galleria Ferrari, has 40 contemporary and vintage vehicles, the real attraction is the exclusive Maranello company headquarters. Designed by Jean Nouvel and Renzo Piano, the company headquarters is open only to employees, the Ferrari family, and customers looking to create their own, entirely customized new car. Hey, all you need is $200,000 and a dream.

What are your ultimate automobile destinations?

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