We've been cooped up in our homes for over a month now and we're sure you're trying to find new things to do around the house. You've run out of things to watch on Netflix and you're getting bored of YouTube. But what if we told you that you can go to some of the best automotive tours from around the world?
After searching far and wide around the web, we've come up with several of the best online virtual tours you can enjoy from the comfort of your home. The best part is, they're all free of charge.
Audi Virtual Factory Tour
Booking a plant tour isn't easy. You have to check if the dates available are in sync with your own availability as well. After that, you have to deal with the logistics of going there and, of course, accommodations if you're going abroad. They're not cheap and that doesn't include the plane ride to get there either. Thankfully, Audi has made it much easier so you no longer need to book a plane ticket to Germany.
With that, they are putting you right in the heart of the production process. From the press shop up to the quality inspection, their virtual plant tour will immerse you in the experience. The live stream tour will even offer viewers insights into production, and a live chat for those with questions in mind. You can even select what models you want to see being assembled such as the A1, Q3, TT, Q5, and Q8.
Should you want to know even more about Audi, this virtual tour goes beyond the factory. Roam around long enough and you'll see the rich history of the brand, as well as their achievements in motorsport. Audi fans will surely be in for a treat and, if you're not, you might just become one after the tour.
Mercedes-Benz Car Museum
If automotive history is more your cup of tea, then you'll thoroughly enjoy the virtual tour of the Mercedes-Benz Museum. From the Patent-Motorwagen to fire-breathing DTM race cars and everything in between, this place has it all. Not only are the cars in exquisite condition, but some of them are still in proper working order. The virtual tour offers 360-degree pictures and a bevy of stories like the special exhibition called “40 years of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class that users can look up on Instagram.
For an even more personal experience, you can also go on a digital web series tour alongside Jutta Benz, the great-granddaughter of Carl and Bertha Benz. There, she talks about her years growing up owning several Mercedes-Benz cars. She'll even tell you how the automobile evolved from her point of view too. She definitely knows what she's talking about; she is the company's namesake after all.
Porsche Virtual Museum Tour
Sticking with the German theme, we turn our attention to the Porsche Museum Virtual Tour as they too have given us the opportunity to walk through their storied history from behind our screens. From there, you can see just about every car that was branded as a Porsche and, yes, that also includes the tractors. Road cars, race cars, icons, and so much more can be seen on the tour.
There's the humble 356 which eventually bore the 911, as well as other cars such as the 928, 944, and the 959. Also on display are the latest models to come out of Stuttgart from the 718 Boxster to the new 911. You can even visit one of the many cafes the place has to offer too. Just don't expect to be served.
Museo Lamborghini Virtual Tour
From Germany, we then jump to Italy for the (virtual) Museo Lamborghini Tour. There, you can feast your eyes on all of the cars on display at the home of the raging bull. From the classic Miura, all the way to the Aventador, Museo Lamborghini has it all. Our favorite? The wall decoration that you have to see to believe.
Also on display are the engines that have powered these beasts through the years. In typical Italian fashion, it's shown to you artistically, and boy are these works of art indeed. There are V8s, V10s, and V12s all over the floor, from the very-first engine they made for the 350 GT, to the mighty V12 that propels the Aventador towards the horizon.
Honda Collection Hall
Honda fanatics that have always wanted to see the brand's “Gallery of Dreams” can go on a virtual tour of the Honda Collection Hall. Displayed there are the many two-wheeled and four-wheeled machines that made Honda the brand they are known to be today.
From the simple yet robust Cub to the fire-breathing Fireblade, all the way to first-generation Civic and high-tech NSX sports car, there is plenty to see in the Collection Hall's vast exhibits. One will also get to see Honda's beginnings in the auto industry with its humble T360 mini truck.
There's no shortage of racing machines in there too. You'll see their first Formula 1 car, along with various championship-winning touring cars, superbikes, and yes, even Ayrton Senna's McLaren.
Toyota Automobile Museum
Toyota's Automobile Museum in Japan is not your typical place for viewing automobiles. Aside from showcasing their past, present, and concept models, the museum showcases the evolution and culture of automobiles around the world.
Not only does the museum house some of the brand's historic vehicles like the 2000 GT, the MR2, as well as generations of the Crown, it also showcases several iconic cars from other brands. From the Jaguar E-Type, Mazda MX-5 (NA), Nissan 240Z, and the Mazda Cosmo, Toyota showed that they also appreciate and admire the cars from different automakers.
The museum even has several displays of past memorabilia like old-school radiator grills, scale models of various classic cars, and even signature hood ornaments from yesteryear.
National Corvette Museum
Mention the word 'Kentucky', and some might be reminded of a certain fast-food joint that serves finger-lickin' good chicken. But for most car enthusiasts, the state of Kentucky is synonymous with one car: the Chevrolet Corvette.
Those that want to see the history and the development of the Corvette can now do so by visiting the National Corvette Museum online. There, viewers will be able to stroll around the museum and see the countless Corvettes on display, including rare and special edition models. There are even cutaway models that allow you to see the inner workings of several generations of the Corvette, as well as prototype models that became the precursor to the existing models we see today.
Aside from showing the history of the two-door sports car, the National Corvette Museum also put up a new exhibit called “Corvette Cave In”. For those not in the know, a sinkhole collapsed in the Skydome of the museum back in February 2014. A total of 8 Corvettes were damaged due to the sinkhole including a 1993 ZR1 Spyder, a 2009 Blue Devil ZR1, and a white 2009 model that served as the 1.5 millionth Corvette. Five of the eight vehicles were displayed once more albeit unrestored, while two were restored to factory condition.
Petersen Automotive Museum
If you've noticed, most of the ones we've mentioned have been brand-centric. But let's say you want more variety in your virtual tour. In that case, the Petersen Automotive Museum won't leave you short-changed at all. Put up by Robert Petersen, the founder of Hot Rod and Motor Trend magazines, the museum was Petersen's dream of setting up a wide variety of cars and to share the rich and exciting breakthroughs in the automotive industry under one roof.
The 300,000 square foot museum houses several exhibits and displays, showing the history, as well as several key automobiles that made their mark on history. One of the displays there focuses on everything Hollywood and shows vehicles like the Batmobile, the Green Hornet's Chrysler Imperial Crown, and the Mach 5 from Speed Racer.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Supercars Collection. It displays such cars like the Bugatti Veyron 16:4, Ferrari F40, Ford GT40, Lamborghini Miura, and even the Porsche 959. Classic examples like the 1923 Mercedes-Benz 28/95 Targa Florio, and 1939 Bugatti Type 57C Atlante are also on display at the Petersen Museum.
Those that want to go on a digital tour can sign up on the Petersen Automotive Museum website. Alternatively, they can also watch a 1-hour guided tour of the Museum Vault via YouTube, or take a stroll by themselves via Google Street View.
It's ironic that, despite the pandemic forcing us indoors, we're actually getting more opportunities to see places only a few of us can visit. Sure, we may not be there for the full experience, but it's the immersion that makes us feel like we've traveled the world. We're greatly thankful for manufacturers for opening up their tours in the virtual world and we sure hope more of them do the same.
Museum-hopping has never been this easy.