Paul Hollywood visits Germany to try and find out what makes the country tick when it comes to cars. Paul drives some of the best and worst cars built in Germany.
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I'm Paul Hollywood, and I'm sort of a baker.
And part-time racing driver.
I love getting in cars.
I love racing. When I did that for the first time, honestly,
I've never been so excited in my life.
I've been into cars for as long as I can remember.
When I was a little boy, that was my favourite car - DB5,
James Bond car. That started my passion in cars.
They're more than just transport from A to B.
They're a thing of enjoyment.
They're a thing, for me, that I used to de-stress.
'What really fascinates me is what cars say about their owners,
'and about the people who made them.'
Come on, go for it the Italian way. Give it welly!
'In fact, I reckon we can learn a lot about a country
'by looking at the cars it produces.'
-It's just quite...
'And by driving on its roads.'
We're driving this beautiful car,
and we have the Italian Alps in front of us.
'So, I'm off on a European road trip...
'visiting some of our most car-obsessed neighbours.'
Checking out the history, the culture, the people
and what makes the country very special when it comes to cars.
This week, I'm in a country
that produces over 6 million cars every year.
Right, we're on a six-day tour of Germany.
Over 1,000 miles, in some of the finest,
and dodgiest cars this country has ever produced.
Look at the smoke coming out of the back!
We're here, in Berlin.
And then from Berlin, we're going to head to Wolfsburg.
From Wolfsburg, we're going to head
to what was East Germany, to Eisenach.
Then we go from Eisenach down to Frankfurt.
Frankfurt down to Stuttgart.
And then for the final fling, the Nurburgring.
What we're going to find out on the way, really,
is what makes Germany tick when it comes to cars.
'How they drive...'
You have to be direct. Don't be so British!
'..what they drive...'
Visibility looks good. I'm trying to find the plusses here.
'..and what are their cars say about them.'
That is very German.
-Hey, Paul. How you doing?
'And the producers have lined up some extremely tall Germans
'to travel with me.'
You were what? I think I'm too tall for this car.
I could never be the president of a banana republic.
'To teach me about the German love of cars...'
Now you feel 45 horsepowers.
'..and make me look a lot smaller than I actually am!
'On my final day,
'I hook up with comedian and Germanophile, Al Murray...'
-I really, really love this country.
-Right, let's go.
'..Who's six foot three.
'And, of course, this being Germany, there'll be some naked people.
'And some big sausages.
'Six fascinating days,
'and 1,000 miles for me to learn how to drive like a German.'
My road trips starts in the German capital, home to 1.2 million cars,
almost 3,500 miles of roads,
and more doner kebab shops than Istanbul.
To help me navigate around Berlin, I've enlisted the help of a local.
Christian Shulte-Loh is a comedian who was born in the city.
So that's how Germans heckle you. They wait until the show is over.
And then approach you with a clipboard.
Christian is six foot seven.
"That joke didn't make sense."
He's going to give me a driving lesson
to teach me how to drive like a German,
and blend in on the streets of Berlin.
We met at in, probably, the most extraordinary garage I've ever seen.
I mean, look at these cars!
That's a proper German car, that one.
This is the Classic Remise,
and is, in large part, a very posh car park...
..where rich Berliners keep their most valuable cars
in glass boxes.
You know that Berlin is considered to be one of the poorest cities
in Germany, right? So this...
I don't know. This is owned by people from Dusseldorf, I think.
That's a rich place.
It was a bit like going into Hamleys, when you were six,
just before Christmas.
Oh, get off! Look at that LaFerrari.
The best bit is, this place is open to the public.
Oh, wow! It just goes on, doesn't it?
You can walk in here for free,
and trail saliva right around the highly polished floors.
Oops, that was my sunglasses.
There's even a bread van!
Look. I read "Hitler Brot." That was wrong, wasn't it?
-It's my German guilt kicking in, I think,
-that reads Hitler.
-Brot? Is that bread?
-Yeah. Brot is bread.
-It is, it's bread, isn't it?
That's my wagon right there.
It is an extraordinary place,
but I think the best thing in here
is the car were taking out onto the streets of Berlin.
This is, for me,
one of the most iconic cars that Germany has ever made.
The 600 Grosser Mercedes.
You mean this Sechshundert?
Look at the... Look at the size. It's quite an imposing car.
I can't wait to see what it drives like.
-Let's be dictators and drive around Berlin.
You do feel quite powerful in this car, don't you?
-So do you reckon it's bulletproof?
-I'm not going to find out though.
-Well, there's one way to find out.
-Let's go to the American Embassy!
The Grosser was launched in 1964, costing around £6,000.
Mercedes bosses are said
to have given their engineers a blank cheque,
and just told them to produce something amazing.
And they did.
The Grosser is a testament to German engineering ambition and brilliance.
But the car's hydraulic system is what makes it extraordinary.
It is mind-numbingly complex, operates at a massive 3,200 PSI,
and powers pretty much everything from the suspension to the windows.
It's just so fast.
-The speed of that.
Oh, there you go. Wow!
It's amazing. You could just chop off somebody's fingers, or head.
And why did Mercedes go to so much effort developing the hydraulics?
Simply to avoid noisy electric motors,
allowing occupants to travel in peace and quiet.
What about this...? LOUD HONK
-That's a train!
-Beautiful. You know, if you do that for no reason,
you know it's a 50 euros fine.
-No, no. I'm not joking.
We just went over the first red light. Well done.
-We can do whatever we want in this car.
-Oh, yeah, of course.
We're in a 600 Grosser, mate, it's what you do.
By the way, you normally stop at pedestrian crossings.
-Do they have right of way?
-Well, apparently not now,
but normally they do.
We're speeding in the bus lane.
-That's exactly how I expected this to go.
-It's no slouch.
Another 50 euros gone.
Driving around in Germany, you know, if you break the rules,
people will go nuts on you.
What's driving properly?
I think... Well, you have to drive quite fast.
-If you're too slow, people will go crazy.
You have to be direct, don't be so British, you know.
You know how they say British people are too polite to be honest,
and Germans are too honest to be polite.
You're too slow, Paul, we have to go faster.
-We're not fitting in, you know?
'So, go fast, but don't break the rules.
'Efficiency within the system. Very German!'
Do you think that the Germans are passionate about their cars?
Yeah. Definitely. I mean, the car is more important
-than the house in Germany.
I think if you asked most people,
"Do you want to have a new house or a new car?"
they would say, "I don't really need a house."
'At this point, I spot a grandstand overlooking a stretch of Autobahn.'
That's a race track!
It is a racetrack. It was used as a racetrack for many, many years,
for decades, actually.
'This was the Avus Circuit, the fastest track on Earth.
'Now it's part Autobahn...
'..and part lorry park.'
'Where we got lost.'
Right, this is going to be exciting. We are now in a dead-end.
You say exciting, I say something completely different.
I think you didn't really listen to my...instructions.
Oh, leave it out, you never said!
So, this used to be the racetrack, right? This whole bit.
I think they started building it in, like, 1913.
And then the First World War happened.
We all know how that ended.
And then after that, they continued building it,
and then the first race was held, I think, in 1921.
-This was where the officials were.
-That's where all the officials were,
and, then obviously, it's a bit like Le Mans.
-Le Mans has got a very similar thing.
-It is, yeah.
The Avus Circuit was a shrine to the German love of speed.
Just two six-mile straights, joined by 180-degree bends.
To ensure it won the title of fastest track on Earth,
a massive bank curve was added in 1936.
Unsurprisingly, this became known as the wall of death.
In the late '30s, the record was 171 miles an hour - average speed.
-For a lap.
-I didn't even think cars could go that fast.
Well, British cars wouldn't, but German cars sometimes would.
When did this stop being used as a racetrack?
The very last race, I think, was held in the late 1990s.
It must have been a great track.
When you think of the dictators, for instance, Pol Pot, Kim Jong Il.
The fact that they went for these cars, which actually,
are so in your face...
-That's the whole point, right?
-Yeah, it was a power statement.
But then you've got all the stars, as well.
-You know, you've got Jack Nicholson had one, Elvis Presley.
John Lennon. Hugh Hefner.
-Fantastic, Hugh Hefner.
-Was he making up for something?
Maybe that's what they all have in common!
-Maybe that's what it is.
-There's this as well.
I want you to get in the back. So you know what it feels like.
Jump into the back now, why we're at a red light.
Watch the door, mate. That's about 6 million quid.
-I can't believe nobody's opening the door for me.
You know what? I think I'm too tall for this car.
I could never be the president of a banana republic.
I'm just too tall for the job.
-OK. I just found the bar, though.
-Has it got Cubans in there?
-Do you want, like, a shot?
-Have they got schnapps?
'We're now reaching the very centre of Berlin
'and evidence of when the city was split
'between the communist-controlled East
'and the free West is everywhere.'
This is a bit of the Berlin Wall.
-That's the wall?
-That's the wall, yeah.
You can always tell, in Berlin, if you are in the East
-or in the West of the city.
-We have the traffic lights.
The Ampelmannchen. The traffic light guy.
-Ampel is traffic light, and mannchen is a little man.
So the pedestrian traffic lights, you have this little man,
who looks different in the West compared to the East.
You see the guy? He's wearing a hat, and he looks short and a bit chubby.
That's the eastern guy. He looks like a spy from the Soviet Union.
And then you have the western guy,
who looks more like a slim, Danish spy.
-And the eastern ones became so popular,
because they look kind of cute. There are two shops, actually,
in Berlin, that sell souvenirs just based on that.
-That's the Ampelmann shop!
Why would you want something with a small fat man?
One of the most important things you have to know about German driving,
is that when two lanes merge, on a motorway, or in a city or whatever,
we have this great word for it,
which you might want to use on your trip through Germany,
and it's called Reissverschlussverfahren.
It's all right, you can't say it.
-You're right, I can't.
-It means zipper principle.
-That's easier to say.
-Reissverschluss is a zipper.
Well, the reissverschlussverfahren, the zip principle,
means that when two lanes merge, right?
Let's say one lane here, and another one here,
the zipper is like one from the left, one from the right,
-one from the left, one from the right.
-Is that a law?
It's a kind of, like...
-I'm not sure it's an official law.
-Or a principle of the road?
Yeah, but if you don't obey it, you're in trouble.
By the other drivers. Self-justice.
So what does that diamond mean there?
Right, if the lights failed due to bad engineering,
-which hopefully will never happen.
-That will never happen.
The people who see the diamond, they just keep going for ever.
You don't have to slow down?
Never. But if there are no signs, right, then,
the car coming from the right always goes first.
But then if you want to turn left, for instance?
-You have to let people...
-So these people going left,
-they have to go first?
-But there's a bus here.
-Where is the bus going?
-He's coming straight down here.
You let him go first.
OK. So like a zipper.
-It's not like a zipper!
No, he goes left, or does he go straight?
He's going to go the same way.
-He's turning right.
-If he's... OK.
He's going up, and he's turning right...
You see how easy this is(!) I told you, right?
Sometime later we finish our day together back at the Classic Remise.
Well, thanks for today, mate, I really appreciate it.
I feel a little bit more German in my heart when I'm driving.
Don't forget the Reissverschlussverfahren.
And the diamond.
Having reissverschlussverfahren-ed onto the Autobahn, I leave Berlin
heading due west to Wolfsburg.
My next German car is every bit as cutting edge
and technologically advanced as the Grosser was in its day.
This is the BMW i8, with all the mod cons.
Launched in 2014, it's gone on to become
the world's bestselling petrol electric hybrid supercar.
It turned the supercar world
on its head.
And yet again, German engineering
is at the cutting edge.
It's gorgeous, sexy, and very, very fast.
'And, of course, this is Germany,
'where we all know you can drive as fast as you like on the Autobahn.'
'Except, you can't.
'All German speed limits were abolished in 1952,
'viewed as relics of Nazi control.
'On most roads, they've since been reintroduced
'and only half of Germany's Autobahn network
'is still unrestricted today.'
What's annoying is I've got a restricted bit now, on the motorway.
That's a bit of a pain.
Come on. Come on. It must be coming up soon.
The car tells me when I can floor it.
Oh! An unrestricted zone.
Let's see what it can do.
This is, basically, a very small engine,
being hoofed up by electrics.
This is so weird.
But so good.
It's getting late.
But 100 miles outside Berlin is somewhere I really want to stop.
I've read about this place, a real Cold War relic.
This is the former checkpoint at Marienborn.
From 1945 to 1989,
vehicles travelling between West and East Germany passed
through a number of border crossings like this.
Marienborn became the most famous,
because it marked the beginning of the special transit route
between the main part of West Germany and West Berlin.
These buildings, left exactly as they were
on the day of reunification,
provide a sombre reminder of how Germany was sliced in half,
and existed as two separate countries for 45 years.
This is the East German checkpoint, which was manned, basically,
by over 600 Stasi that were here.
To get through to Berlin you go through West German checkpoint,
to the East German checkpoint,
and the first checkpoint was about 100 yards that way.
And you used to give your passport in.
Can you imagine that freedom?
That precious West German passport was put on a conveyor belt,
and was on its way down to East Germany.
And then it came in here, it was checked, handed back to you,
and then away you went.
Fuel was the key thing. There was no fuel stations on the way to Berlin.
Once you left West Germany into East Germany, there is no fuel.
So what they used to do was queue up,
and then they'd push each other's car.
Everyone would push the cars.
Because they didn't want to use the fuel up.
Because they had to get to Berlin.
The wall divided people, families.
To be in this place and they just left it, what a memorial.
My second day begins where 80 years ago
there was just a small town called Fallersleben.
Then Volkswagen arrived.
The place was renamed,
and by 2013, Wolfsburg was the richest city in Germany.
And at the centre of it all, Willie Volkswagen's car factory.
The best way to see the factory's scale is not from a VW car,
but from a boat.
It stretches for three miles down the canal.
It's just massive. They dominate the landscape round here.
Of 77,000 people of working age that live in and around Wolfsburg,
66,000 of them work for Volkswagen.
That is incredible.
Inside, this place is as state of the art and efficiently run
as you'd expect from Germany's largest car manufacturer.
Or, at least it looks very efficient
on the footage that Volkswagen gave us.
We've actually asked to go into the VW factory, and they declined,
which is a bit of a shame.
I think it's probably all to do with the emissions thing that's going on.
They have been caught out,
and I think they're still reeling from that
and that's probably why they don't want us in.
OK, so Mr Volkswagen didn't give us a golden ticket.
But what's most remarkable about Wolfsburg
is not what goes on inside the factory,
but it's the influence that place has on everything around it.
I've never before seen a town so totally and utterly
dominated by one corporate brand.
There's a VW bank, a VW estate agent, a museum.
The local team is sponsored by VW, and play in the Volkswagen Arena.
There are endless VW group dealerships.
Almost everyone in the town drives a Volkswagen.
And then there's the sausage factory.
VW produce 7.2 million currywurst every year.
That means they produce more slightly spicy sausages than cars.
The crowning glory of VW's dominance in this town is Autostadt,
the Volkswagen theme park
which has become one of the most popular tourist destinations
in Germany, with over two million visitors every year.
In there, you've got cinemas, it's got a hotel.
It is a massive theme park.
They've even got driving lessons for kids as well.
Do you see these two massive cylinders over there?
Those things are the biggest vending machines
you'll ever see in your life.
What they actually do is kick-out cars.
So what they've done, all the brand-new cars
that customers have got, they're in there for about 24 hours
before the customers actually pick them up.
It turns buying your car into theatre - and how German
to create an engineering marvel to deliver that theatrical experience.
It comes down the vending machine, down to the bottom,
out of the car park, and then the customers pick them up,
with zero miles on the clock.
It was like they'd set up a utopia.
Almost felt like in every flowerbed - which didn't look real -
there was a camera or there was a microphone.
And in the distance, you could see people
looking over their shoulder, dressed all in black.
Everyone was looking over at you going,
"What are they doing?"
And you felt you were being watched and monitored.
It was the strangest place to be in.
Amazing, though, at the same time.
I'm honestly relieved to be getting back on the road now,
heading south towards Braunschweig.
And while the badge on my next vehicle says VW,
its spirit is a million miles from the town I'm leaving behind.
I've just driven out of the Volkswagen factory.
And it was amazing seeing all the people
driving out in their brand-new cars.
But look at my new toy!
This is the Volkswagen Kombi.
I'm a hippie!
The first one rolled off in 1950,
but this is a 1978 T2 in green.
They did do it in orange as well,
I think they're amazing.
But I just find it odd that a van like this would come out of Germany.
But, then again, perhaps it is very German.
The Kombi is the hippie van.
It's the only vehicle any self-respecting hippie
would want to be seen in.
And guess where that whole hippie thing started?
I'm getting a nosebleed. I'm getting over 50mph here.
In the late 19th century, the Wandervogel movement
was a reaction to the modern industrial Germany.
They yearned for the Pagan, back to nature,
spiritual life of their ancestors.
Their free spirit ethos spread around the world,
and hippies were born.
I was a hippie. In 1983,
my hair was, sort of, shoulder length.
And then I remember being able to chew on my fringe.
Naturism was another product of the Wandervogel movement
and has become an integral part of modern German culture.
You'll get the guy that works in his suit up at Volkswagen,
and of a weekend strips off, absolutely butt naked,
with his currywurst.
Apparently, three quarters of Germans
think sunbathing in the buff is absolutely acceptable.
And in this country, there are over 200 nudist clubs.
I'm on my way to one now.
I know I'm not getting my buns out.
This is the FKK Naturist Camp, just outside Braunschweig.
A lovely, quiet bit of woodland, full of naked Germans.
'I didn't know where to put my eyes.'
Right, can I sit down somewhere?
'Don't look the left, don't look right.
'Don't, whatever you do, look down!'
This isn't awkward at all(!)
-Not really, no.
-OK, before I start, I've got to explain,
we've got Ben here. Because obviously I've got a microphone on,
but it's very difficult to put microphones on you guys.
So we've got Ben here on sound.
Now, I've always thought of German culture as being quite formal,
And I find this quite odd, it's not what I expected.
At this temperature, do you feel fine? I think we feel fine.
I lived in Cyprus for six years. I can suffer a bit more than this!
It is very hot though, I must admit. It is very hot at the moment.
Mainly, the reason is, actually,
after the First and Second World Wars,
people couldn't really recognise each other if they had nothing on.
-Which means no uniforms, no hierarchy of who is who, and so on.
And everybody was the same. Doing away with all barriers.
So it's a way of breaking down the class system...
-If I was to say, right,
I'm going to come, I'm going to take all my clothes off,
I'd be embarrassed about the fact that someone will know who I am
and see me naked. Have you ever been in that circumstance?
Not really. My mother's quite a prude. She's English.
I brought her here once, because I wanted to show her something,
-our caravan, and so on, and she saw...
-You didn't tell her?
Well, I did indicate it slightly.
I said, "You might see some unusual sights."
And she said, "Oh, I don't look so bad as I thought."
I thoroughly admire what you do.
Thank you very much for allowing me in.
'With that, it's back to the Kombi
'for my first taste of VW's own currywurst.
'Currywurst is actually listed as an official VW component...'
It's got Volkswagen written on it!
'..and has its own part number.'
That's one big sausage, isn't it?
Cook for Daddy.
'199398500A, in case you're interested.'
Where's the nearest loo? I haven't seen a loo since I've been here.
I've seen a spade.
I love this van, though. Everything about it.
Two people in here, big bed in the back,
driving around with your cooker, your fridge... Job done.
And a spade. Obviously.
Right. Let's see what they're all talking about.
Hotter than the sun!
It tastes really good.
I'd have that with a bag of chips any day.
It's been an amazing day, actually.
It was a real interesting look at, not just German cars,
but German culture, and the difference between the two.
Some is very... A corporate image, which we all know,
and love, to be honest, because their cars are great.
And then you have this other side, which is this wild card,
the wild child, which just goes out there, no inhibitions,
just goes out and does what it wants.
There's the two sides of Germany right there.
Roll on tomorrow.
I'm doing about 45, 50mph. And do you know what?
I'm quite happy with it.
I'm heading three hours south
into what used to be communist East Germany,
a country where being a motorist was a whole world away
from what I've experienced so far.
If you wanted a car in the Deutsche Demokratische Republik,
you had a choice of two.
Most people got a Trabant -
cramped, polluting, ugly and made of plastic.
There was, however, something marginally better.
They manufactured 1.2 million of them...
..in this now derelict factory in the town of Eisenach.
The pinnacle of East German motoring luxury was this, the Wartburg 353.
Production began in 1966.
It had a one-litre, three-cylinder
with just seven moving parts.
Enrico Martin - six foot five -
inherited his 50-year-old Wartburg from his father.
-Nice to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
So, you're the owner of this beautiful car.
-I say beautiful...
-Well, first impressions...
'Right, think of something nice to say, Paul.'
I think the build quality is a little bit to be desired.
There's big gaps in there, you know.
'No, that's not nice.'
-I've had pencils thicker than that exhaust.
'That wasn't nice either. Try the engine.'
So, it's 1,000 cc?
-And the brake horsepower?
We have 45 horsepower.
And in the last ones of this car, we have 50 horsepower.
20 years to build up, to bring five horsepower.
Five horsepower in 20 years? That's... That's impressive.
-You love it, don't you?
-I love it. Yes, I love it.
'Right, find a positive.'
-I love the mirrors, by the way.
-There's only one on this side.
Oh, yeah, yeah.
'Think I saved that.'
-It's bouncy, isn't it?
It's like a massive bed.
-Can we go out in it? I've got to try this thing.
Where's the key?
Where is the key?
What was it like growing up in East Germany?
It was difficult.
It was a little bit more controlled than today.
For us, the best thing was to open the wall,
because today we can do what we want.
'And what Enrico wants, apparently, is to still drive a Wartburg.'
-It's got character, hasn't it?
-It has got character.
-You feel driving.
-Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
When you bought one of these cars, was it easy to buy?
You just said, "Yeah, I want one of these."
No, it was really a big problem, you must wait six, eight,
sometimes 14 years.
'Yes, he did say 14 years.
'And when you got your car, after waiting up to 14 years,
'it came with no warranty, no mechanical support,
'and no chance of ever going very fast.
'Especially up hills.'
Not bad. And now you feel 45 horsepowers.
-Look at the smoke coming out the back!
-It's just smoke!
'this car's nickname throughout the Soviet Union was Farty Hans.'
Oh, gas pedal's stuck!
'The Wartburg was very simply engineered because,
'as with everything in East Germany, garages were in very short supply.
'Being a motorist also meant being a mechanic.
'Owners had to make their own repairs.'
To fix the engine is not really a problem
if you don't have two left-hands.
So if something broke, where would you go and get your spare parts?
Spare parts in East Germany was the next really big problem.
People understand we must bring out some spare parts
-from the factory, yeah? Stealing.
-So, it's like a black market?
It was a black market.
'The 353 is East Germany in car form.
'No wonder over three million East Germans risked their lives
'defecting to the West. Especially...
'..when this was waiting for them.'
This is the BMW 2002.
Launched in the same year as the Wartburg,
but about 10 million light years more advanced.
Especially this Ti version, which came out in 1967,
the same year Enrico's dad bought their Wartburg.
And to prove it, a drag race.
BMW versus Wartburg.
Free-market, versus state control.
Three, two, one, go!
Oh, smashes it out the park.
This is too easy.
Coming up to 60mph.
'As you can see, West Germany
'was a very, very, very long way ahead of their Soviet comrades.'
The sad postscript to the Wartburg story
is that despite being the best car that the DDR ever built,
it will be the first forgotten.
The Trabant has achieved iconic status
as a symbol of the Berlin Wall coming down, and Germany reunifying.
All that reunification meant for the Wartburg
was production ending for good in 1991,
and 10,000 workers losing their jobs.
I'm halfway through my road trip now, on the A5, south of Frankfurt -
and check out my wheels!
This is Mercedes' current supercar, the AMG GT S.
With a top speed just shy of 200mph,
this silver Arrow can very quickly make all my Autobahn fantasies
For the manufacturers, it is important to show the technology
-Joining me and taking on driving duties
is a German racing legend, Bernd Schneider.
Bernd has raced in pretty much everything from F1 to Lamont.
And he won the German Touring Car Championship an unprecedented
We're on a pilgrimage today to a spot which is very important
to Bernd, on this very special stretch of Autobahn.
This road looks absolutely straight, what section are we on here?
Yeah, this was, in the '30s, the high-speed record motor ring.
They closed it one time a year,
where the manufacturers tried to beat the high speed records.
-Driving his 15-cylinder Auto Union...
In the 1930s under Hitler's third Reich,
Germany had to be the best at everything,
and motorsport was no exception.
The Nazis massively funded race teams, manufacturers,
and any infrastructure needed to prove German superiority.
So this was purposely built to break land-speed records.
That is very German.
Throughout the 1930s, Germans repeatedly broke dozens
of world speed records in numerous categories.
Bernd Rosemeyer was Germany's star driver and a national hero.
He and his equally famous wife, aviator Elly Beinhorn,
were Germany's most loved celebrity couple.
-We're nearly there.
However, what happened to Rosemeyer on the 28th January 1938,
near to this small lay-by, left the whole nation in shock.
So what happened to Rosemeyer, then?
This was in the morning in January, it was a cruel, winter day.
But nice weather.
The morning began with success, as Rosemeyer's main opponent,
Rudolf Caracciola, set a new class speed record in his Mercedes.
He reached 268.9 mph.
Next, it was Rosemeyer's turn.
This was around 11:40.
His engineer said "It's getting too windy."
But Rosemeyer said, "No, the car feels great
"and I think I can break the record."
Rosemeyer quickly accelerated his Auto Union car to 250mph.
But then, close to where we're standing,
the strong side wind caused his car to take off.
In that moment, he was a passenger.
And, Bernd, this is your name.
Exactly. My dad came here in 1964,
my mother was pregnant and my dad said,
"If we get a son, his name will be Bernd."
-My name is Bernd because of Bernd Rosemeyer.
Yeah, I pass this parking space many often,
-but this is the first time I am here.
It affected Bernd, actually, he went a bit quiet afterwards.
And when he said to me, he said, "That got to me.
I said, "Did it?" He says, "Yeah, that got to me, that."
As we set off again, I take the wheel.
But my new friend, Bernd, decides to take control of everything else.
Sit back, and witness a racing driver wishing, maybe praying,
he could still be in the driving seat.
High beam is on, your lights.
That's the good thing with this button.
You have to push this, then you have to shift.
'What's he doing? He's messing with all the gadgets and the buttons.'
You have to shift your lights as well.
If you go to race, it's even more...
'I was thinking, "Leave it alone.
' "It's fine." '
Eventually, having adjusted absolutely everything, he's happy.
You can go faster if you want.
Spending a day with Bernd and driving the GT S,
it's clear that winning is key to the German psyche.
When you think of Bernd Rosemeyer, doing double this speed in 1938...
-..incredible, isn't it?
-Yeah, it was amazing.
Day five, and I've made it to Stuttgart.
But after all that blatting down Autobahns, the Merc needs a wash
before I give it back.
And boy is it going to get one.
You can't wash your cars at home at all, in Germany,
which I find really bizarre.
Normal. 'I mean, I love washing my car at home,
'but taking it into this car wash, I mean, the size of it,
'it was huge.'
Washing your car at home was banned here a few years ago
for environmental reasons.
And with Germans washing their cars on average three times
more regularly than us Brits,
that's created a massive car-washing industry
reputed to be worth over £2 billion a year.
I'm in business!
This is the biggest car wash in Germany
and it cost 30 million euros to build.
For a carwash!
This place can do over 380 cars an hour.
That is phenomenal.
60,000 in a month.
Then it's on to the valet service.
That's very German.
Very clean and disciplined and your car comes out looking very good.
Thank you. Lovely. Bye-bye.
If they're going to build a carwash,
it's probably going to be the best and the biggest in the world,
and we found that one in Stuttgart.
As Stuttgart is the home of Mercedes,
I've only got a short drive to drop off one very clean supercar at the
factory it came from.
But, of course, this city is also home to another supercar,
possibly the most iconic German motor car of all time -
the Porsche 911.
When the original 911 was launched in 1963,
its looks were not to everyone's tastes.
But no-one could deny the brilliance of the engineering.
The air-cooled rear engine and short wheelbase meant killer performance.
Even if it was a little tail-happy.
# Dann sind wir Helden... #
And that's what makes it beautiful, especially to Germans,
Across its 60-year lifespan and multiple generations,
the shape has evolved, whilst staying the same,
and that classic 911 silhouette has become sexy and beautiful because of
what we all know lies beneath.
Now, all 911s are special, but this one,
which I've been lent for just a couple of hours,
is particularly special,
because it's the 911 R.
It's lightweight, carbon discs, magnesium roof,
Perspex 3/4 windows and rear,
500-brake horsepower, it'll do in excess of 200mph.
HE CHUCKLES Nice.
But that's not the reason this car is making headlines.
They're only making 991 of them. Originally,
when it came out in early 2016, this car cost £136,000.
But it's now worth around 750, £800,000.
£100 an hour it's going up in value.
It's just staggering.
The 911 is, was, and will forever be as German as a supercar gets.
And for that reason, it will forever be in very big demand.
The sixth and last day of my German road trip brings me back north
towards the Dutch border.
I think it's fair to say
this is the day I've been most looking forward to
as I'm going to get a chance to drive the legendary Nurburgring.
What makes the day better
is that I'll be spending it with comedian Al Murray,
who knows Germany very well.
Our day starts with Kaffee und Kuchen.
Now, you're a bit of a German aficionado, really, aren't you?
Well, I love Germany, yeah.
I think you'd call me a Germanophile.
-Can we use that word?
I really, really love this country and I'm intrigued by it.
What we think of Germany and what it's really like and all that sort
-of stuff, I think, is really interesting.
-You have these
-beautiful cars which they make over here and they are...
..gorgeous, do you think there's a correlation between the German
people and the German cars?
Every culture expresses itself through its engineering, I think.
You know, in the way that French cars,
they always strike me as they're built with a, "Pah!" You know...
whereas German cars are, here's a car that is perfectly made,
you know, like that sort of thing. These aren't criticisms,
it's what I like about France and what I like about Germany.
The thing that gets me, I mean,
the Autobahn is an amazing situation that seems to work in Germany.
Whether that'd work in the UK I'm not too sure.
-I think it'd just be mayhem.
-The British, when they're in a car,
it's like you're a rugged individualist behind a wheel,
"I'm go where I'm going," it's all about elbows.
Whereas German driving's just a bit like a communal expression of
something. I'm part of the traffic and I need to try
and make the traffic flow and then we will all get to
where we're going, together.
The thing is these are colossal generalisations,
but very often those things contain an element of truth.
Obviously, we're here, actually, at the Nurburgring.
I hope you don't get too scared with speed.
I... You know, you know what you're doing.
So, the Nurburgring.
Let's start with the basics.
There are actually two Nurburgrings.
One is a three-mile Grand Prix circuit.
But the track we're interested in is the north loop, or Nordschleife.
This is almost 30 miles long...
..and has a unforgiving Armco around the whole track.
It's claimed countless lives here since it was built in the 1920s.
And back when it used to be the home
to the German Formula 1 Grand Prix,
Jackie Stewart called it...
..the green hell.
Nervous doesn't cover it.
The ring, operated by the local council, is a public toll road,
25 euros a lap.
Can we have four laps, please?
Yeah, sure, 105. You must know the emergency number from us,
-you can type it in your phone.
-In case of an accident.
And we have an ambulance car right here at the entrance, so...
-Ah, lovely, thank you. And do you sell toilet roll at all?
-The toilet is at the Devil's Diner under the...
-I'm wearing a nappy.
-Thank you, bye-bye. THEY LAUGH
Hundreds turn up every evening to drive the Nordschleife.
And a lot of them have come a very long way.
-Where are you from?
-I live in Norway.
-You live in Norway.
I live and work in Aberdeen, in Scotland.
Did you bring this down from Norway?
-It takes me two days to get here.
-18 hours hard driving.
THEY LAUGH So it's a way of life, really,
-I think so. I mean, it's a great hobby.
This is the best track in the world.
You can drive fast, you can be in the moment.
This is like meditation.
I love it.
So fast the elevation changes and the barriers are very close.
As long as you've got fuel, it's never-ending open road
with no junctions and no cars coming the other way.
There's a sense of speed...
You're saying it's sexy, aren't you?
-That's what you're saying.
-It's pretty sexy, yeah.
For our first experience of the sexy ring, Al and I have booked a taxi,
a Ring Taxi, the quickest way to go very quickly around the ring.
'And our cabbie is professional driver
'and Nurburgring ring veteran Dale Lomas.'
So what's going to be happening, mate?
Ring Taxi. One lap of the whole Nurburgring, 13 miles,
in a 430-horsepower
brand-new 2016 BMW M3.
-Yeah, well... as I'll ever be.
"Unfallgefahr, fur nachfolgenden Verkehr."
"Accident risk for subsequent traffic."
Ah, you speak more German than you let on.
No, I read the translation!
154 separate corners
and 1,000 feet of elevation change.
It's not a circuit you can learn in a day. Luckily,
Dale's driven it thousands of times.
We're going to go into Tiergarten-Senke at about 130mph.
I indicate left, that shows that I'm going to come past on the left.
Overtaking here is always on the left side, never on the right.
Round the outside of these guys.
When it comes to driving this yourself, obviously,
I don't need you to go as fast as this.
Yeah, that's fine.
This is the halfway point.
-Yeah, this is halfway, Al.
We're heading towards the next section, which is called Klostertal.
And in the middle of the Klostertal is a corner called Angst Kurve or
Mutkurve, which means fear corner or courage corner.
I'm going with fear corner.
This is the very famous Carraciola-Karussell.
PAUL LAUGHS This is fantastic!
My favourite section next, this is called Pflanzgarten.
-A little jump.
This is all blind faith.
To be with someone for the first time who knows the track so well
and to see him handling that car was a thing of beauty.
I was conscious of Al behind me, cos he was getting quite worried.
He was getting thrown round in the back-seat like a rag doll.
And I thought, "Wait till you come in with me!"
Thank you very much indeed, mate. That was awesome.
-Great bit of peddling.
Erm...can I have a receipt, please?
That was awesome, wasn't it? I am shocked about the level of grip.
-I'm delighted with the level of grip this car's got.
-That was amazing, Dale, you're so mild-mannered...
-Ah, thank you.
..in person and then you drove us around there like a lunatic.
-Yeah. Like you stole it!
One of the attractions of the Nurburgring is the danger.
If you get it wrong, you will pay for it.
And Al is taking out insurance.
Thank goodness. It comes with a helmet.
For when being driven by a helmet!
You're a baker, not a racing driver.
How many times! I'm made of sponge.
Treat me gently.
-This is brilliant, innit?
Beats baking bread.
Whoa! See, I don't know the track, you see.
No, I know you don't know the track.
I was a little bit worried having Al next to me.
I was thinking, "How's he going to react?
"Is he going to throw up? Does he get carsick?
"Is he going to punch me?
"Is he just going to start crying halfway around?
"Is he going to try and jump out?"
Oh, yeah, now we're building up a bit of speed.
Here we go.
I think he just gripped onto the side of the door
as hard as he could and just smiled and said, "You're doing well.
-"You're doing well."
-You're doing great.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa...
-Shore! Gets to the shore.
YOU might be laughing...
-I'm enjoying this now.
I'm actually into it.
Oh! No, mate, I've changed my mind.
'At the halfway point, I can tell that Al is relaxing a bit.'
Oh, we've done 14km. Whoa-hoa!
And that was the first time I've ever been around the Nurburgring
and it was just awesome.
The corners, the memories, the writing on the roads,
the people around the track.
It was a real treat.
Well done, Paul.
-Was that all right, mate?
-I'm still alive!
-Thanks, mate, absolutely brilliant.
It was a good day.
That was a big life tick, that day, actually, for me.
-Was that all right?
-You did it.
-As a baker, cos you pointed out I'm just a baker,
-not a racing driver...
-Yeah, well, your souffle
didn't collapse in the middle during that.
I don't know, I don't get baking either!
-I mean, I don't know how to do either of these bloody things!
-My heart's pumping, you know.
Yeah? Well, that's good. Well, a nice beer might deal with that,
-then. Let's go, mate.
-Let's go, buddy.
Blatting around the Nurburgring with Al has been the perfect way to end
my six-day road trip across Germany, and what a road trip.
Let me drive you round next time
and you can experience it all in a completely different way!
-Do you know what, I'll do that!
In some ways,
it's proved to me that a lot of the cliches about Germany are true.
If you break the rules, you know, people will go nuts on you.
They are ruthlessly efficient, they do love rules and structure,
they are perfectionists,
they do love sausages
and they are bloody tall!
What most of that means is that they build the best engineered cars
on Earth and they constantly strive to make them even better.
It also means their roads...
That's excellent! ..are a joy to drive on.
I love the Autobahn,
I love the fact that they rely on people
to use their common sense to drive properly.
After six days, I fell in love with Germany.
If you want to learn about cars and how to make them properly,
go to Germany and see how they do it
because you've got the motorways to prove it as well.
Next time, I'll be in France...
-Don't be British!
-..parking in Paris...
-Just a little bump.
HE LAUGHS I'm trying here!
..arguing with a chef...
-Paul, come on.
-No, I can't.
You go, mate.
..and chasing an F1 car.
That's the view you want of a Formula 1 car.
In this episode, Paul Hollywood visits Germany to try and find out what makes the country tick when it comes to cars. How do the cars they make and the way they drive them reflect the character of the nation? On his trip, Paul drives some of the best and worst cars built in Germany and is joined by a few travelling companions who provide an insight into German culture and explain what they think their cars say about their country.
His six-day, 1,000-mile road trip starts in Berlin, before taking in the VW stronghold of Wolfsburg, and then Eisenach, the former base of East German car maker Wartburg. Paul then heads down to Frankfurt, to drive a famous stretch of the autobahn, before continuing south to Stuttgart, a city synonymous with Porsche. On his final day, he heads northwest to one of the most famous, and notorious, racing circuits in the world - the Nurburgring.
On day one, comedian Christian Shulte-Loh teaches Paul how to drive like a German on the streets of Berlin. Their transport is a German engineering marvel from the 1960s, the Mercedes 600 Grosser - a favourite with heads of state, dictators and celebrities of the time. The 600 is massive, which doesn't make it an ideal learner car! Paul leaves the city at dusk in a modern German engineering marvel, the beautiful BMW i8 hybrid supercar - a car that really allows him to enjoy the autobahn. As night falls, Paul stops at the Marienborn checkpoint, a Cold War border crossing where West Germans prepared for an anxious journey through a hundred miles of East German territory to reach the isolated enclave of West Berlin.
Day two starts in VW town, Wolfsburg - a small farming town transformed into the home of one the world's largest car brands. Having inspected its utopian surroundings, Paul continues his journey in one of VW's most uncharacteristic products, a Kombi camper van. The Kombi is favoured by hippies the world over - a movement which has the same German roots as another counterculture still popular here - naturism. Paul finishes his day by visiting a German nudist colony.
On day three, Paul drives into what used to be communist East Germany to the town of Eisenach. Here, he visits the now derelict factory where they used to build the best car ever to come out of East Germany, the Wartburg 353. He hooks up with local boy Enrico, who lets him go for a spin in his family's beloved Wartburg. To Paul, the vehicle seems positively archaic, so how well will it compare with a West German equivalent from the same 1970s period - a BMW 2002? A drag race will decide.
The next day is about the German love of speed. Just south of Frankfurt is a stretch of the autobahn built specifically for speed record attempts in the 1930s. Paul is joined by racing legend Bernd Schneider to discover why being the fastest in the world was so important to the Germans at that time. And what is the connection between Bernd and one of the greatest pre-war German racers, who subsequently died on that stretch of road?
Day five and Paul's in Stuttgart. The day begins with a visit to a very cool car wash that cost 20 million euros to build. After that, Paul pays homage to Germany's greatest sports car, if not the world's greatest sports car, the Porsche 911. Now over 50 years old, why has it been so enduring?
The last day is spent at the German shrine to motor racing, the Nurburgring. Famously called the Green Hell by Jackie Stewart, its 13-mile length is the ultimate test of man and machine. And what's best is that anyone can drive it - one lap costs 25 euros. Comedian and Germanophile Al Murray joins Paul for the day and after they've had coffee and a bit of a chat about the Germans, they head to the track. How will Paul get on as he drives the Nurburgring for the first time? And will Al wish he'd never agreed to ride with him?