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© 2002/2016  ’n Joy Media – Henk J. Brouwer


VeloceToday - Preview part I


Note ...

The museum has a difficult time behind it, especially in the financial field. Meanwhile, Christoph Louis "has left the building" (after 25 years) and the municipality has taken over, so the estate of Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips is preserved to the public. The museum opened again, but only on all Sundays and public holidays. On the site you can find more information.


Copyright Henk J. Brouwer

[ Henk Brouwer visited the von Trips Museum in 2001 and wrote about it for VeloceToday. It may be one of the only

complete descriptions of the Museum as it apparently closed its doors in 2014. Ed. ]



As we have recounted in Part 1, Count “Taffy” von Trips lived in a castle, whose foundations dated from the late 14th century. The castle Hemmersbach was awarded to Franz Adalph Ansem Berghe von Trips in 1751 and extended by Wolfgang’s grandfather in 1899. Wolfgang’s father Eduard continued to live in the castle until his death in 1971. The widowed Thessa, then moved out of the castle into the nearby Villa Trips which she had built, until her death in 1978.


The castle was sold in 1984 to a private owner who restored it in 1988. After that, the castle seemed to be neglected. In 1999 it was sold to a software engineer, and there was a very radical restoration of the whole castle in progress, starting with the outbuildings. The estate directly around the castle is fully fenced in. Warnings of big, mean dogs are posted on the fences. The castle leaves a ruinous impression, caused by the rampancy of ivies and weeds between the bricks of the entrance and some blisters on the paint. With thunder, lightning, rain and wind, the castle even can look lugubrious.


Villa Trips as it appeared in 2001.

In 1973 Wolfgang’s mother established a foundation, the “Graflich Berghe von Trips’sche Sportstiftung zu Berg Hemmersbach” and in 1975 it was made official by the responsible minister. The aim of the foundation was the formation and maintenance of a museum of motorsports located in the aforementioned Villa Trips. Eventually the museum was supposed to be extended to be a museum of motor racing in general. Reinold Louis became chairman of the foundation in 1991. With the help of sponsors it became possible to obtain the TCA Formula Junior. Many pieces of art were bought or created such as videotapes, books, scale-models and other interesting items relevant to racing. The original location quickly became too small and many of the museum pieces had to be stored in cellars or elsewhere.


The Museum in the Villa Trips

With a bit of luck, it became possible to accommodate the museum in the Villa Trips. The opening was on May 23rd, 2000 (the day on which von Trips would have reached his 72th anniversary).

The main theme of the museum was, of course, Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips. The collections of his family and those given by his friends document his career from racing motorist until he became Formula 1 driver with the Ferrari team.


The Workshop

On the ground floor was the workshop in which the visitor could admire the TCA (for Trips Colotti Autounion or Trips Colotti Automobilist) Formula Junior designed by von Trips and built by Ferrari mechanics. Of the seven built, TCA #0001 was a test-car, which was never delivered. TCA #0002, which is displayed in the shop, was equipped with Colotti’s five-gearbox and a 1000cc DKW motor with 80 hp, side-tanks of 65 liters each, Amadori wheels and very special bodywork, that could be dismantled in four parts, designed by Umberto Fantuzzi. The frame was built by Neri and the total weight was 375 kilos, representing the rules in those days.

The TCA at left, and the De Tomaso F Jr, on right. The TCA in the museum is the only one in the world and it was restored in America. The remains of the other TCA reminded the visitor of the terrible accident at Monza in which a test-driver of the Scuderia Colonia died. Among some tools there was also a De Tomaso Formula Junior, bought in America in 1960 and used by Scuderia Colonia for training.

The remains of the TCA which crashed at Monza.

A few shelves of the fantastic library and a table model of the castle grounds. All four walls of the library were lined with books about motorcars, from A to Z. The library of the foundation currently had approximately 7,000 titles, many of which are about Ferrari, but there were also books about Porsche, Dodge and Mercedes, and many others. Those walls, filled with so many books, strangely impressed me.

The “Graf Wolfgang Zimmer”, or Wolfgang’s room, is set up much as he used his office in the 1950s until his death in 1961

In the museum, there were several rooms full of valuable possessions, but the most remarkable room was the “Graf Wolfgang Zimmer”. Decorated like his original office, the room was complete with his belongings, just as he used it, including his desk, tables, chests, and bookcases. There was a remarkable feeling of peace in this room. Opposite the office was the “Benzin Zimmer Taffy”, an overview of the participation of the Scuderia Colonia at several events, illustrated by the many medals, cups and photos.

One of the many displays of models and artifacts.

Comments from other drivers could be found in hallways.

In the “Mille Miglia Zimmer” was a personal view of von Trips, compiled by different people. There was some attention paid to the Mille Miglia (1957, May 11-12) by means of photos, posters, etc. The “Le Mans Zimmer” displayed travel items of all kinds, like a passport and little mementos. In the corridors several posters and paintings decorated the walls. Opposite the “Dokumentationszentrum” (Documentation-center) was a huge sort of pillar with 116 maps in it as well as press cuttings and articles from magazines. In that part of the first floor was also a “Modelauto und Zeitunsarchive Zimmer” (‘Model car and newspaper-archive room”) which was full of books about model cars, newspapers and magazines.


In the room called the “Mythos Graf Berghe von Trips”, there was a very emotional live taped report of the race of the deadly accident of von Trips, covered by the radio-reporters Reinhard Künstler and Günher Jendri. When a button was pushed, the tape started and the emotional voices of both reporters really stay in one’s memory. Photos of the race and the accident as well as the funeral reminded one of this terrible day. The visitor got some relief in the “Zandvoort Zimmer”, with scale-models and dioramas, each with its own theme such as the Mille Miglia, Sebring, Le Mans, etc. Moreover there are all sorts of knick-knacks for fans and/or collectors.


In the “Aintree Zimmer” there was a little TV-room. Here you could sit down and watch the film “La Passione” by Chris Rea. In the little hall between the two last rooms was a display of the Grand Prix races of 1961, using various pictures and descriptions. “Nürburgring” is a playroom with a Nintendo for the “big kids” to race, and finally there’s a large conference room with a huge screen, tables, chairs and presentation equipment.


On the walls in different show-windows were scale models and photos of many celebrities in the world of racing like Sir Stirling Moss, John Surtees, Keke Rosberg, Nikki Lauda, Alain Prost, Nelson Piquette and many others. Downstairs on the terrace overlooking the gardens, one might rest, while drinking a cup of coffee or tea, and let the impressions of the things he saw, or heard sink in, while listening to the rustling of the trees.



Books on von Trips and the Ferrari 156:

     * Ferrari 156 Sharknose, by Ed McDonough,
     * Sutton Publishing, 2001, U.S. List Price $44.00

     * Trips-Bilder Eines Lebens, by Fodisch and Devwitz
         (text in German), available from Cavallino (1-800-306-6937), $125


Note ...

The museum has a difficult time behind it, especially in the financial field. Meanwhile, Christoph Louis "has left the building" (after 25 years) and the municipality has taken over, so the estate of Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips is preserved to the public. The museum opened again, but only on all Sundays and public holidays. On the site you can find more information.

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