Most petrolheads will be able to sympathise with the joy of walking around a car manufacturer’s private collection of historic vehicles. Companies like Porsche and Mercedes-Benz make those collections public, albeit rotated occasionally given only limited space in which to display them.
Others, like that of SEAT, are unfortunately hidden away from the public, with no convenient facility yet constructed to make them available for all to see. That’s why SEAT has come up with the SEAT Digital Museum – an online archive of the firm’s historic vehicles that anyone around the world can access.
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Where SEAT Digital Museum differs from existing online archives is in its presentation format. Rather than a dull slideshow of grainy images, the Digital Museum’s exhibits are rather more painstaking to create.
Each has been digitally scanned from the original vehicle in SEAT’s collection (original being the operative term, since many of the cars are the very first off the line), and is presented in the same colour and trim level of the actual, physical vehicle.
To this, SEAT adds a full specification and back-story of its vehicles, while the company’s archivists have unearthed old photographs and footage, where applicable, to embellish each virtual vehicle.
At this early stage, only a small selection of the 300-strong collection is available to view at the Digital Museum. But as befits its digital nature, the online collection is in a constant state of being updated so some of the more unusual models – some of which are pictured in our gallery – are sure to appear over time.
You won’t have failed to notice the unusual structure in which the Digital Museum is digitally housed. Designed during a 48-hour ‘Archithon’ – an architecture marathon – the winning design is a cloud-like form inspired by SEAT’s design language that stands high over a virtual city.
SEAT’s actual collection, housed in a warehouse at its Zona Franca-based facility near Barcelona, is rather less strikingly presented. But as you’ll appreciate, there’s something about walking around the rows of vehicles that – impressive though the Digital Museum is – just can’t be replaced by the wonders of the internet.