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Maybach, a car whose revival created history

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/18/2006 | Auto and Trucks

The history of Maybach is closely intertwined with the history of its founder Wilhelm Maybach, who was rated as an automotive genius and today graces the Automotive Hall of Fame.

Today the company is owned by the Daimler-Chrysler group, an association that Maybach would have approved given the fact that the founder of Daimler group, Gottlieb Daimler, was his close friend and shared the same interests for developing exquisite and elegant luxury automobiles.

The duo showcased their first car built with new age features like steel bodied wheels and a sliding pinion gearshift system in the year 1889. At that time Wilhelm Maybach was the chief engineer in the Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG) or Daimler Motor Company and Gottlieb Daimler was the owner.

Soon after, Wilhelm Maybach left the company and worked alone for the next few months. He was credited with the invention of the new and developed Phoenix engine. The engine boasted of a new carburetor and a belt drive system.

The year 1895 saw the return of Wilhelm Maybach in Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft. He developed the first ever four cylinder automobile engine and a radiator that was cooled by a fan powered by a motor.

In 1900, Wilhelm Maybach created the legendary luxury car Mercedes for the elite. The cars sleek interiors made using the choicest materials available were matched by the elegant and classy steel exterior. Wilhelm was last seen in the DMG in 1907. He was succeeded by his son Karl Maybach.

The next Maybach automotive company Luftfahrzeug Motorenbau GmbH was co-founded with Count Zeppelin. The company later came to be known as the Maybach Motorenbau GmbH. During the world wars the company produced engines used for ships and tanks.

In the year 1921 the company manufactured the first Maybach named W3. The trademark of Maybach was the production of cars that were not only made using superior technology but were custom designed to suit the taste and style of each of their clientele. For the first time a V12 engine was used to power the Maybach 12DS.

The company produced another well-known car, the Zeppelin, in the 1930s. These powerful cars were made with added luxury features. However, they were no patch on Maybachs, whose exclusivity and high price made this car unrivalled. Even today, the few hundreds Maybachs of this era are prized possessions.

Maybach was revived in the early 21st century by Daimler-Chrysler when it launched Maybach 57 and Maybach 62. Each of these Maybachs are luxury vehicles positioned to compete with high-end cars like Bentley and Rolls-Royce. Interestingly, the model numbers represent the length of the super-luxury automobiles in decimeters. The cars themselves have been built keeping the original designs and exclusivity in mind

The newest Maybach model to be showcased is the Maybach Exelero. It is a two-seater car that is powered by a bi turbo V12 engine that runs at 690hp. The development of the new model shows that the Maybach name will live on in the 21st century.