Maybach introduced itself as the luxury equivalent 100 years ago - in 1921. And since then he has not left his place on the pedestal for a moment. On the contrary, with each new model, it constantly renews its understanding of the possibilities offered by comfort, design and technology. And experts appreciate it. For example, since 2015, the Mercedes-Maybach S has been sold in more than 60,000 units worldwide. Its success is based on the fact that the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class faithfully and uncompromisingly follows the unique tradition of Mercedes-Benz and Maybach brand exclusivity.
Motorenbau GmbH presented its first Maybach model, the W3, at the 1921 IAA (Internationale Automobil Ausstellung) at the Berlin Motor Show from 23 September to 2 October. Behind it was the First World War with experience in the production of high-performance mechanisms, which could now be used in other directions. One of them was cars. Karl Maibach, who oversaw Maybach Motor Works, had developed a racing car engine in France. By contrast, his father, Wilhelm Maibach, had done a revolutionary work that resulted in the shape of the modern car. These were experiences without which the creation of the W3 would not have been possible.
The Maybach W3 delivered 70 horsepower at 2,200 rpm, which resonated with both the press and the public. Maybach was also able to combine an excellent quality standard with new technical capabilities. The advertising page read: ‘Ohne Schaltung’, meaning ‘without gear shifting’, and ‘Vierrad-Bremse’, meaning ‘four-wheel braking’. The first was the fact that the engine had a two-speed gearbox that could be shifted using a foot lever. This was convenient because the driver rarely had to remove his hands from the steering wheel. On the other hand, the above-mentioned four-wheel braking system, developed in Maybach and used for the first time in Germany, made driving safer.
Maybach cars were never produced in large numbers, as they were the highest-class products at a reasonable price in terms of reliability, quality and performance. The chassis cost 24,000 Reichsmarks, which was a huge amount at the time. In addition, 15 to 25,000 per body had to be paid. To understand what it meant to buy a car for 40-50 thousand, it should be mentioned that the average annual salary in 1924 was 1,233 Reichsmarks.
To date, unfortunately, none of the outstanding W 3 Series machines, which continued to be manufactured until 1928, have survived. In contrast, the cars that followed the W 3 - the twelve-cylinder Maybach 12, or DS 7, and 8 - are legends to this day.
Rarely has anyone seen a photo with the legendary "Graf Zeppelin", famous for its flight around the globe in 1929. Well then! As it turns out, this flight was possible thanks to Maybach - and specifically - its twelve-cylinder engines. The same engines powered the Maybach 12, released in 1930. Thanks to this collaboration between car and aircraft manufacturers, this Maybach model got its name - Zeppelin. It was considered the best among the luxury cars of the time. There were no two identical cars of this model, as they were all custom-made and their design fully reflected the customer's individual needs. In total, only 183 cars of this model were manufactured.
The 1931 Maybach DS8 Zeppelin differed not only in power and engine capacity, but also in the fact that it had a five-speed transmission. German car journalists called the car a "representative of the highest automotive society": in some years of production, only two hundred copies were made to order.
It should be noted that the driver of this three-tonne limousine had to have the right to drive a truck. Under German law in force at the time, only passenger cars weighing less than 2.5 tonnes were considered passenger cars.
Launched in 1935, the SW35 had a six-cylinder engine and a much simpler steering system than the Zeppelin. Now customers who bought Maybach cars could not waste time learning to handle complex gears and not get an experienced paid driver behind the wheel, but drive without problems themselves.
It should be noted, however, that half a century later, in 2002, Maybach returned to the division of the cabin into "driver" and "passenger".
The Maybach SW42, the last pre-war Maybach model, became slightly taller and got a new engine with increased capacity. The car's maximum speed also increased accordingly. This model was chosen by high-ranking Nazi officials and major German industrialists, including the Propaganda Reichminister. Goebbels and the famous aircraft designer Ernst Heinkel.
By the way, contrary to popular belief, Stirlitz-Isaev never led Maybach. In the novel, he had "Horch", whose films were changed to "Mercedes" in the screenplay. And the only Soviet film to feature Maybach SW42 is a screen adaptation of Irvin Show's 1982 novel “The Rich Man, The Poor Man.”
Using the earlier experience of the Maybach plant, from 1936 onwards almost all German bunkers were equipped with Maybach engines. They were also used in the construction of one of the most famous World War II tanks - Panzer III, and its "heir" - Panzer IV.
In 1941, with the outbreak of war on the Eastern Front, Maybach had to phase out the production of luxury cars and move completely to the development of engines suitable for bunker equipment. With the end of war, the company did not resume car production either, as market demand had changed significantly. In 1960, the Maybach plant was acquired by the Daimler-Benz Group. However, it took another 36 years for the Maybach brand to return to the market.
The first model to see the light of day after a sixty-year hiatus in 2002 was the Maybach 57. This variation was positioned as the "driver's car". It was a luxury car for those who choose to sit behind the wheel themselves. The price of this pleasure was starting from 360 thousand euros.
At the same time as the Maybach 57, the Maybach 62 was also introduced. It had a larger cabin and was intended for the owner to never sit in the driver's seat, but in one of the two rear seats with folding backrests.
The most significant in the history of this model was when on June 26, 2002, in a glass box, accompanied by the press and Daimler-Benz executives, she boarded the Queen Elizabeth 2 liner from Southampton to New York, and then from New York Harbor to the Regent Hotel on Wall Street. The price of this car was starting from 430 thousand euros.
The next Maybach model - Landaulet, already cost from 900 thousand euros. It was a fabulous white convertible that was introduced to the public as a concept car in November 2007, based on Maybach 62.
Maybach Exelero - one of the most expensive cars today, is the only Maybach sports car. And the most interesting thing is that this machine was not created to gain a new market segment, but to promote the German company Fulda's super high-speed tires - Carat Exelero, which is also mentioned in the car model name.
The first copy was assembled manually and presented to the public on 1 May 2005 at the Nardo test site in southern Italy. On this day, the car showed a top speed of almost 352 km / h. The first owner of this model was rapper Brian Williams, known as Birdman. The purchase cost him $ 8 million. For reference, a similar sports car cost no more than $ 7.8 million.
Unfortunately, Daimler AG's efforts to revive the legendary brand did not receive a response. Sales of Maybach cars turned out to be very low and did not cover the investment in production. As a result, at the end of 2011, it was decided to abandon the production of this brand of cars and to develop new Mercedes-Benz S-Class models instead.
However, the Maybach brand has an incredible ability to survive. In 2016, it returned to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance hood cover. And in 2021, it will continue its story with the new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class model, which will go to the first customers this spring -100 years after the presentation of the first Maybach car. The new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class also illustrates the luxury experience of the brand and perfectly combines aesthetic sophistication and technology.
Called the world's most luxurious car, Maybach's success story continues. It combines the high-tech solutions of the recently introduced Mercedes-Benz flagship S-Class with Maybach's exclusivity and tradition.