Remember Maybach 57 and 62?

They were all superlative cars. To show Rolls-Royce and Bentley what true luxury is. They were to seduce the stars and the powerful. In the end, they were above all a commercial failure. Crossroads Wilhelm Maybach was one of the car pioneers who initially worked with Gottlieb Daimler. He left the Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (the first half that became Daimler-Benz) in 1907 and founded the company in 1909 to build engines for the Zeppelin airships. When the 1919 Treaty of Versailles banned Germany from producing aviation equipment, Maybach turned to automobiles. From 1921 to 1940, Maybach used Germany’s first V12 to build Europe’s best models, including the DS7 and DS8 Zeppelin. Photo: Mercedes-Benz About 1,800 cars are expected to be sold before World War II halted this activity. After that, the company began to manufacture military equipment, in particular, tank engines. After 1945, Maybach returned to production of industrial engines. It was acquired by Mercedes-Benz in 1960 and renamed MTU in 1969. 30+ It is said that Mercedes-Benz may have developed the next-generation Maybach after a failed takeover attempt by Rolls-Royce in 1998. Only here the brand has already been working on the project for almost two years. In fact, in the mid-1990s, Mercedes observed an ever-growing number of 30s. No, you are not over 30. The term effectively applies to people who have more than $30 million in assets. This is a very demanding customer that seems to have targeted only Rolls-Royce and Bentley (the same company at the time). Mercedes sees potential there. Especially since the brand already competed with a venerable British company that had some success with the 600 between 1963 and 1981. In 1996, three interior style offices (Irvine, CA, Tokyo and Sindelfingen, Germany) were appointed to work on this concept. Prestige limousine named “Projekt Maybach”. In January 1997, five models were submitted to management, and the almost unanimous selection was the one from Tokyo (built under the direction of Frenchman Olivier Boulay). Italy’s Coachbuilder Stola will be responsible for manufacturing the prototype. At the Tokyo Motor Show in October 1997, Jürgen Hubbert, president of the Mercedes-Benz brand, unveiled the Mercedes-Benz Maybach with Wilhelm Maybach’s granddaughter. In response to the hot reaction, the company decided to proceed with the development of a production model. Photo: Mercedes-Benz A brand Vickers Plc Group put the Rolls-Royce and Bentley for sale at about the same time. Mercedes showed interest for a while, but soon withdrew from negotiations, leaving Volkswagen and BMW to lead a duel over the Titans, reaching an agreement in the summer of 1998, with Rolls-Royce in BMW’s hands and Bentley in Volkswagen’s hands. That same summer, Mercedes announced that Maybach would be a separate brand rather than a specific model to create a complete lineup. German luxury manufacturer’s first rule: Don’t leave an inch behind your competitor! Jürgen Hubbert has appointed Professor Hermann Gauss to develop the Maybach (W240 series). Whoever carried out the design of the S-Class generation W220 introduced in 1999 will be the basis for the Maybach. Olivier Boulay will be responsible for the design. If the exterior lines do not change superficially from concept, the interior will be completely modified to follow up the world’s wealthy clients and “clinics”. Mercedes emphasizes personalization. Nearly 2 million gear combinations are possible at launch. Suffice it to say that no Maybach is the same. Photo: Mercedes-Benz Available in two body lengths: 5.7 or 6.2 meters. So the names are 57 and 62. 57 is when you want to drive. 62 is when you want to drive. The new V12 is designed. Displacement 5.5 liters, 3 valves per cylinder, 2 turbos, dual ignition… Small plates put on large plates. Result: You get 543 horsepower and 664 lb.ft of torque at 2,200 rpm. The automatic transmission has 5 gears. The 57 reaches 0-100 km/h in 5.2 seconds, the 62 in 5.4 seconds, and the speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h. Not bad for a machine weighing 2737kg and 2,857kg respectively! To brake all that weight, the front discs have not one, but two four-piston calipers, and the entire braking system is controlled by an electro-hydraulic system (SBC), which takes ABS and ESP. Double wishbone suspension at the front and multi-link rear axle are equipped with Airmatic DC pneumatic struts that provide controlled damping. Photo: Mercedes-Benz debauchery! When you open the door, you enter another world. The best materials compete for your attention: wood (more than 100 to choose from in 3 varieties), leather (210 fabrics in 6 colors), chrome, Alcantara and more. Very simple. No more plastic! 2 separate air conditioning systems (front and rear), 600 watt Bose audio system and 21 speakers, 14-way adjustable front seats, electric curtains, reclining rear seats (Ottoman 62), passenger counters (speed, time, outdoor temperature), multimedia system… The list of options isn’t bad either: DISTRONIC automatic distance control, rear refrigerator, folding table (57 pcs), air-conditioning seats, and driver’s divider screen. (62) and the famous panoramic loop that can be blurred with the press of a button (62). In Canada, the 57 and 62 are priced at $472,378 and $548,568 (2004 vintage) respectively. By comparison, the $224,990 Bentley Continental GT looks cheap. On the other hand, at this price, you can meet all your needs with a personal assistant 24 hours a day. Photo: Mercedes-Benz A starts with a bang! The Maybach 62 chassis number ‘001’ is shipped intact from the Sindelfingen plant via Southampton, England to New York. She was aboard the passenger ship Queen Elizabeth II in a transparent container on June 26, 2002. On the morning of July 2, containers were unloaded by helicopter, and two hours later the car was parked with drums and trumpets in front of the Regent Hotel on Wall Street, very close to the New York Stock Exchange. The reveal is symbolic as Maybach plans to sell 400 of the 1,000 it plans to produce annually in the United States. Photo: Mercedes-Benz Cold shower When a few stars and influencers rush through the checkbook, Maybach realizes very quickly that not everything goes as planned. Only 600 copies are sold in the first year. And the numbers will go down from there. The launch of the S-Class W221 in 2006 (somewhat dated similar to Maybach) and the financial crisis of 2008 do not help with the matter. To support sales, Maybach introduced the 57S (March 2005 Geneva Motor Show) and 62S (Detroit Motor Show, January 2007). They benefit from a modified V12 (6.0 liters, 604 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque) and special wheels. It will then be the Zeppelin version at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, limited to 100 units for each model, with a 631 hp V12 and a specific color and material combination. The 57 and 62 received only styling changes at the 2010 Beijing Motor Show. While the electronics (driving aids and multimedia) are updated, the aesthetics are slightly modified. to no avail… Only eight copies will be produced and will sell for a whopping $1.3 million. Photo: The development of the next-generation Maybach in collaboration with Aston Martin, who can use this platform for the Mercedes-Benz The cleaver Lagonda model, is being considered. But the plan fails. Mercedes prefer to bet on the W222 generation of the S-Class to be launched in 2014. In 11 years, more than half of them were sold in the United States. The British newspaper Car calculated that Mercedes lost more than €330,000 per vehicle sold (equivalent to more than C$450,000 in 2013). We can attribute this failure to an elegant but common style. That’s because the S-Class costs 3x less (customers want absolute exclusivity at this price level) and doesn’t have a Maybach-named cache. Today, the Maybach attaches to the studded versions of existing Mercedes models (S-Class, G-Class and GLS). And it works! Sales are great and Mercedes is “building” the name. With this, it’s not impossible to review a specific Maybach model someday. We hope that customers will forget the misfortunes of #57 and #62…
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