The company first built an experimental car in 1919, with the first production model introduced two years later at the Berlin Motor Show. Between 1921 and 1940, the company produced various classic opulent vehicles. The company also continued to build heavy duty diesel engines for marine and rail purposes.
Maybach contributed to the German war effort in World War II by producing the engines for the formidable Panther and Tiger tanks such as the Maybach HL230. After the war the factory performed some repair work, but automotive production was never restarted, and some 20 years later, the company was renamed into MTU Friedrichshafen.
In 1997, Mercedes-Benz presented at the Tokyo Motorshow a luxury concept car under the name Mercedes-Benz Maybach (V12, 5987 cc, 550 hp). Mercedes-Benz decided to develop it; however, Mercedes made the decision to market the car under the sole brand name of Maybach.
Maybach was therefore revived as a brand in the early 2000s, with the production of the new model in two sizes — the Maybach 57 and the Maybach 62. The numbers are equal to the lengths of the automobiles in decimetres. In 2005, the new 57S was added, sporting a 6.0L V12 bi-turbo engine, producing 604bhp (450kW) and 737lb·ft (999N·m) of torque, and featuring various cosmetic touches.
The company offers various options for customers to personalise their vehicles, and provides various equipment combinations.
- 1919 Maybach W1: Test car based on a Mercedes chassis
- 1921 Maybach W3: First Maybach, shown at Berlin Motor Show. Featured a 70hp (52kW) 5.7L inline six.
- 1926 Maybach W5: 7L inline six, 120hp (89kW)
- 1929 Maybach 12: V12 precursor to DS7/8
- 1930 Maybach DSH: Doppel-Sechs-Halbe ("half a twelve cylinder") 1930-37
- 1930 Maybach DS7 Zeppelin: 7L V12, 150hp (112kW)
- 1931 Maybach W6: Same engine as W5, longer wheelbase. 1931-33
- 1931 Maybach DS8 Zeppelin: 8L V12, 200hp (150kW)
- 1934 Maybach W6 DSG: Featuring a twin overdrive transmission system.
- 1935 Maybach SW35: 3.5L 140hp (104kW) I6
- 1936 Maybach SW38: 3.8L 140hp (104kW) I6
- 1939 Maybach SW42: 4.2L 140hp (104kW) I6
- 1945 Maybach JW61: 3.8L 145hp (108kW) I6
W2 were the 5.7L inline six engines built for and ordered by Spyker. Not all were purchased, and Karl had to build cars featuring the engines to offset costs.