It was 175 years ago last February 9 that Wilhelm Maybach was born. Wilhelm Maybach and Gottlieb Daimler introduced the first Daimler/Maybach four-stroke engine in late 1883. That engine was further developed into a 100cc engine; also known as the ‘Grandfather Clock’ due to its design. In the automotive industry, this is still one of the best known patents. It was a precursor to the world’s first four-cylinder engine.
Wilhelm Maybach grew up from the age of 10 in an orphanage in Reutlingen, which collaborated with a workshop. In that workshop, Maybach developed his technical talent, which was also noticed by Gottlieb Daimler. From then on, the men worked together: Daimler was the technical visionary and businessman, Maybach the genius designer. Together, the men were the founders of Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG), the predecessor of today’s Daimler AG. Starting in 1888, Maybach and Daimler sold their first patent licenses to companies abroad. It marked the beginning of the automobile industry in France, the United States, the United Kingdom and Austria.
Wilhelm Maybach started his own company Luftfahrzeug-Motorenbau GmbH (later Maybach-Motorenbau GmbH) in 1909, making engines not only for zeppelins but also for trains a hundred years ago. In 1921, Maybach presented its own car: the Maybach W 3, a 70 hp six-cylinder that could already reach 110 kilometers per hour. This was followed by the Maybach Zeppelin, a luxury vehicle with a twelve-cylinder. In doing so, Maybach competed with other luxury car brands such as Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Bugatti.
The Mercedes-Maybach brand
Wilhelm Maybach died on December 29, 1929. The brand was forgotten until the factory became part of the Daimler concern in 1960, when Mercedes-Benz revived the Maybach brand and registered the brand name in 1980. In honor of the founder, Daimler’s most expensive cars have carried the name “Mercedes-Maybach” since 2014.