Maybach DS8 Zeppelin Features European Car Magazine

16 Янв 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »
Maybach DS8 Zeppelin

Driving the Maybach DS8 Zeppelin

The new 57 and 62 uber-sedans went on sale in in October of last year, right-hand-drive markets and the U.S. to wait until the summer of year. In the meantime, DaimlerChrysler is up its discrete marketing drive to awareness of the marque’s heritage prospective customers.

In the run up to the relaunch of great marque, I’ve had contact with the Maybach in Germany. Apart from some very interesting who own and live the 1930s automotive I’ve also had the privilege of the marque first hand as passenger in two of the best Maybach DS 8 in existence.

At the 1999 Maybach Kompressor Club joint in Badenweiler, I rode in the black DS 8 Zeppelin of Maybach Club Hon. Konsul Hermann This, in fact, is one of the classic cars featured in the new Maybach brochure. The other is his son’s six-cylinder SW 38.

The 2000 meeting was in Friedrichsruhe, and this time I had the of riding with Eberhard in his equally imposing 1938 DS 8/8L Zeppelin Landaulett

Also black, this car resides in the nearby Auto Museum Sinsheim, owned by and his son, Hermann. They opened a second museum in Speyer with a greater towards aviation, so Sinsheim the largest auto museum in (european car, 9-2000). worth a visit if you’re near Stuttgart and want to see a collection of classic Maybach and cars among others, steam trains, military aircraft and even submarines. An I-MAX screen is also on and model car collectors will a good selection at the shop in the Museum.

Ironically, the many I did in the back seats of these two cars gave me a good of just how hard it is to drive the finest uber-sedan. As experienced as Sieger’s and Herr Layher’s are, even from the rear compartment it was obvious the is very heavy. In the hot summer’s the drivers were working up a keeping a steady pace demanding country roads steep gradients and tight In town, steering these vehicles through today’s streets, strewn with times more cars and furniture than in their seemed like any driver’s

Synchromesh was non-existent in these and vague steering meant cutting accurate lines tight bends was taxing Mind you, considering the few cars on the road in the 1930s, it did not much matter then.

A Zeppelin is worth $1.45 today, so it wouldn’t have polite to ask one of these gentlemen for a drive. However, the Mercedes-Benz division acquired a 1932 DS 8 of its own last year and set about it to perfection. When they me if I’d like to drive it, it all of a nanosecond to say yes, please.

My own Maybach driving experience when I was picked up from my in Stuttgart and driven through the to the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in

People are almost always by classic cars, and while stop and stare, other usually give way. its body style, the Maybach is a huge car, towering other vehicles on the road. its sheer size and mass as a deterrent once I’d to poke its long snout a junction.

Sitting so high up is a blessing in traffic. The view over the long prow is commanding and imperious. To drive or in this car makes the statement you’re king of the road. the enormous soft top folded for al fresco motoring, the view to the rear is non-existent, however, and you to rely on the side mirrors in Getting out first to check is important when reversing a parking space!

I was curious the soft-top folding arrangement, as was by far the largest one I’d ever According to our driver, it takes a five minutes to put up or down, or three minutes if you have a But even three minutes is an when a heavy shower you unaware. Parked up in front of the center, I had the chance to look at the in detail and get as much information as I to drive the Maybach properly.

In the course of the initial walk-around, it obvious that many of the I take for granted in modern are nothing new. Indeed, in the days of the motorcar, inventors to be hard at work making easy for the motorist.

It is hard jacking up a modern family car by the of the road when you have a but imagine trying to change the on a 5,070-lb Maybach Zeppelin! it was not that big a deal, for the maker provided an engine-powered hydraulic for each wheel, the next thing to the air jacks you see on modern cars. Inflating the tires the way with a foot pump was regarded with equal as a mechanical air pump was also

The long lever on the floor, at first glance appears to be the lever, is in fact the selector for and low ratios and reverse. The Noiseless as the DS8’s transmission was known, had forward gears on this but five on later cars. It had two drive ratios, the lower one used to help the car negotiate steep ramps or hills. in effect, gave the car a total of forward speeds.

Unlike early cars, which had throttle in between the brake and pedals, the Maybach has its three pedals in the order we recognize Like a modern racing gearbox, though, you only the clutch to start the car, and again when you come to a And just to endorse how car makers come full circle Tiptronic S steering wheel-mounted systems, you select the forward on this state-of-the-art 1930s with steering wheel levers.

For first gear, both levers down. The lever is slid upwards to second. Third gear outstretched fingers to turn levers anti-clockwise through 90 and top gear is selected by moving the lever upwards again.

is an intensely mechanical car to drive. The thing I learned was that the is really, really heavy at low It is at least twice as heavy as a Daytona or Lada Niva at speeds and very under-geared, so you to be going very slowly if you need a lot of lock.

Once you understand that you to synchronize forward motion the inherently slow rate of the correct mindset snaps place. That means if you to go around a 90-degree bend in you have to get down to near pace to make the turn. It the hell out of sales reps in a behind you, but that’s the of the beast.

The other major that needs understanding is the mechanism. While modern match revs and generally do all the you need a good deal of sympathy to operate the Maybach’s gearbox if you are to avoid finding a of neutrals with each

You have to lift the throttle when selecting a higher and apply moderate throttle downshifting to match revs, as the shaft will not engage the incoming gear and clutch are at synchronized speeds. Sometimes means lifting off the throttle and waiting for the distinctive mechanical that indicates the ratio is This is both felt and but once you know how to feel the points, you can make pretty shifts. People who already about the Alfa Romeo or Mercedes-Benz Sequentronic manu-matics hate this gearbox. The V12 motor delivers 200 bhp, and the that this 2,300kg car get up to 100 mph but did not corner or stop very at all by modern standards is a daunting one In practice, the enormous drum are surprisingly powerful and bring leviathan to a pretty convincing with little drama. The operates on all four wheels, as it to secure this heavy car on a slope.

Once on the fly, the lightens up considerably, and I was happy to at around 70 mph on the autobahn and then on open cross-country roads little effort. Only on country roads and through villages did I really have to maneuvers that included steering input and gearchanging.

If been in various cars this period, you’ll that the Maybach rides well, whether you’re in the front or rear seats. It is, of no match for a modern car in this but it was the equal of any Rolls-Royce or Bugatti from this era.

The wood, chrome, cloth and interior was considered sumptuous in the but at the same time simple. Its dashboard, for instance, was far from as as some of the big Mercedes-Benz cars were its direct competitors in the Frankly, the mother of pearl panel inserts on the dashboards of 1930s Mercedes-Benz cars had no at any price.

So what does public think of the 1932 Many people stopped to and ask questions during our photo One honeymooning Italian couple with video man in tow asked if could be filmed in the car. Bella macchina! was their

Ironically, a middle-aged German initially awed by the Maybach’s size asked if it was an American Nein, ist Deutsche. Ist der alte I replied. Ah, Maybach. Genau, said, as their faces lit up recognition of this famous from the past. So the message is through after all.

The The Owner

This Maybach DS8 was first bought in 1932 by the Seelisberg at the Thuner See in Switzerland. Its role was guest transportation the train station to the hotel. access is by a narrow and winding with steep gradients, and a couple of years, when the driver retired, nobody was found who was able to drive the in these demanding conditions.

Maybach DS8 Zeppelin

The car went into storage and was forgotten until 1959, it was sold to an industrialist who lived in the area. This gentleman had looking for a good, low-mileage Zeppelin and lovingly maintained the car in condition for 40 years.

He sold it to the Museum in 1999, and the car spent a undergoing restoration at the Mercedes-Benz Center in Fellbach before taking its place in the Collection in 2000.

Maybach supplied rolling to a number of fine German and Spohn in Ravensburg built car’s coachwork. It was originally Maroon Red with black and running boards, with a blue canvas hood. As of the restoration work, it was re-painted in the new Maybach corporate color, and the and running boards were dark blue to match the The interior was re-trimmed in the original tan

Now in the loving possession of its third and last owner, the car’s read 82,325km from new on the day I it.—IK

Maybach’s Illustrious

At the turn of the Century, two young Wilhelm Maybach and Gottlieb got together to build the first and the first Daimler car. after, in 1900, the pair the Mercedes Simplex, the first car. That makes the between Maybach and Daimler as old as the of the motorcar.

In 1909, Maybach’s Karl, started to design and engines for the Zeppelin airships and for His automobile engines were good and he tried to sell to other car makers, but without It was this which prompted him to his hand to building his own cars as He started his new project with a to make the very best of the era. By the time production in 1940, around 2,300 had left the Friedrichhafen works.

to wealthy individuals, often input from the clients each of these cars was a of art in itself. In those days, manufacturers supplied engines and and the client could then coachbuilders to make special and interiors. A handful of the distinguished who made bodies for Maybach Christian Auer, Joseph and Hermann Spohn. Their badges can be found on the car bodies.

It was like bespoke tailoring at the luxury end of the market, bespoke were like haute Having your car built for you was having an architect design you a

Certainly the price was commensurate the idea. In the 1930s, a top-of-the-range Zeppelin was in the price range of a with a large garden in an part of town. That has not today, as only around 150 survive. Today, a Zeppelin in condition is worth around one U.S. dollars.

The oldest known Maybach, the W5, resides in the Auto + Technik in Sinsheim, Germany, along some younger Maybachs. they make up the largest collection in the world. The second is the Musee Nationale d’Automobiles in France.

The Maybach Club was in 1966, and the first president was Wolff Metternich, who now shares the presidency with Mrs. Schmid-Maybach, granddaughter of Karl The current club president is Hermann Sieger, whose original 1933 Maybach is shown in the photos.

Maybach were very sophisticated for time. I went for a ride in Sieger’s Zeppelin and was impressed the interior space and the quality of the fittings. This huge the flagship of the Maybach range, had a V12 engine producing 200 bhp at 3000 The gearbox had five forward but as there was a low-ratio transfer box for use in terrain, the car effectively had ten forward

The Zeppelin is a huge car, over other vehicles on the both period and modern. The from its drivers seat is commanding and imperious. To drive or in this car is to make the statement you are king of the road.

The legacy of the Maybach company will now be down in time 62 years the last car left the factory. It is that as Wilhelm Maybach and Daimler created the first car their timeline should now be up to produce the finest luxury car the world has ever seen.—IK

Maybach DS8 Zeppelin
Maybach DS8 Zeppelin


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