The Legend of Maybach: Wilhelm Maybach

The Legend of Maybach: Wilhelm Maybach

In today’s world the name Maybach is instantly recognized as world-class quality. I want to take a look at the man behind the legend, Wilhelm Maybach.

The Early Life of Wilhelm Maybach

Wilhelm Maybach was born in Wurttemberg, Germany on February 9, 1846. Maybach attended public school in Reutlingen.

The Professional Life of Wilhelm Maybach

By the age of 19, Wilhelm began working as an engine designer under Goettlieb Daimler. Daimler was impressed by Wilhelm Maybach’s work and made Maybach his main assistant. Daimler and Maybach patented their first engine in 1883. In 1885, Daimler and Maybach produced the “Grandfather Clock Engine”. This engine was used to propel cars, boats, and the first engine-powered airships. In this year they also invented the first carburetor.

The Designer of the First Mercedes

In 1900, Emil Jellinek struck a dealer with Daimler Motor Group for a new race car to be designed by Maybach in accordance with specifications with Jellinek. This car was produced with 35 horsepower and was the very first Mercedes. This car is referred to as the Mercedes Simplex.

Maybach’s designs did not end with the first Mercedes. He went on to design 12 cyclinder engines, aircraft engines, and Zeppelin engines. In fact, Maybach founded his own company in 1909 named Luftfahrzeug-Motorenbau GmbH which focused on aircraft engines.

After World War One, Germany was no longer permitted to build airships so Maybach turned his focus back to automobiles. In 1921, he began to design and build his own cars. He sucessfully designed limousines and cars with v12 engines.  

In the 1940s Maybach’s company was producing diesel engines and in the 1960s entered into an agreement with Daimler-Benz. Daimler-Benz became the majority owner of Maybach Motorenbau GmbH.

Wilhem Maybach Today

Wilhelm Maybach has been inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame. There are numerous technical schools named after this legend and Daimler AG still produces cars with the name Maybach.


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