First shown in 1921, the Maybach originally had a two-speed pedal-controlled gearbox. Spohn, Glaser, Armhruster, Erdmann & Rossi and Voll-Ruhrbeck were among the coach-builders who clothed this high quality chassis with exclusive bodywork. An ohv 6,995cc engine appeared in the W5 of 1926, available with a schnellgang auxiliary two-speed gearbox. A 6,922cc V-12 made its debut in 1929, and was developed into the Zeppelin model of 1930. From 1931, a 7,977cc V-12 was also available. Some Zeppelins had the W5 six-cylinder; all had seven-speed gearboxes.
In 1997, Mercedes-Benz presented at the Tokyo Motorshow an ultra-luxury concept car under the name Mercedes-Benz Maybach (V12, 5,987 cc, 550 hp). The concept was quite successful and Mercedes-Benz decided to develop it. Mercedes, however, made the decision to market the car under the sole brand 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. The longer 62 allows rear occupants to recline fully in their seats. The prices range from $335,500 to $426,000. In 2005, the new 57S was added, sporting a more powerful engine (6.0L V12 bi-turbo), producing 604 bhp (450 kW) and 737 ft·lbf (999 N·m) of torque) and cosmetic touches that provides a sporty image.
When customers decide to order a Maybach they can go to Sindelfingen, the marques headquarters, (or meet over a video conference centre at a dealer in their own country) to specify every and any detail they desire. Many customers will personalise their cars with their initials or coats of arms. Maybach executives liken the experience to ordering a custom-built yacht or a personalized jet aircraft.