While almost everyone has heard about Rolls Royce, chances are that you have never heard of the Maybach brand.
There's a good reason for that.
Even though the name Maybach has been associated with the automotive industry since its birth, the brand has been dormant since the middle of the 20th century. It was resurrected only recently by DaimlerChrysler to carry the flag for its ultra-luxury line of automobiles.
Wilhelm Maybach met Gottlieb Daimler in the 1860s. In 1885, Daimler and Maybach started their own company to create internal combustion engines and automobiles. They produced a working 0.5-horsepower engine in 1885. In 1889, they demonstrated their first four-wheel automobile at the Paris Exhibition. It had four large wheels similar to the wheels on a bicycle and was steered with a rudder-like lever rather than a steering wheel. This car ignited the automotive industry in France.
Their work together led to the world's first 4-cylinder automotive engine in 1898, which became the power plant for the first Mercedes, introduced in 1900. The rest is history -- Mercedes obviously succeeded as a brand and today is synonymous with high-quality automobiles.
Wilhelm Maybach set off on his own to start a new company in 1907. His son, Karl Maybach, took the company over and began producing very high-end luxury cars with V-6 and V-12 engines under the Maybach brand. The last of this lineage was the V-6 powered Maybach type SW 42, produced in 1940 and 1941.
Maybach set the highest standards and produced less than 2,000 luxury cars in the 20 years between 1921 and 1941. Building on this tradition of quality, DaimlerChrysler resurrected the Maybach brand in 2003 for its new line of ultra-luxury vehicles.