I like Maybach just as much as the next person, but the brand has arguably suffered an identity crisis since Mercedes took over.
Daimler acquired the brand in 1960 and in 2002, when they finally decided to turn into a standalone brand, they tried experimenting with different ideas but never really landed on one and ran with it.
They treated it like a luxury brand, that much is clear, but there are various ways to express ‘luxury’ in the car world – for example, Rolls-Royce and Bugatti both scream luxury but in different ways.
In the early 2000s, they launched two wonderful and wonderfully pointless presidential sedans, the 57 and 62 (named after their respective length in metres, 5.7 and 6.2) but they failed to perform commercially and ended up becoming a bit of a fetish for rappers.
In 2005, Maybach designers and engineers decided to do something different and called Chrysler for a collaboration.
Their brainchild was the Exelero.
Believe it or not, it was loosely based on the 57 and built on the same platform, and it was supposedly designed as a testbed for a new type of tyre.
Imagine that, building a one-off 2-door coupe just to test a tyre prototype.
Back in the early 2000s, the MTV/BET era, rap music videos were the hottest thing and rappers would routinely try to outdo one another with fancy stuff in their videos. Well, they still do that, actually, but anyway…
In 2011, Birdman (also known as Baby) purchased the Exelero for $8 million.
At the time, he was the fourth wealthiest rapper in the world, so money was clearly no object.
However, his time with the Exelero was short lived, as he reportedly sold it to a German company just a few years later.
This is telling, isn’t it?