The story of Maybach Zeppelin DS 8 began in 1932 at the Maybach-Motorenbau GmbH factor in Friedrichshafen, Germany, where for 18 years Karl Maybach, son of legendary engineer Wilhelm Maybach, had been producing some of the finest cars ever built.
It was fitted with a massive eight liter V-12 engine with 200 horsepower. Upon completion of the engine and chassis, it was shipped to nearby Ravensburg for installation of its coachwork designed by Hermann Spohn, a favored coachbuilder of Maybach.
This beautifully finished car was purchased by The Hotel Seelisberg on the Thuner See in Switzerland for the transportation of hotel guests to and from the local train station via a challenging route over winding roads and mountain passes. After several years the retirement of the chauffeur forced the car into storage - no one else could be found to drive the heavy Maybach under the demanding conditions.
The DS 8 sat largely forgotten until 1959 when it was purchased by a Swiss industrialist Maybach enthusiast from the Winterthur/Zurich area. He maintained the low mileage car for 40 years ensuring its preservation. The current owner will probably be its last; in 1999 it was purchased from only its second owner by the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.
Its restoration was started shortly thereafter. The engine was found to be in such excellent condition that it was simply cleaned and painted. The body and upholstery were completely restored to their present appearance. In 2001, the re-launch of the Maybach brand thrust this car into a life few enjoy. It travels the world representing the core value of the Maybach brand and educates a new generation of Maybach enthusiasts on the virtues of quality and engineering excellence.
Of the 1,800 Maybachs built at the Maybach-Motorenbau factory in Friedrichshafen, Germany, before 1941, just 152 still exist today. This particular Maybach Zeppelin DS 8 has a massive 8-liter V12 engine producing 200 horsepower, and its Cabriolet F coachwork is by Hermann Spohn, the preferred coachbuilder for Maybach. The finished car was purchased by the Hotel Seelisberg on Lake Thun in Switzerland to transport hotel guests to and from the local train station. After several years of use the car was put into storage, but it was resurrected in 1959 by a Swiss Maybach enthusiast who drove the car regularly for 40 years before it was purchased by the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. The car was restored by the company in 2000 and was first shown at Pebble Beach in 2002.