Maybach Exhibition Booth at Motorworld Classics Bodensee (Lake Constance) 2022
More than 30,000 classic car fans visited the Motorworld Classics Bodensee trade show in Friedrichshafen from May 06 to 08. This year’s key theme of the show was “100 Years of Maybach Automobiles”. The highlight was the exhibition booth of the Wilhelm and Karl Maybach Foundation and the Freundeskreis Maybach Museum e.V. We presented two very rare and elaborately restored Maybach automobiles of the SW 38 type as well as an extremely rare wooden underbody from the 1930s. At that time, the bodies of Maybach cars were built on such wooden frames – for our trade show attendees an unheard story. In addition, our interactive and virtual pop-up exhibition “100 Years of Maybach Automobiles 1921 – 2021” was on display. The classic car fans of all ages were equally enthusiastic.
In the past two years, the Motor World Classics Bodensee exhibition had to be postponed again and again due to the COVID 19 pandemic. For this reason, the Wilhelm and Karl Maybach Foundation was unable to show the pop-up exhibition “100 Years of Maybach Automobiles 1921 – 2021” at the classic car show in the anniversary year 2021 as planned. This year, the anniversary was finally celebrated in a big way – and the interest in the Maybach exhibition stand of the Wilhelm und Karl Maybach Foundation and the Freundeskreis Maybach Museum e.V. was overwhelming! The trade show organizers made the Maybach anniversary the focus of this year’s major event with over 30,000 visitors – and so the Motorworld Classics Bodensee was all about 100 years of Maybach automobiles! At the official press conference, Roland Bosch (member of the board Friedrichshafen Trade Fair), full of anticipation, recommended all journalists to visit the Maybach booth and pointed out the historical significance of the Maybach company history:
“Alongside the Zeppelin and Dornier companies, it was Maybach’s automobiles that made Friedrichshafen famous worldwide. […]the special exhibition of the Wilhelm und Karl Maybach Foundation in cooperation with the Freundeskreis Maybach Museum e.V. conveys to the public that innovation and internationally successful automobile construction took place here in the region”. Roland Bosch – Friedrichshafen Trade Fair
At the end of the press conference, a member of the Freundeskreis Maybach Museum e.V. and the Maybach Club presented his Maybach car of the type SW 38 built in 1939. Roland Bosch, Peter Schneider and last but not least the racing legend Gebhard Zeller were very impressed by the huge Maybach car. The 89-year-old Gebhard Zeller was born in Friedrichshafen. He knows the history of Maybach Motorenbau GmbH and, as a classic car fan, he is very excited to see the Maybach car once again. The proud owner of the Maybach “Type SW 38” started the engine, did a lap of honor and drove the classic car to the Maybach booth – This was the unofficial opening of the Motorworld Classics Bodensee 2022!
On Friday, the doors opened for the fair visitors for three days. The rush of classic car fans was already enormous on the first day of the event, well aware that there were two extremely rare classic cars presented at the Maybach stand. On the one hand, the world’s only preserved Maybach automobile with a body by the coachbuilder Ignaz Theodor Petera & Söhne and, on the other hand, a Maybach “Type SW 38” Cabriolet built in 1938 in a wonderful original state of preservation. The former vehicle was in the USA for 70 years and was fully restored in Germany. Both vehicles belong to owners from Lake Constance and the Friedrichshafen region. Thus, the two automobiles were brought back to the place of their origin. But that was not all that was on display at the Maybach stand. The Wilhelm and Karl Maybach Foundation presented the pop-up exhibition “100 Years of Maybach Automobiles 1921 – 2021”. September 23, 2021 marked the hundredth anniversary of the premiere of the first Maybach automobile “Type 22/70 hp – W 3” to be built in series. The car was unveiled at the German Motor Show in Berlin in 1921 and impressed the public with its extremely high quality of workmanship and technical features. For example, a four-wheel brake system was fitted as standard in a German automobile for the first time and the car could be driven without shifting gears. The Maybach “Type W 3” already represented the engineering principles according to which automobiles of the Maybach brand were to be developed and manufactured under the direction of Karl Maybach in Friedrichshafen: Meticulous precision for the highest quality. Only the best materials, materials for the greatest possible operational reliability, and the use of leading edge technology for the optimum in comfortable driving. In our blog article from October 2021 you can read everything about the 100 years of Maybach automobiles.
The special exhibition “100 Years of Maybach Automobiles 1921 – 2021” tells the extensive story of automobile construction at Maybach-Motorenbau GmbH in nine chapters. The development line of the historic Maybach car models is shown, as well as a selection of the Mercedes-Maybach vehicles that have been relaunched since 2002. Beginning in 1919 with the “Versuchswagen 1” (Experimental car 1) with the newly developed “W 1” car engine, through the Maybach automobiles of the “Type W 3” and “Type W 5”, to the legendary Maybach “Type 12 Zeppelin” of the 1930s and on to the high-selling Maybach “Schwingachswagen”. With the presentation of modern Mercedes-Maybach with electric drives, the exhibition finally takes a look into the future of automobility. Selected objects from the museum collection of the Freundeskreis Maybach Museum e.V. and the Wilhelm und Karl Maybach Foundation were presented on the themes of automobile technology, car-racing and the Maybach corporate values.
The exhibition format invited all trade show visitors to become active and explore the Maybach story themselves. Fourteen interactive thematic modules with automobile portraits of unique vehicle histories, digitized exhibits and eyewitness reports from Maybach employees could be explored interactively. To give just one example, we told the adventurous story about the transfer trips of Maybach chassis to the body builders – see our picture. As an automobile manufacturer, Maybach-Motorenbau produced from 1921 to 1941 only the chassis with engine, transmission and steering. The rest of the car body is built individually to customer specifications by specialized coachbuilders. In addition to Auer in Stuttgart, Erdmann & Rossi in Berlin and Gläser in Dresden, Hermann Spohn in Ravensburg produced most of the Maybach car bodies. Hardly imaginable, the bare chassis are transferred by factory drivers in wind and weather.
Another highlight of the Maybach stand was an original wooden body underframe for a Maybach type SW 38 car from the 1930s. At this point you need to know: Maybach Motorenbau GmbH in Friedrichshafen produced the chassis with engine and sold it to its customers. The customer could then have the body designed and produced by a coachbuilder entirely according to his (or her) individual wishes. A carriage builder handmade a base according to the design template. Wood was used as a building material because it was more flexible and malleable.
Also, according to the design template, a tinsmith hand-mounted individual metal sheets on this wooden frame – this type of production is called “Planking.” Thus, in painstaking work, step by step, the entire body was created. The wooden frame remained as a supporting framework under the metal body. Just a few years ago, the Maybach car was completely restored. The wooden frame had to be replaced with a new one. The owner of the Maybach car has kept the wooden frame as a testimony of time. A comparable object is presented at the Museum for Historic Maybach Vehicles in Neumarkt. Beyond that, we know of no other example. Truly, a very exciting story with a very rare object.
With the varied educational offer, consisting of classical media and at the same time contemporary multimedia presentation forms, automobile fans of different age groups were addressed. The special feature of this year’s Maybach stand at Motorworld Classics Bodensee was the combination of a classic car show with rare Maybach cars and a modern special exhibition with original contemporary testimonials from Maybach automotive history. The classic car fans were also able to talk to former employees of Maybach Motorenbau GmbH, members of the Freundeskreis Maybach Museum e.V. and the team of Maybach historians from the Wilhelm and Karl Maybach Foundation.
For the Wilhelm and Karl Maybach Foundation and the Freundeskreis Maybach Museum e.V., the appearance at Motorworld Classics Bodensee 2022 was a tremendous accomplishment. We would like to thank all visitors and Messe Friedrichshafen and look forward to seeing you again next year.