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How Mercedes-Maybach Came Back From the Dead

How Mercedes-Maybach Came Back From the Dead

Sjoerd van der Wal

Back in early October 1997, there weren’t that many people who had heard of Maybach — and most of those who had heard of the brand likely hadn’t thought about it much. The nameplate founded by Wilhelm Maybach that had first graced a car in 1909 had lain dormant for decades; after a spell in the pre-war era building luxurious motorcars and a World War II spent building engines for Panzers and Tigers, the company was bought up by Mercedes parent Daimler-Benz in 1960 and soon faded into history.

Smash cut to 2024, however, and the Maybach-aware likely number in the hundreds of millions. A 2019 study by Car and Driver found it had been mentioned in popular songs more than Rolls-Royce and Ford combined over the last four decades. The brand’s cars have come to signify wealth and status across the cultural gamut, showing up in everything from Curtis Jackson’s Power to HBO’s Succession.

Clearly, the Maybach badge has experienced a resurgence for the ages — and it all started in the fall of 1997. This is how the Maybach brand went from faded to famous over the course of less than 30 years.

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