German designer and entrepreneur Wilhelm Maybach was born on February 9, 1846 in the city of Heilbronn, in the family of a carpenter. As a child, he lost his parents and was raised in an orphanage. At the age of 19 he graduated from technical school and began working as a draftsman. At this time, fate brought him together with the young specialist Gottlieb Daimler. He appreciated the talented young man and attracted him to cooperation.
In the early 80s. In the 19th century, Maybach, together with Daimler, created the first examples of high-speed gasoline engines. In 1885, they produced the world's first motorcycle, and a year later – the first four-wheeled car with an internal combustion engine.
Subsequently, Maybach developed a 4-speed transmission and a carburetor with distribution nozzles. He also developed a V-shaped 2-cylinder engine, which Peugeot began producing under license in 1890. The Phoenix inline two-cylinder engine was a great success. And this allowed the formation of the Daimler Motoren Geselschaft (DMG) company in 1895.
On November 22, 1900, work was completed on a Daimler car, which for the first time received the name Mercedes. Unlike many other models of that time, the engine was already located at the front – and it was created by none other than Maybach.
The four-cylinder unit with a displacement of 5.9 liters developed 35 liters. With. The first example of the car was a two-seater racing car and performed successfully in competitions. But soon regular road versions appeared, which the public liked.
In 1906, Wilhelm Maybach created an innovative 6-cylinder engine with an overhead camshaft for a racing car. However, the company's shareholders did not appreciate this new product and the following year Maybach, along with its founder, Daimler, left the company.
In 1909, Maybach accepted the proposals of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin and founded a company to produce engines for his airships. And in 1912, after reorganization, the company also began producing aircraft engines.
After the end of the First World War, Germany, as a defeated country, was prohibited from producing aircraft. And Maybach returned to the automotive industry again. In 1921, a new company, Maybach-Motorenbau, appeared. And in the same year, the first production car of this company was released – Maybach 22/70 HP (W3). It was in production until 1928.
Back in 1916, the Stuttgart Institute of Technology awarded Wilhelm Maybach an honorary doctorate. And in 1922, the Association of German Engineers (VDA) awarded him its highest award – the Grashof Gold Medal.
Wilhelm Maybach died on December 29, 1929. In 1996, his name was immortalized in the Automotive Hall of Fame (USA), and in 2004 in the European Automotive Hall of Fame.