Where Is the Illustrious Maybach Exelero Now?

Carlos Kirby
Dec 29, 2021 · 4 min read
The Maybach Exelero project began development in 2003, specifically at the request of the German tire company, Fulda Tyres. Fulda wanted a fast and substantial car capable of testing its new, super-wide tires. The creation of the luxury car, Exelero, more than met its expectations.
There is no doubt the Maybach Exelero is one of the most beautiful concept cars ever built. Its elegant, sleek design and eye-catching bold lines might make you think it was built solely for the showroom. As it turns out, the Exelero is more than a one-trick pony.
Medium view of a black Maybach Exelero on a grass lawn.
Do you know the history behind the Maybach Exelero?

Extreme tire-testing prompts a new car design

Fulda, a division of Goodyear, was developing a state-of-the-art high-performance tire known as the Fulda Carat Exelero. The company hoped to conduct extensive and extreme testing of the tire with a specially-designed car made for that purpose. Maybach accepted the task with energetic enthusiasm.
Maybach was inspired by the company's past history and connection to Fulda. In 1938, the W38 Stromlinienfahrzeug was produced for the same type of tire testing.
Maybach gave the enormous task of coming up with a plan to students at the Pforzheim Design Academy. Eventually, a design by a student, Fredrik Burckhardt, was chosen as the prototype.
Fulda was more concerned about the ability of the car to handle the 315 mm-thick tires at high speeds than he was about aesthetics. The tire company wanted a heavy car able of withstanding the extreme tests it had in mind. 
The result was an incredible and visually streamlined vehicle that could attain an unbelievable speed of 217 mph.

How well did the illustrious Maybach Exelero perform?

Since the tires were central to the purpose of the car, the Maybach Exelero was built around the tires. This allowed the car to have an outrageous body span of more than 7 feet. 
The Exelero boasted a Coupe body on a Maybach 57 limo chassis. What seemed impossible even as it was built proved to be just what Fulda needed. The limo 57's Twin-Turbo V12, though impressive, required some performance modifications to achieve the top speeds Fulda wanted for testing. 
The car was fitted with larger turbos as well as intercoolers and a huge radiator. Add 110 octane race fuel and the Exelero was able to almost fly with 691 bhp and 752 lb-ft of torque.
It took a little over two years for Maybach to complete the supercharged Exelero. Racecar driver, Klaus Ludwig, was tasked with testing whether the Exelero would reach Fulda's 217 mph target. He pressed the pedal to the metal at Italy's Nardo Ring. DriveTribe notes that the Exelero ran out of steam at 218 mph - just enough top speed to consider the mission accomplished.

Where is the Maybach Exelero now?

Since Maybach had no plans to produce the Exelero, they decided to put it up for sale immediately after the testing was successfully conducted. 
The asking price was set at an exorbitant 5,000,000 Euros. It was quickly snatched up by diamond industrialist, Andre Action Diakite Jackson, who later lent it to rapper Jay-Z. 
Jay-Z featured the over-the-top Exelero in several of his music videos, helping to raise its value to an even higher $8,000,000. That price didn't stop other wealthy collectors from coveting the extravagant car. 
Several famous names surfaced as potential buyers, including entrepreneur Arnaud Massartic and rapper Birdman, but the purchases eventually fell through.
Where is the Maybach Exelero now? The one-off concept car seems to be in the hands of Frank Rickert, the founder of Mercedes-Benz's Mechatronik. What started as a durability test for Fulda's super big tires, ended up being the creation of the one-of-a-kind Exelero. For those who appreciate innovative car designs, there is nothing wrong with that.

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