Heinrich Müller's lost Maybach (Founder of Schuco)
For the 1937 Toy Fair in Leipzig, Heinrich Müller, the founder of Schuco, built a unique, very expensive streamlined Maybach limousine. It was a one-off, for which you would pay the cost of a pre-war villa in the Berlin Grunewald! The basis of this very unusual car was the 1936 Maybach SW38 with 140 hp and a top speed of 190 km/h.
This streamlined limousine, with its striking single fin, is very reminiscent of the 1938 Adler Diplomat. Both cars were manufactured by Authenrieth. Whether the single fin really had a stabilizing effect on the Maybach is not known. Experts like Reinhard Freiherr von Koenig-Fachsenfeld doubted it.
In 1937, a metallic finish as we know it today did not exist. At the time, one did not speak of painting a car, but of colored enamel. Fish scales were added to the enamel to achieve the metallic effect. Bugatti did it too. Extravagant colours were a status symbol at the time and enhanced the unique shapes of the cars.
This incredible Maybach attracted a huge audience and many dealers to the fair. Schuco presented its latest products, including the special Maybach-modelled Kommando 2000, which became a bestseller afterwards thanks to the Leipzig trade fair.
One of our customers of the model car told us the following story and photos: The German General Kesselring used the Maybach SW 38 as a personal car in Rome during and after the war. Our customer's grandfather, Vincenzo Platania, bought the Maybach from the von General Kesselring family in 1946 and was the last owner of the Maybach. Shortly after purchase, the Maybach was painted green metallic at Pininfarina in Turin and the interior was covered with light green leather. The car had eight seats, four in the front and four in the rear. The car was given the license plate ROMA 96306. The car was used by the family for a number of years, but then stood for a long time in the garage of a family villa outside Rome. In 1953 Vincenzo Platania had the Maybach scrapped.
Our customer has granted us the publication rights for the attached photos (taken in 1947/48) and allowed us to tell the above previously unknown story of the Maybach (including attribution).
In short: a model car solved an automobile-historical mystery. A very important contribution for friends and connoisseurs of automotive history. The rumor that an American GI took the Maybach back to America has thus turned out to be false.
Some interesting background: Schuco was founded in 1912 in Nuernberg by the passionate inventor and toolmaker Heinrich Müller. Heinrich Schreyer was his dealer and backer, so the Schreyer & Co toy company became Schuco . Initially only mechanical tin toys and Christmas tree decorations were produced. After the Second World War, the company rose to become the largest toy manufacturer in Europe with about 1000 employees.In 1976 Schuco had to file for bankruptcy. This was followed by several changes of ownership, and in 1999 the Simba Dickie group took over the company. Even today, Schuco is one of the biggest names in the international toy world.
Top tip: Only about 1,800 Maybachs were produced altogether. Today there are still about 160 in existence. The Maybach Museum (Holzgartenstraße 8, 92318 Neumarkt in the beautiful Upper Palatinate) has about 20 on show and is definitely worth a visit. In addition,Distance to Earthand Maybach - Registerby Verlag Hermann E. Sieger GmbH are well worth reading. Both can be obtained from us.