The marque: Resurrected German über-brand with which to rule the world of plutocracy. Or not.

The history: Wilhelm Maybach was assistant to Gottlieb Daimler, whose company's cars became known as Mercedes from 1901. Maybach was already credited with inventing the float-regulated carburettor (actually pre-empted, according to LJK Setright, by Edward Butler), and on Daimler's death was able to spread his engineering wings with that 1901 car - the first with recognisable modern mechanical features. Wilhelm's son Karl started his own firm in 1909, and in 1921 launched the first of his saloons. By 1940, Maybach had built 2,391 of these huge monsters - all with Zeppelin engines from the company his father founded with Count Zeppelin. Most were V12s. Production did not resume after the Second World War, and the Maybach name withered until Daimler-Benz bought it in 1960 - completing the circle. It lay dormant until 2002's Geneva Motor Show, when the current Maybach saloon was revealed. The Maybach 57 and 62sell in small numbers and are little threat to the Rolls-Royce Phantom.

Defining model: Zeppelin V12 Cabriolet circa 1934.

They say: Beauty and perfection?

We say: Are in the eyes of the beholder.

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