Why have a Fantasy Garage if you cant induct a fantasy? That's the question we ask this week, as we nominate the Maybach Exelero show car to the devil-may-care JFG. Cars are getting better and faster every week. But few, if any, have the presence, character and sheer sinisterism of the Exelero. (For sure they have less black paint.) Designed by a student named Fredrik Burchhardt, the Exelero glistens with the kind of unpolished enthusiasm you'd expect from a kid in art school who has yet to be beaten with the savage realities of the corporate world. The meanest-ever Maybach ought to be a shoe in, and we haven't even started discussing what's beneath its glistening surface. Nor, most troubling of all, why DCX never built the sick-ass thing.
The relationship between Maybach and tire maker Fulda (a tiny subsidiary of Goodyear/Dunlap) goes back more than 70 years. To highlight the performance potential of a particular tire, Maybach Motorenbau, with the help of coachbuilder Dörr & Schreck and an aerodynamics expert named Freiherr Reinhard Koenig Fachsenfeld, constructed the menacing W38 Stromlinienfahrzeug. It was a sleek, low slung coupe that's proportionally similar to the modern Exelero. Seven decades later, the two companies teamed up again to showcase what in 2005 was Fulda's craziest offering, the 315/25YR-23 Carat tire. That's not a typo. The profile is 25, they are YR rated and wrap around 23" wheels. When handing out the assignment, I'm sure the professor was expecting something cool. But I'm equally sure he wasn't suspecting what he'd get.
Sinspiration: The 1938 Maybach W38 Stromlinienfahrzeug
I would like to reiterate that Maybach didn't produce this wet dream of a car. Now, three years later, it seems to be a certainty they never will. I'm restating this because aside from the sheetmetal, the Exelero is basically a tweaked Maybach 57. The car that would freak out Batman is essentially honed from off-the-shelf DCX parts. Sure, it's an expensive shelf. But think of the halo effect the Exelero's series production would have had on the brand. I mean, when's the last time you heard a car nut mentioning Maybach in passing?
At the very least they did built a single pants-on-fire working prototype. While most of the parts in the Exelero began life intended for the 57/62 sedans, not all made the transition unchanged. Some pieces, like the gas tank and suspension, remained unadulterated. Other components such as the already fire-spitting, stump-busting engine were placed on a strict all-protein diet. The 57/62's 5.5-liter twin-turbo V12 made 543 horsepower. Naturally the boffins at AMG were nowhere near satisfied, so they bored it out to 5.9 liters, thereby bumping the power to a somewhat silly 691 hp. The turbos were also made larger, as were the intercoolers and the radiator. True, the embiggened mill requires 110 octane racing fuel, but who are you to argue with 752-lb ft of torque?
The Exelero might argue. Tipping the scales at a Cadillac Escalade ESV-esq 5,852 pounds (the Caddy weighs 5,866 lbs.), one might wonder if the black beauty can even move at all. Turns out yes, yes she can. The point of the entire Exelero exercise was to show off Fulda's high performance kung fu, not just look menacing in a black shark suit. 60 mph occurs in 4.4 seconds. Meditate on that number for a moment. The Shelby GT500 and the Audi RS4 both weigh one ton less yet take a tenth of a second longer. The new C6.5 Corvette weighs almost half as much and makes 60 mph in the exact same time.
Pretty good by 2005 standards, you say, but in today's hyper-horsepower world, four seconds flat is the new 4.5. So what? The Exelero was not built to show off the Fulda meats' accelerative prowess. It was built to show off their top-speed capability. Specifically, the ability to go 350 kph on less than an inch of rubber. At the Nardo high speed test track in Italy, while burning fuel at the rate of 2.8 mpg, race driver Klaus Ludwig whipped the nearly three-ton beast around the oval at 351.5 kph, or 218 mph. For comparison's sake, the Ferrari Enzo can only go 217 mph. In your face, Modena!
As stunning as the numbers are, who cares? The Maybach Exelero is the übermale id come to life. In Jungian terms, it's your shadow self, the righteous evil that lies below. Plus it's frigging enormous, stretching the tape over 19 feet long. The Exelero is actually six inches wider than a Maybach 62, yet only 54 inches tall. Impossibly long, low and double-wide the overall shape is reminiscent of another fab one off, Bugatti's Type 57 Imaginaire. Especially with the exaggerated hood and fastback rear end. Unlike the Bugatti, the Maybach has dual side exhausts and a couple of blow off valves. Sigh...
We'll never understand DaimlerChrysler's decision not to bring the Exelero to market (remember they also failed to act on the bat guano mental 240 mph ME 4-12). All the more reason we need the only working version in the Fantasy Garage. Really, how many more $8 million one-offs do you need to see at Pebble Beach? The Exelero is a rare bird indeed; not so much for its scarcity, but for the fact that the world-mugging performance it offers is eclipsed by the thing's nasty good looks. Maybach's decision not to build it makes as much sense as Noah's Bagels selling pork sausage bagel dogs, but such is the world we live in. Happy voting.
[The Jalopnik Fantasy Garage now appears every Wednesday. Readers vote the cars in or out. The idea is that we'll have 50 cars in our Fantasy Garage, the world's greatest mechanic and endless wads of cash. Would you like to nominate a car for the Fantasy Garage? Write firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Fantasy."]
The Jalopnik Fantasy Garage, So Far:
RUF RT12 | 1978 Aston Martin V8 Vantage | Honda 1300 Coupe 9 | 1931 Daimler Double Six 50 Corsica Drophead Coupe | Ferrari 288 GTO | Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 | 1970 Buick GSX 455 | First Generation BMW M Coupe | Bugatti Veyron 16.4 | Ford GT | Citroen SM | Porsche 928 | Jensen FF | DeTomaso Vallelunga | Audi Quattro S1 | Buick GNX | Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R | Honorary Fantasy Garager: The LS1 Powered Rotus | Lamborghini LM002 | Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe | Ferrari 250 GTO | Bentley Speed Six | Talbot-Lago T150C SS Figoni et Falaschi Raindrop/Teardrop Coupe | Porsche 917 | Audi RS4 Avant