Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Lord K's Garage #162: The Rolling Zeppelin

Just look at this car:

1932 Maybach Spohn Stromlinienkarosserie

Isn't it fantastic?

The Maybach Zeppelin DS-8, powered by a 8-liter V-12 engine, was introduced in 1931. It was one of the most refined automobiles of the period, a formidable rival of the Rolls-Royce, Grosser Mercedes and Hispano-Suiza. Superficially, the Zeppelin was a rather simple car of conventional design. Here is a preserved example with Spohn bodywork:

But in 1932, Spohn atelier produced a special streamline body for the DS-8. And it was different not only from the 'standard' bodywork but from any of its contemporaries:

1932 Maybach Zeppelin Spohn Stromlinie1932 Maybach Zeppelin Stromlinie DS 8The Maybach Stromlinie was displayed at the 1932 Berlin Auto Show:

1932 Maybach Zeppelin Spohn StromlinieSee the different paint scheme? Probably there was more than one body. Besides, the car was advertised (which doesn't mean it was available commercially) in two variants, powered by 6- and 8-cylinder engines.

Maybach StromlinienwagenThe fate of the Maybach Zeppelin streamliner (or streamliners?) remains a mystery. As far as yours truly knows, there are no survivors. But maybe some day, in some obscure barn... Can't we dream? I believe we can.

1932 Maybach Zeppelin Spohn Stromlinie

1932 Maybach Zeppelin Spohn StromlinieImages: Autoevolition, Ultimatecarpage

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Comment by Elvisrocks59 on December 18, 2012 at 5:55pm

And here's me thinking only Trains had cow catchers 

Comment by Andrew V. No on December 18, 2012 at 4:33am

This car is pure Dieselpunk, I think. And sweeetly food to fantasy...

Comment by lord_k on December 12, 2012 at 10:53am

Thank you Albert!

Comment by Albert M. Bankment on December 12, 2012 at 10:35am

I was intrigued by your piece on these beautiful machines, and by the assumption that none have survived. I wrote to Dr. Helmut Hofmann, the President of the Maybach Club in Germany, and received a very swift reply. Sadly but unsurprisingly, he confirms that it is unlikely that any of the Spohn streamliners still exists, and even speculates that none were ever sold to customers, with either the 6- or the 12-cylinder engine. Since Maybachs (like other luxury marques) were built to order, perhaps they were never anything more than motor show 'concept cars'.

Dr. Hofmann also referred me to the Maybach Museum's website - www.automuseum-maybach.de (there's an English translation) - which shows a building just as stylish as the beautiful cars that it houses. It's in Neumarkt, just south-east of Nuremberg, and the 16 cars on display there are not only Dr. & Mrs. Hofmann's own but also represent 10% of the Maybachs still in existence - of the 1,800 built. There is one exquisite 2-door convertible that you really should see. The Hofmanns also established and funded the museum.

Comment by lord_k on December 11, 2012 at 9:53am

To Albert:

Actually, a number of DS8s survived - but their bodywork is different:

Comment by Albert M. Bankment on December 11, 2012 at 9:34am

There is at least one survivor. I recalled that a 1938 roadster was sold at auction in August. Here is the slow grind to an eventual sale price of nearly DKR10m, apparently almost 10 times the pre-sale estimate:


Comment by Cap'n Tony on December 8, 2012 at 9:12pm

Give it a big spike right in the middle of the roof and it'd look like a WW1 Wehrmacht helm.  This is the car Kaiser Wilhelm III drives in an alternate universe.

Comment by Docneg on December 8, 2012 at 5:30pm

Really one of a kind.  That spine is unique.  Makes me want to buy an old barn just to see if there is one hiding inside!  Thanks for posting.

Comment by Pablo J. Alvarez on December 7, 2012 at 8:37pm

Art on wheels, mobile sculpture, I don´t know how define his beauty, Thanks for showing it.

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