The World's Strangest Cars
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The Maybach Exelero - The $8million Tyre Testing Machine
A tyre manufacturer named Fulda (now part of the Goodyear group)was looking for a suitable vehicle to test its high-performance tyres on; and, no doubt, get itself a little extra publicity.
Previously Fulda had used a test vehicle in the 1930s which was based on a Maybach and they decided that they wanted the company to provide them with the ultimate driving machine; a cross between a luxurious limo and an ultra fast sports car. The result was the Exelero; a huge futuristic two seater with an ultra – luxurious specification, which weighed more than 2 1/2 tons. It was based on the Maybach 57 Limousine, with modifications suggested by an engineering student namedFredrik Burckhardt.
Was it fast?
It was no slouch; at a speed trial it clocked an impressive 218 mph, on standard road tyres (manufactured by Fulda, naturally)! Not bad for a luxury limousine.
How was it powered?
How about a six litre, twin turbo V12 producing 700 bhp? Awesome.
Was it safe to drive?
Aerodynamically, the vehicle was, and probably still is, well ahead of its time. There are not one but three spoilers, manually operated, to combat a tendency for the rear end to lift at high-speed, and carbon fibre was used liberally to keep weight down; whilst conversely the luxurious fittings have pushed it up. Racing seats were fitted, together with five point racing harnesses to protect the occupants; hardly surprising for such a potentially fast beast. With such a heavy car, if it was involved in an accident it is reasonable to assume that the occupants of the other vehicle would come off worst.
Did it sell well?
Hardly, since only one car was produced. None of it's specifications came cheaply, and It was initially displayed in Berlin in 2005, with a reputed asking price in the region of US$8 million which put it out of the price bracket of, well, just about everybody in the world.
What happened to it?
Much of it's life from this point on is a little mysterious.
It is being claimed that a diamond merchant named André Action Diakité Jackson eventually bought it for a cut-price €5 million euros; although it is not possible to confirm this. The rapper Jay-Z used it in a promotional video before, it seems, selling it to an exotic car collector named Arnaud Massartic. Mr Massartic put it up for sale again; and American rapper, record executive and serial entrepreneur Brian Christian Williams (known as Bryan “Birdman” Williams) is said to have arranged to buy it for $8 million. The sale has never been confirmed however and the ownership, and indeed whereabouts, of this magnificent, over the top machine is currently unknown.