Making a statement can net you big money - take Banksy's partially shredded Girl with balloon. It's presently worth more semi-destroyed than it was when it hung in one piece at the time the hammer fell. However, when Mercedes attempted to restore Maybach's to its role as the ultimate status vehicle - in an attempt to challenge BMW, which was busy piecing back together the shredded Rolls-Royce brand - it didn't make any headway. In fact, in the process it made one of the most costly automotive mistakes since Ford and the Edsel.
It all started back in 1997 when the first two-tone concept car was shown at the Tokyo motor show. At 6.2 metres long, it was a big old beast and the lion's share of that length went to those in the rear seats - something which is blindingly obvious from the side profile and those huge backdoors. It featured fantastic luxuries as a 20-inch flat screen TV, two airline-style reclining chairs, a personal computer and a natty glass roof that could be turned opaque at the touch of a button. More importantly, it was powered by a V12 engine.
However, it wasn't until 2002 when the Maybach finally went on sale. Yes, it was fantastically powerful with 545hp and a 0-62mph time of 5.3 seconds. Yes, it was wonderfully well appointed with the finest wood and leather adorning the dashboard and yes, it still had the best rear legroom of any luxury car along a huge range of adjustment. Trouble was, the new Maybach relied heavily on the W220 Mercedes S-Class platform - a car which was already considered the finest luxury car in the world and cost considerably less than the £366,540 charged for a 62. And that was without options.
To make matters worse, an all-new S-Class came along a few years later, leading people to question why on earth they were expected to pay so much money for what was ostensibly an old design. Then, to pile it on even further in 2008, the financial crisis put a dampener on companies and individuals splashing the cash on heavily depreciating assets such as obscenely expensive luxury vehicles. Despite initial hopes that they'd sell 2,000 examples a year, by the time Mercedes pulled the plug in 2012, only 3,000 Maybach cars had actually been delivered. Some have speculated that the loss to the company was around €330,000 on each car.
But, Mercedes' loss then is your gain now because today you could have an early example like this 2004 62 for just £59,950 - or 16 per cent of what it cost new. Still a lot of money, of course, but when you consider that options like the central divider cost as much as a new Volkswagen Golf back in the day, suddenly it doesn't seem quite so bad.
Plus, this thing is still one of the most comfortable ways to be chauffeured around from luxury pad to luxury resort. It's also ridiculously quick for a three-ton monster and virtually silent on the move. And, if some of you are worried about the longevity of a Maybach, consider the tale of one eccentric German owner who bought one new in 2004 and proceeded to put over one million kilometres on it his in nine years of ownership. Which rather makes the mere 37,000 miles on this example look piffling in comparison, doesn't it?
SPECIFICATION - MAYBACH 62
Engine: 5,513cc, twelve-cylinder, twin-turbo
Transmission: 5-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 543@ 5,250rpm
Torque (lb ft): 664@ 2,300-3,000rpm
First registered: 2004
Recorded mileage: 37,000miles
Price new: £366,540
Yours for: £59,950
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