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The project Exelero - the
The reinterpretation of automobile
and tire technology of the ultra-high performance partners
Maybach and Fulda
ust imagine an automobile that
combines the elegance and first-class quality of a high-end
limousine with the powerful suppleness of a sports coupé. Create
a vehicle in your minds eye which, with an unladen weight
of over 2.66 tons and the dimensions of a small transporter,
achieves a maximum speed of over 350 km/h. Conceive an ultra-high
performance tire which not only copes with the aforementioned
weight, the dimensions and the speed, but also makes the
automobile safe, stable and comfortable. Such a vehicle and such
tires do not exist? Now they do.
Always something special
For 99 years, Fulda has been
making car tires. For most of this time, the company has
advertised its products with special vehicles. Luxury buses,
advertising vehicles with special bodies, high-speed buses for
tire tests, a whole series of showtrucks, racing cars and - in
the 1930s something quite special - streamlined car from the
Maybach company which could conduct tire tests at speeds of over
Unfortunately, not for too long,
because the test car designed in 1938 and delivered in 1939
disappeared during the war years and never reappeared again.
66 years later: Fulda is
introducing a new sophisticated high-tech tire to the market. For
the most extreme dimension of this tire line, 315/25 ZR 23,
licensed for speeds of more than 350 km/h, and that as a series
tire, not a racing tire, what was needed was a high-speed vehicle
but not a racing car. A few years ago, one the most exclusive
German automobile makes was revived, why not organize a joint
project together once again, just like in the old days?
Cooperating with Maybach
The contacts were made and thanks
to René Staud, a world-class photographer of automobiles and an
outstanding "networker" of DaimlerChrysler and Fulda
Reifen, they were purposefully and effectively developed.
Following several coordinating discussions with Leon Hustinx,
Maybachs manager, agreement was reached: Maybach would
build a car for Fulda. Objective: to position the vehicle as an
impressive ambassador for the new ultra-high performance tire
generation Exelero. An indispensable helper in the boat with the
project partners: two professors and four students from Pforzheim
Polytechnics Dpartment of Transport Design. Together with
the design professionals from DaimlerChrysler, under the
direction of Professor Harald Leschke, the team went to work and
after three-quarters of a year of promising design proposals, it
was decided to realize the outline of the student Fredrik
Burchhardt. He succeded in producing the most elegant symbiosis
of design elements of former and present vehicle generations.
The model phase starts
Three model construction phases in
the manufacture of a special vehicle are decisive in the
- the exterior design reference
model (for the construction of the negative molds)
- the interior reference model
- the chassis order with
Based on detailed and strict time
schedules, all three phases were realized simultaneously. The
well-known Italian vehicle study manufacturer Stola in Turin was
commissioned by DaimlerChrysler to build the Exelero. The sports
coupé was also now given its final project name: Maybach Exelero.
On 31 May 2005 everything was
ready. All three phases were completed. The 1:1 model for the
exterior had been tested in the wind tunnel many times, modified
and adapted. The interior details were fixed: natural leather,
neoprene, coated punched aluminum sheet as well as carbon fiber
in glossy black and red are the main materials. And the
technicians who worked on the vehicle had arranged, rebuilt and
made ready for use all the functions and the parts needed for
this. Dipl.-Ing. Jürgen Weissinger, the responsible project
technician and development manager at Maybach, connected the
battery, turned the ignition key and the car growled into life.
The short burst of gas suggested record speeds.
The construction and test phase
concluded with a outstanding success
Transforming a limousine, the
basis for the Exelero is the Maybach 57, into a coupé is
extremely demanding. Jürgen Weissinger and his team were
astonished to find that, although the dimensions of the former SW
38 differed in the length (the Maybach 57 has a 290 millimeters
longer wheelbase), in terms of breadth and height they were very
similar. That simplified a whole series of structural measures.
When considering the engine
alternatives, it soon became clear that the basic twelve-cylinder
engine used in the Maybach limousines would not achieve the
desired maximum speed of around 350 km/h despite the Biturbo
turbo charger. Here, the Mercedes Car Group leapt into the breach.
The engine specialists in Untertürkheim, the place where all
basic engines are developed, provided energetic support for the
After several optimization of the
Maybach type 12 engine, the cubic capacity was increased from 5.6
to 5.9 liters and the turbo charge optimized. The result was
convincing: on the test bed almost 700 hp and at least 1,000
newton meters of torque were recorded, sufficient to achieve the
targeted maximum speed of 350 km/h.
Before, during and after the
aforementioned work, the individual evolutionary steps were
supported by corresponding tests. Either on engine test beds in
the plants or on test tracks like the high-speed oval in Nardo/Southern
Italy or the test track in Cloppenburg.
The final test measurements at the
end of April/beginning of May 2005, once again on the high speed
Motodrom Nardo, then produced the well-earned success of lost of
hard work: a top speed of 351,45 km/h - a world record for
limousines on standard tires.
And yet another world record:
between the Fulda idea, the outstanding cooperation of all
concerned and the delivery of the Maybach Exelero sports coupé,
just 25 months passed.
Thanks to all cooperation
Yet again in Fulda Reifens
company history, a cooperation has led to an exceptional final
result: a top-class product like the Exelero ultra-high
performance tire is matched by an exceptional vehicle, unmatched
anywhere else in the world, the Maybach Exelero sports coupé.
The result can never be the
product of just one individual, only within the framework of a
partnership at the highest level and the uncompromising efforts
of all concerned can such a project succeed. The Fulda project
team under the direction of Bernd J. Hoffmann, Chairman of the
Board of Management, would hereby like to thank everyone
involved, particularly the responsible persons at
Sindelfingen (design, Product Communication, engineering
and engine construction)
- Stola, Turin/Italy (prototype
- Pforzheim Polytechnic (Department
of Transport Design), Pforzheim
- René Staud and his company
MEM Motor Event Marketing, Leonberg
- Excentric/ATP-Felgen, Bremen