||2-door coupe, concept car
|Miles Per Gallon:
||700 bhp @ 5000 rpm
||753 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm
||f: --.- / r: --.- in
||--.- sec @ --- mph
|Braking, 60-0 mph:
|Nürburgring Lap Time:
Just 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 mind’s 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 200 km/h.
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?
Ultra-high performance tires, top products for demanding motorists with high performance cars are not introduced to the market every year. They are the result of intensive tests over many millions of kilometers in technical laboratories and under the most extreme road conditions at high speed. Years go by before they achieve their optimal performance profile in the critical eyes of the tire specialists.
In 2005, the successor to the long successful and tried and tested Carat Extremo will be introduced to the specialist trade. A summer wide tire of an extra class - the Fulda Carat Exelero. High performance – sporty, dynamic and and comfortable.
How and in what setting such a high-end product should be presented? In 1996, the manufacturer from Fulda already faced the same problem with the Exelero predecessor and that was solved with brute force. The noble design workshop Gemballa created a show vehicle based on the Porsche 911 convertible with a 3.8-liter Biturbo engine, 600 hp and all-wheel drive which catapulted the racing vehicle standing on its 18-ich rims and Extremo tires to a maximum speed of 350 km/h.
Why not once again design such an automobile built around a top Fulda product? The previous concept was successful.
This time the problem was different. The Exelero tire line, for the first time tested in advance by the TÜV (Technical Control Board), is not comparable with the predecessor generation. This applies to the design and the extended extreme sizes up to 315/25 ZR 23 version! A complete wheel in this still weighs around 46 kilograms.
How can the claim of this tire technology be interpreted in automotive form? During the team meetings the image of the Fulda streamlined vehicle of 1938 repeatedly went through the minds of the decision-makers. Then it became clear: the successful comeback only a couple of years ago of Germany’s most exclusive automobile make tipped the balance – it had to be Maybach. A go-between was quickly found. René Staud, top photographer for automobiles, a man with 31 years of work for DaimlerChrysler and 20 years for Fulda Reifen behind him. Leon Hustinx, Maybach, meets Bernd Joachim Hoffmann, Fulda. A cooperation is agreed on. Then everything moves very quickly.
Maybach agrees to make a platform available on the 57 basis. The initial ideas revolve around the basic idea of the SW 38 streamlined car, they are rejected. This vehicle will stand on the best tires that Fulda has to offer. For the Fulda project team under the direction of Bernd J. Hoffmann, Managing Director, Helge Jost, Marketing Manager and responsible for the communicative project interface, and Rolf-Dieter Stohrer, Senior Manager Car Tires, responsible for wheel and tire technology, it is therefore quite clear: the vehicle should be more than just a reproduction. To quote Oscar Wilde they want only the best of everything.
Why not revive a good und effective cooperation once again? In the middle of the 1990s, Fulda Reifen had already had a show truck designed by the students of Pforzheim Polytechnic’s Department of Transport Design under the direction of Professor James Kelly. Since the year 2000, to mark the 100th anniversary of Fulda, this uniue vehicle with its futuristic aura, the trailer of which can be divided lengthwise in the middle and extended, has been on the road for use at many events. Not only Fulda, also its cooperation partners Maybach and the design department of DaimlerChrysler have had very good experience with Pforzheim Polytechnic and were happy to agree. On the part of the Polytechnic, Professor Kelly and Professor Lutz Fügener assumed responsibility for the project and selected four students from the 6th semester who should produce designs under identical conditions.
On behalf of DaimlerChrysler, Professor Harald Leschke who manages the Group’s future projects, assumed responsibility for the project and the links with the students to the company’s design department. Because the students not only worked on the design in the college. They were also given the unique opportunity during a practical semester to work directly in DaimlerChrysler’s design center in Sindelfingen, under the wings of the design professionals. Included was the use of the latest technological facilities right up to 3-D animation.
The implementation of the creative ideas was handled quickly and very professionally. From the initial briefing at the Polytechnic (only formal specification from Fulda: Whatever happens no retro design!) through to the selection of the final design which should be realized, just less than eight months passed by. In the end, Fredrik Burchhardt 24, from Bowenden, emerged as the winner. His design was the most appropriate in terms of the transformation of the design from the study into reality. Also the relation of the design between the two vehicle generations was most striking in Burchhardt’s design.
However, Professor Leschke lavished his praise on all the students involved: “Even though Fredrik Burchhardt’s design won in the end, the ideas of the three other students should also be integrated. The project will remain a joint effort. Every single one of them displayed so much imagination, each of the designs could have been realized." In appreciation of these good performances, all four designs were milled as 1:4 scale models.
Ultimately, the design results can be described as a complete success. The Fulda/Maybach project car was created in a unique interplay between design students, their professors, the specialists from DaimlerChrysler and the Fulda team. The result: a new vehicle dimension.
The designers brings together the best of two vehicle genres - the grandeur of a limousine and the fascination of a coupé. As a result, the Fulda/Maybach project car combines muscular strength and apparently infinite elegance.
The standard type 12 Maybach engine with Biturbo turbocharger produces 550 hp. Even this imposing engine cannot accelerate a vehicle weighing around 2.6 tons to a speed of around 350 km/h. A matter of honor for DaimlerChrysler’s engine specialists in Untertürkheim. The designers dipped into their technical box of tricks and increased the cubic capacity from 5.6 to 5.9 liters. They further optimized the turbocharger and, lo and behold, the 700 hp and torque of at least 1,000 newton meters calculated for the desired speed was achieved. After around 100 hours of non-stop testing on the engine test bed, corresponding to a road test of about 15,000 kilometers, the unit was ready for use.
Sedan to Coupe Transformation
Leon Hustinx, the Director of Sales and Marketing at Maybach, was so impressed by the Exelero project that he quickly and unbureaucratically provided Fulda with the platform of a Maybach 57 limousine. How to conjuring up a sports coupé from it? For Jürgen Weissinger, head of development at Maybach, this was not the first tricky question. He is more familiar with the engineering of the Maybach than anyone else and, as project manager in pre-development, he has produced numerous feasibility studies for the make. When comparing the dimension concepts of the Fulda streamlined car of 1938 with the 57 platform, an astonishing correlation of measurements already emerged. Although today's Maybach is about 290 mm longer, e.g. in the wheelbase, the breadth and height of the veteran car strongly resembled the 57’s dimensions.
That simplified construction considerably. Nevertheless, a great number of details had to be changed, among others:
- the driver’s position including A-column and door had to be shifted back towards the rear axle;
- correspondingly the steering column and the pedals as well as the gear shift;
- a second front wall had to be integrated;
- the position of the tank remained unchanged, the refuelling nozzle had to be shifted etc.