One of Maybach’s rarest 21st century cars is for sale in the Netherlands and owes its existence to one of the most controversial African leaders in recent history. Dutch exotic car dealer Auto Leitner mentioned a Xenatec-built Maybach 57S Cruisero coupé ordered and modified by Colonel Moammar Gadhafi, but built after his death.
The short-lived German coachbuilder Xenatec chose to start with the short wheelbase 57 instead of the longer and more stately 62. It didn’t change the length or wheelbase of the sedan; Instead, it created the Cruisero by extending the front doors, removing the rear doors, and adding more angle of inclination to the roof pillars. Several other minor visual tweaks set the coupé apart from the sedan, and the interior received a more superficial makeover.
Xenatec hasn’t made any mechanical changes, so power comes from an AMG-built 6.0-liter V12 twin-turbo with 604 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. It spins the rear wheels via an automatic five-speed gearbox. Although the coupé weighs 6,000 pounds, it takes five seconds to reach 60 miles per hour from a stop.
The 57S Coupé was not a hydraulic-powered hack-job welded together haphazardly in a shed. It was authorized by Daimler and it was designed to the same standards as the regular production car. Executives were confident they could sell 100 units to politicians, entrepreneurs, oligarchs and other wealthy people around the world, but Xenatec filed for bankruptcy and closed it after making just eight when one of the main investors, one in Saudi Arabian-based company called Auto Kingdom, abruptly stopped funding the project.
Gadhafi configured Auto Leitner’s 57S Coupé, the fourth to be built, and should have received it in 2012, but the Libyan Civil War that broke out in 2011 and eventually led to his death on October 20 of that year derailed those plans. It was instead sold to another buyer whose identity is unknown. What is certain is that the person who ended up at Gadhafi’s Maybach rarely drove it: the odometer reads about 1,429 miles.
This 57S, which has many options, is equipped with 20-inch wheels, soft-close doors, heated and massaging individual rear seats separated by a refrigerator, tray tables in the rear, air conditioning systems in the front and rear, an entertainment system in the rear and, in the front, a fire extinguisher. It is finished in a surprisingly elegant combination of beige and white, and the same colors appear inside, although the dashboard is covered in white and black leather.
Putting an exceptionally rare piece of Maybach history with ties to Libya’s former ruling class in your garage isn’t cheap. Auto Leitner cost $ 961,950 (about $ 1.2 million), but buyers who plan to export the coupe outside the Netherlands can take it home for $ 795,000 (about $ 960,400). High-quality luxury cars are rarely a good investment, but the Xenatec coupe is a notable exception to the rule. Even the reduced export price is higher than the 765,000 Euro ($ 924,000) price tag affixed to each of the eight units built.