After the company's founder, Mr. Hermann Spohn, passed away in 1932, the company was led by his partner, Mr. Josef Eiwanger, who continued the work until 1950. Among other creations of this small shop, the 1948 Maybach SW 38 Ponton Cabriolet stood apart due to its look and engineering solutions.
In the aftermath of WWII, many car makers from Germany suffered from destruction, low production figures, or having the factories disassembled and moved abroad. Still, several small shops, such as the Spohn Karroserie Ravensburg, survived since they were not involved in war production. As a result, it continued doing whatever it knew best: creating artistic bodywork for customers. Mr. Eiwanger was still running the company when the chassis for this vehicle was brought. Before WWII, Spohn Karrosserie was responsible for creating most of the bodywork for Maybach, so it was the perfect shop to do the job.
Spohn focused on aerodynamic lines long before other mainstream automakers considered it essential for cars. That idea continued even after WWII, and the 1948 Maybach Typ SW 38 Ponton is no exception. The car featured a tall and tilted grille that dominated the front fascia. In addition, on the lower side, there were two additional, wing-like air intakes. The wide wheel fenders sat lower than the vehicle's hood, reminiscent of the pre-war styling. Still, they were flush with the doors and the rest of the bodywork, which was not a typical design for that era. Behind the front wheels, the coachbuilder concealed the spare wheels behind the body panels. Moreover, the door handles were pressed into the panels to create an even more streamlined shape. Yet, at the back, the fenders were slightly larger than the rest of the bodywork to create a muscular look. Finally, the sloped-down trunk lid allowed for a smoother flow of air. Since the SW 38 featured a short wheelbase and cabin, the bodywork specialist installed a retractable canvas top without side rear windows. Still, there was a windscreen in the back.
Inside, Spohn Karrosserie used black leather to wrap the interior. At the front, there was a pair of seats, while in the back, a small bench seat allowed for two more passengers, although there was limited legroom there. The Typ SW 38 featured the same instrument panel carried over from the regular Maybach models on the dashboard since it came with the rest of the chassis.
Before WWII, Maybach had to increase the engine size for its vehicles from 3.8-liter to 4.2-liter to compensate for the low-quality gasoline available. After WWII, that restriction on higher quality fuel was lifted, so the inline-six powerplant had the same displacement as before, of 3.8-liter. Since Maybach was also an expert on building transmissions, it made a four-speed semi-automatic gearbox, where the clutch had to be used only on departure and the first three gears.
ENGINE SPECS - 3.8
|Power:||103 KW @ 4000 RPM|
140 HP @ 4000 RPM
138 BHP @ 4000 RPM
|Top Speed:||93 mph (150 km/h)|
|Drive Type:||Rear Wheel Drive|
|Gearbox:||Sequential, 4 Speed|
|Width:||72.8 in (1849 mm)|
|Front/rear Track:||56.7/58.3 in (1,440/1,481 mm)|
|Wheelbase:||144.9 in (3680 mm)|