One ofrarest 21st-century cars is for sale in Holland, and it owes its existence to one of the most controversial African leaders in recent history. Dutch exotic listed a Xenatec-built Maybach 57S Cruisero coupe ordered and customized by Colonel Moammar Gadhafi but built after his death.
Short-lived German coachbuilder Xenatec chose to start with the short-wheelbase 57 rather than with the longer and more stately 62. It didn’t alter the sedan’s length or wheelbase; instead, it created the Cruisero by extending the front doors, removing the rear doors, and adding more rake to the roof pillars. Several other minor visual tweaks set the coupe apart from the sedan, and the interior was given a more superficial makeover.
Xenatec made no mechanical modifications, so power comes from an AMG-built 6.0-liter V12 twin-turbocharged to 604 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. It spins the rear wheels via a five-speed automatic transmission. Although the coupe weighs 6,000 pounds, it takes five seconds to reach 60 miles per hour from a stop.
The 57S Coupe was not a hefeweizen-fueled hack job haphazardly welded together in a shed. It was authorized by Daimler, and it was engineered to the same standards as the regular-production car. Executives were confident that they could sell 100 units to politicians, entrepreneurs, oligarchs, and other wealthy people around the world, but Xenatecand closed after making only eight when one its main investors, a Saudi Arabia-based company named Auto Kingdom, abruptly stopped funneling money into the project.
Gadhafi configured Auto Leitner’s 57S Coupe, which was the fourth one built, and he should have taken delivery of it in 2012, but the Libyan Civil War that erupted in 2011 and ultimately 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’s certain is that the person who ended up with Gadhafi’s Maybach rarely drove it: its odometer shows about 1,429 miles.
Highly optioned, this 57S is equipped with 20-inch wheels, soft-close doors, heated and massaging individual rear seats separated by a fridge, rear tray tables, front and rear air conditioning systems, a rear-seat entertainment system, and, for good measure a fire extinguisher. It’s finished in a surprisingly elegant combination of beige and white, and the same colors appear inside, though the dashboard is wrapped in white and black leather.
Putting an exceptionally rare piece of Maybach history with ties to Libya’s former ruling class in your garage doesn’t come cheap. Auto Leitner priced the 961,950 euros (about $1.2 million), though buyers planning on exporting the coupe outside of Holland can take it home for 795,000 euros (around $960,400). High-endare rarely a good investment, but Xenatec’s 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 examples built.