The meeting, at the end of October 1996, was preceded by an informal get together at the Ramada hotel bar in Sindelfingen with Harald Leschke and Jurgen Weissinger.
The reason for this preliminary meeting was that the two managers wanted to understand directly from the Stola family if they had the internal capacity, and desire, for dealing with an ultra strategic project for Mercedes; the new Maybach.
The Ramada hotel in Sindelfingen on Mahdentalstrabe 68 was used by the Stola family and their employees from 1994 to 2004. It is now a Marriot.
After a few phone calls with the Rivoli office to check on workloads and understand the availabilty of the best technicians,the answer was immediately positive.
The following morning, Alfredo and Roberto, accompanied by Leschke and Weissinger, were received in Bruno Sacco's office with his Deputy, Peter Pfeiffer, present for final confirmation. The styling of the Maybach was entrusted to Advanced Design, directed by Leschke, whose operational sites were in not only Sindelfingen, but also Irvine in California, Yokoama in Japan and Como in Italy.
It is interesting to remember 1996, the year in which BMW and VW, with their hundreds and millions of "Deutch marks" took control of Rolls Royce and Bentley respectively.
Rolls Royce Silver Spirit my 1997.Bentley Turbo R my 1997.
In this crazy race to buy luxury brands, Mercedes Benz found themselves left behind, struggling for sales and somewhat perplexed.
Their only possibility was to exhume from the past the dormant luxury brand Maybach which had been owned by Mercedes since 1960, and this would be agreed by the board of the Stuttgart maker in that same year.
February 1997 Rivoli. Parking at the Stola spa reserved for customers.
The period is that of the development of the Maibach models and prototype
Villarbasse April 1997 The Advance Design Team Mercedes at lunch at Alfredo Stola's house. H. Leschke, G. Grande, A. Stola, a. Lo and O. Boulay.Mercedes, ordered STOLA to build two hard styling models, one designed by the office in Irvine, California and the other by that in Yokohama, Japan.
The two models were huge, refined luxury and more than 6 meters in length, but very different in style.
The Asian design studio, directed by Oliver Boulay and his assistant Anthiny Lo, created the winning design and, the model, together with the interior, also designed in Japan, was started straight away.
September 1996 Design of the new Maybach made in Japan by Antony Lo under the supervision of Olivier Boulay. The four Advance Design centers are all under the direction of Harald Leschke.
Rivoli, via Ferrero 9 March 1997. The body of the Maybach under construction, derived from a Mercedes S-Class chassis specially prepared in Sindelfingen.
Rivoli May 1997. From the left we can recognize X, Y, Chiara, Bonetto, Spitaleri, Buttiglieri, Boulè and Antony Lo.
May 1997 Anthony Lo and Stefano Ardagna.July 1997 Mercedes Team
July 1997 Jurgen Weissinger, x and Harald Leschke.July 1997 Mercedes Team
October 1997 Stefano Santolini, Gavioli, Luca Rosetti, Marco Vay, Buttiglieri and Felice Chiara are recognized.
October 1997 One of the Mercedes electricians at work.October 1997 Cogerino and Mulargia.
November 1997 Cubeddu, Roberto Stola, Ardagna, Grande and Gammicchia standing in the background.
November 1997 Gavioli, J. Weissinger and BoulèNovember 1997 Egiziano, Giarolo and Vincenzo Angelini.
November 1997 Alfredo and Roberto Stola and Oliver Boulay.
November 1997 Claudio Bruson, Jurgen Weissinger, Tesauro and XNovember 1997 Gioachino Grande prepares the last documents before the prototype starts.
November 1997 Maria Paola Stola polishes Sabattini silver.
November 1997 Stefano Ardagna, Lino and Alfredo Stola, in the background Rosetti father and CP father can be recognized.
November 25, 1997 10 hours before the photo shoot in the studio.
The final stage of assembly. Giampiero Fasano, Pietro Calò, Lello Locantore, Claudio Bruson, Felice Chiara, Buttiglieri and Antonio Tartaglia can be recognized.
November 26 at 3:00 A.M. O. Boulay sits in the finished car and smokes a cigarette as a joke.
The driver D'Alessio has been waiting for over two hours to transport the prototype to the photographic studio. After D'Alessio with the red suit G. Grande, J. Weissinger, H. Leschke and L. Giarolo.
November 26, 1997 J. Weissinger, Roberto Stola and Olivier Boulay.
November 26, 1997 On the last night of work Alfredo and Maria Paola Stola pose for a souvenir photo.November 26, 1997 Olivier Boulay and Harald Leschke pose for a souvenir photo on their last night of work.
November 26, 1997 A few hours before departure, the two front seats are still missing.
November 26, 1997. A few minutes before departure.
That was the most luxurious prototype ever made by the Stola company, with prominent external finishes in hand polished aluminum whilst other parts were milled Plexiglas and backlit with LED lights.
December 1997 Tokyo Harald Leschke, Roberto Stola and Bruno SaccoDecember 1997 Tokyo Carlo Alecci, Roberto Stola and Peter Pfeiffer.
The interiors were finely uphostered with ultra relaxing, comfortable seats, important parts finished in solid cherry wood, and for the time, a really innovative infotainment systems was installed.
For the Stola technicians and managers, it was a great opportunity to learn from their Stuttgart counterparts.
At the end of 1997,The Maybach was presented at the Tokyo motor show by the Mercedes board, including Jurgen Hubert, Dieter Zetsche and of course Bruno Sacco.
December 1997 Tokyo. Maybach at the press presentation.December 1997 Tokyo. Maybach at the press presentation.
As soon as the presentation to the journalists and employees was finished, my uncle, Roberto Stola, offered around a Magnum of Italian Prosecco he had brought with him on the plane from Turin, for all the Mercedes managers present at the show, in order to toast their success.
Back in Stuttgart, Mercedes began to develop the production Maybach directly from the prototype, the project code name for the standard and long wheel base versions was W240, it went on sale five years later in 2002
January 1998 Miami. Outdoor photographs on Ocean Drive taken after the Tokyo show.
November 26, 1997 Turin. Studio photo.
The refined interior of the Maybach saddled by Messrs. Gavina of Salt.The precious silvers are a creation of Sabattini.
A bit of Japanese influence can be seen from the style of the rear upper ceiling.
The flower between the two front seats is also a sign of this.
The whole interior is enriched with precious inserts in solid cherry wood handcrafted by the
carpenters of Stola spa.
Beijing 2002. Five years later here is the production Maybach.
Developed entirely in Stuttgart by Mercedes, and practically identical to the concept presented in Tokyo.