Wilhelm Maybach, collaborator and friend of Gottlieb Daimler and the ingenious designer of the “Mercedes”, the first “proper” car, left Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft, where he had worked as Chief Engineer, in 1907. Together with his son, Karl, he started developing his own engines which in his opinion were excellently suited to driving the airships which had just begun cruising the skies. He approached Count Zeppelin, convinced him of the quality and performance of his engines and together they founded „Luftfahrzeug-Motorenbau GmbH“ in Bissingen near Stuttgart in 1909. Maybach’s son Karl was appointed Technical Director of this new aeroengine company.
In 1912, the company – an early joint venture – moved to Friedrichshafen, to premises adjacent to Count Zeppelin’s airship factory. Until around 1920, Wilhelm Maybach intensively supported his son in his development work, bringing forth top-quality and highly progressive petrol and diesel engines as well as transmissions over several decades.