At the Birmingham Motor Show in 2000, Dutch entrepreneur Victor Muller presented a startling new Exotic car called the Spyker C8 Spyder. Designed by Maarten De Bruijn, this hand built tour de force promptly won many international awards for engineering and design. The following year, the original Spyder was joined by an even more powerful coupe, the C8 Laviolette featuring a unique hardened glass canopy. The C8 is so advanced that more than a decade later, the same basic machine is still in production and still among the highest-performance Supercars in the world.
Muller’s company is called Spyker, in homage to an iconic manufacturer that produced automobiles and aviation power plants in the Netherlands from 1898 till 1925. The Spyker logo dates back to 1914, with a two-bladed propeller over a wire wheel, and a Latin motto “Nulla tenaci invia est via,” which Muller translates as “For the tenacious, no road is impassable.” It’s a charming throwback for a modern Supercar manufacturer.
But there is nothing old fashioned about Spyker cars. The mid-engine design uses a racing-style space frame created from aluminum sheet and extruded box section aluminum. Body panels are also aluminum, produced by Coventry Prototype Panels in Britain and Karmann in Germany. Among De Bruijn’s clever design details are a streamlined floor pan that creates aerodynamic downforce, a front splitter plate and a rear diffuser integrated into the body. The Lamborghini-style “scissor” doors preserve the structural integrity of the chassis in addition to being lightweight, efficient and certainly distinctive.
Power comes from a 4.2-Liter, 32-valve all-aluminum V8 supplied by Audi. It’s rated at 400hp and 345 ft/lb of torque. This is the same award-winning engine used in the Audi R8 and A8, and drives through an advanced 6-speed manual transaxle. Brakes are huge four-wheel discs supplied by AP Racing.
The C8 interior is deliberately reminiscent of a classic fighter plane, with aviation-style instruments and switchgear. The Aeroblade four-spoke steering wheel evokes Spyker’s propeller logo, but with a contoured rim covered in Hulshof leather. Even the polished aluminum gearshift lever is of a design unique to Spyker. All together, the various elements combine to create a blend of luxury, performance and handcrafted individuality that is absolutely unique.
Spyker has successfully competed in a number of FIA GT and international endurance races, as well as the entire LMS Series that includes the Sebring 12 Hours and LeMans 24 Hours. The racing cars are stripped C8 road cars equipped with either a twin turbocharged V8 or 6.0-Liter Audi V12 and up to 650hp. That the stock C8 chassis can handle a huge increase in horsepower and a 215 mph top speed while surviving 24 Hours of LeMans speaks volumes to the inherent quality of the Spyker design.
All Spyker C8s built since 2005 are U.S. road legal, but that doesn’t mean you’ll see one in your neighborhood. Annual production has varied from 20 to just under 100. Spyker is very secretive about the total number of cars built, but there can’t be more than 500 Spykers in the world today. A handful of them have been imported into the United States. Despite this rarity, a Spyker is a surprisingly easy Exotic to own. The engine and driveline can be serviced by any Audi dealer, while AP Racing brakes and other suspension components are readily available.
The 2009 Spyker C8 Laviolette crossing the block on Saturday has been part of a well-known Seattle-area collection since new and shows just 130 miles on the odometer. It is still covered under Spyker’s new car warranty. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price was $226,040. Every Spyker C8 is obviously rare, but this one is rarer than most. There were only two 2009 C8s finished in Azure Blue, and only this one car in the striking combination of Azure Blue with quilted Ivory leather interior and turned aluminum trim. It was also ordered with optional Aeroblade magnesium wheels. These special wheels subtly evoke Spyker’s two-bladed airplane propeller logo, repeated five times to create the strong but lightweight 10-spoke wheels.
This Spyker C8 embodies everything you might want in a state-of-the-art Exotic — performance, style, luxury and rarity — in a design that has been proven through racing, improved over a decade of production and preserved by a dedicated collector. This is a unique chance to own a very unique work of art.
– — By Rich Taylor