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Spyker PDF Print E-mail

The oldest automaker you have never heard of is the Dutch Spyker company.  Established at the beginning of the last century, Spyker has over the years produced some fine performance machines. 

In 1898 two brothers, Jacobus and Hendrik-jan Spijker, a pair of coachbuilders in Amsterdam, built their first Mercedes-engined motor car.  In the same year the Spijkers built the famous gold state coach which is still in use today.  The name was changed to Spyker for easier recognition in foreign markets and in 1903 Spyker introduced the advanced 60/80 hp.  It was the first car with a six cylinder engine as well as permanent four-wheel drive.

Spyker’s image was further enhanced when in 1907 a privately entered Spyker Tourer came second in the grueling Peking to Paris race.  In the period leading up to the First World War the demand for luxury cars slumped and Spyker began making aircraft.  During the war the company built around 100 fighter aircraft and 200 aero engines, both of its own design.  After the war Spyker resumed car production and made some remarkable machines.  Most famous of these was the Spyker C4 which featured a special engine built by famous German engineer Wilhelm Maybach.

Launched this year is the latest, the C12 LaTurbie, while its highly-rated C8 has recently won approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Working with Cosworth Technology in Britain, Spyker will now be allowed to import its cars into the USA, by far its number one market.  Audi, whose engines Spyker uses, also assisted the tiny company in its quest for recognition Stateside.

Spyker
Spyker

The C12 LaTurbie will be the first Spyker to run the powerful six liter Audi W12, aluminum engine.  Maximum power is an awesome 500 bhp (369 kW) while the torque output peaks at a massive 600 Nm.  Top speed is in the region of 325 km/h, while the benchmark 0-100 km/h time is a mere 3.9 seconds.

The C8 uses a twin-turbo version of Audi’s 4.2 liter V8 and a race car, the short wheelbase Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R, will be entered for the Le Mans 24 Hours on June 18, driven by experienced sportscar racers Marc Goossens and Tom Coronel, with Dutchman Donny Crevels taking the third seat.  The car has been developed in-house and is based on the road-going C8.

Chief executive of Spyker, Victor Muller, said following the announcement of its Le Mans entry, “This will again be a challenging year for the Spyker Squadron, which intends to make its return to the international endurance racing arena.  Le Mans is the ultimate endurance test for our cars.”

Spyker has one entry at Le Mans guaranteed, and one on the reserve list for the annual French classic.

“We investigated a number of alternatives for Le Mans 2005 and considered building a prototype for the GTP class.  In the end we decided to develop the C8 for a return to the GT class,” said Muller. The C8 Spyder GT2R will be made available to privateers after the 2005 race, with prices starting at a hefty 325,000 euros.

ImageThe original, road-going C8 Spyder was unveiled at the Birmingham motor show in England in October 2000, winning instant acclaim for its hand-crafted finish and the technology beneath the skin.  The coupé version, the C8 Laviolette, was launched the following year in Amsterdam.  Since them a number of variants have appeared, including a twin-turbo C8 and ultimately a 12-cylinder model, the C12 LaTurbie which appeared at this year’s Geneva Salon.  Deliveries of the C12 will not start until the second half of 2006, such is the demand for these unique machines.

Currently Spyker has back orders for over 100 of these remarkable but little known supercars.  The company is now listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange and has appointed 18 dealers worldwide, although California is still by far its most important market.

 

 
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© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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