Spyker C8 2008

Since the 1970s, the world of motorsport has known England as the country of great garage car builders. Cars were built in garages, engaging in real engineering almost on the fly. Most of these projects died out because they could not withstand market competition, the struggle for customers and issues with the reliability of their products. But what if I told you today: the car in the photo was made not in Britain, which would be the most obvious, but in the Netherlands?
The history of the Spyker brand consists of 2 parts and begins in 1880 when brothers Hendrik Jan and Jacobus Spijker, both blacksmiths by profession, founded a company for the repair and maintenance of wagons. They chose the propeller of an airplane as their logo to symbolize their connection to the world of aviation. By 1899, the growing Spijker company decided to participate in car production and in 1900 presented 2 self-moving carriages, similar to Benz at that time and equipped with engines of 3 and 5 hp.

Things were going relatively well and in 1903 the brothers introduced a sports car, which became the first 6-cylinder car with a drive and 4-wheel brakes with a front-engine layout! What do you say to that, gentlemen from the “big three”?
Unfortunately, in 1907, Hendrik Jan tragically died in a sunken ferry, and the company was on the brink of bankruptcy. Salvation came in the form of investors, but Jacobus no longer participated in the revived company, although the name Spyker remained.

In 1913, financial problems caught up with the automaker again and in 1915, new owners acquired it and renamed it to Nederlandsche Automobiel en Vliegtuigfabriek Trompenburg (Dutch company for the production of cars and planes). For some time later, the company was engaged in car production and participated in joint projects to build airplanes.
But even participation in the development of aviation engines did not save Spyker from a continuing series of bankruptcies. In 1922, believe it or not, the company ran out of money again and the situation was saved by a dealer in Britain, who renamed the company again, this time to Spyker Automobielfabriek. The enthusiasm and funds lasted for 4 years and in 1926, the last trucks of the C2 model and cars of the C4 model rolled off the production line. The lights were turned off, the documents were filed away, the production was dismantled. The time of a lethargic sleep had come. In total, around 2000 cars with the propeller badge were produced.

In 1999, almost after 73 years, a new company called Spyker Cars came to life, preserving the logo and motto of its predecessor – Nulla tenaci invia est via, which can be translated as “For the tenacious, no road is impassable.” Unfortunately, along with these historical attributes, the company inherited financial problems, which led to its resale in 2011 and almost bankrupted it in 2014-2015. We are not the ones who believe in omens, but maybe this place is still cursed?
Be that as it may, our interest in the brand is not dictated by its history, but by its products. Today, we have the fortune of seeing a model that has received the historical name C8, continuing the naming traditions of days long gone and a company long gone.

Let’s start with the exterior of the car and I’m sure you would never have guessed that the car was created by the Dutch. The fact is that this sports coupe looks absolutely fantastic, with its front somewhat resembling an Aston Martin and its rear something like a Lotus. That’s why I mentioned British garage builders – their spirit somehow permeated this sports car and is evident in its unusual engineering solutions.
Look at the car’s windows. The windshield transitions to the side without a break in the body pillar, which, contrary to modern standards, is positioned behind the glass. Whether they wanted to improve aerodynamics this way, we do not know, but they certainly succeeded in design. The side windows point us to the brand’s sporting roots since from the large window down, only the lower small part can be lowered – just enough to get a bit of a breeze or shake hands with your acquaintance. That’s it, no more.
Can you find the door handle? I bet it will be as difficult as finding Atlantis in a hotel pool in Egypt – simply put, there is no handle. To open the door from the outside, you can either use the button on the alarm key fob or the button on the side mirror! Bravo, this car doesn’t need a security system – no one will ever be able to open it anyway.

The exterior of the car consists of 2 materials: aluminum and plastic, with the plastic parts seemingly limited to the headlights. The aluminum body panels are painted and do not immediately reveal their aviation pedigree, but elements like mirrors, diffusers (responsible for engine and brake cooling), splitters, and many small parts are made of polished aluminum, hinting at the exclusivity and thoughtfulness of the sports car. In various places, you can see small logos – stylized screws – and the fuel cap cover is a disc with the motto and screw imprinted on it, which you will unscrew for refueling. I can’t imagine how you can let the gas station attendant do this for you – they’ll first just not find the cover and then deny you the indescribable pleasure.The front end, as I already mentioned, reminds me of an Aston Martin. But you won’t be able to open the hood of this car – the engine is located in the rear! Furthermore, the engine is mounted on a space frame, made of aluminum in this generation. The chassis incorporates classic double wishbone suspension at both the front and rear, typical for sports cars. The car closely resembles a sports car and, I believe, could have put up a good time on the track. The power plant is not proprietary, as it would be too expensive and unreliable without guarantees, but sourced from Audi – a V8 with a displacement of 4.2 liters and a power output ranging from 400 to 620 hp depending on the version and configuration.

The rear section is built around taillights from the Lamborghini Diablo – round, like the exhaust tips protruding directly in the middle of the bumper. By the way, these also feature the company’s logo and motto. The diffuser, which by modern standards appears rather modest, is, without a doubt, made of aluminum. The cover, which you might mistake for a trunk, actually conceals the engine, but opening it is not that simple – the opening handle is integrated into the door frame! I must say, I have never seen anything like this before. Also, if you take a closer look at the wheel rims, you’ll notice they resemble aircraft propeller blades. The car is literally built around its logo.

Moving into the interior, we find ourselves in a realm of aluminum and leather. If you are making an extremely niche car that might only appeal to people with deep pockets and high demands, you must provide them exclusivity behind the wheel. This is delivered through the driver’s seating position dictated by the monocoque layout and the thoughtful details. All possible switches are made of aluminum toggle switches – even the heater settings are adjusted using them. The vehicle is started with a sports car-style toggle switch and a classic start-stop button, but there’s also a classic key – hidden in the glove compartment!

The car has gone through 3 versions, which could be called facelifts, but distinguishing one from another is not that easy if you don’t have an image of all three in your head. However, this is not so important because encountering any of them anywhere is an incredible stroke of luck. Production remains truly limited, with no representation in Russia. Moreover, people who can afford a Spyker often don’t even know about the existence of such a car, except through integrations in advertisements! For example, with Louis Vuitton or in movies like War (with Statham and Jet Li) and Basic Instinct 2. You can still order the car today in its third generation, the Preliator, where aluminum has begun to give way to carbon fiber to align with current trends. Oh, if only one of our readers did this and invited us to film it…

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