The Vector W8 is a boutique supercar só outrageous that it’s hard to forget. Though it never received the same accolades as its competitors of the time like Ferrari and Lamborghini, Vector made a name for itself with the W8 – a wedge-shaped, twin-turbocharged vehicle with extreme styling that’s synonymous with that of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. It’s a car many had posters of hung on their walls, and one that we won’t soon forget.
Today, RM Sotheby’s has one of the 17 examples produced up for auction, offering up one of the most iconic supercar developments of the ’90s.
The late 80’s and early 90s saw the birth of several audacious supercar manufacturers who attempted to beat Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Porsche at their own game. Among the more compelling companies was Wilmington, California’s Vector, which was established by Gerald Wiegert, an automotive industry veteran with experience at each of the Big Three in Detroit.
Lets go back to the 70’s, the time when the Lamborghini Countach, the Ferrari 512BBi and 308GTB hit the roads. Entrepreneur Gerald Wiegert founded Vector in 1971. Initially he called the company ‘Vehicle Design Force’, but after partnering with Hollywood movie car expert Lee Brown, Vehicle Design Force quickly morphed into Vector. The duo created their first concept car, the Vector W2, in 1978.
Inspired by the Alfa Romeo 33 Carabo by Bertone – Gerald Wiegert was véry impressed by its design from 1968!, the duo created their first concept car, the Vector W2, in 1978. The sharp styling of the Vector W2 made it an instant eye-catcher, but was eventually refined into a full production model, the W8 Twin Turbo. No corners were cut in the W8’s design, as it would be a supercar constructed using the most advanced technologies and cutting-edge materials. The body incorporated carbon fiber, kevlar, and fiberglass for structural rigidity.
The engine was equally impressive, using aerospace-grade components to construct the six-liter V8. Powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V8, the Vector W8 produced 625 horsepower (466 kilowatts) and 649 pound-feet (880 Newton-meters) of torque running on eight PSI of boost, initially. But according to the company, pumping boost pressure up to 14 PSI would give the same 6.0-liter engine a whopping 1,200 hp (895 kW). A W8 could run the quarter mile in 12 seconds at 124 mph (200kmh), which was over two seconds faster than the Ferrari Testarossa, and it could sprint to 60 mph (96.5 kmh) in 3.9 seconds. The company even claimed it could reach a projected top speed of 242 miles per hour (389 kmh).
But those impressive numbers didn’t lead to remarkable sales figures. Financial problems eventually led Vector to close its doors after the building of only two W8 prototypes and an additional 17 customer cars in its short time on sale. Nevertheless, Wiegert had achieved his goal of shocking the automobile industry with a car that packed previously unseen performance and styling and was built in America. He put the established supercar manufacturers on notice and paved the way for future small-scale manufacturers to come.
Serial number 009 was ordered in 1989 by the original owner at a cost of $178,000. The W8 was agreed to be completed the following year, and a 1990 VIN was allocated to the car according to the original sales agreements and MSO. However, the Vector was not completed until late 1991, and as such it was given an updated VIN reflecting the 1991 model year, leading to a change in the 10th digit of the VIN.
This 1991 Vector W8 Twin Turbo is a single-owner example and has covered only 2,268 miles since new. The interior is reminiscent of an airplane cockpit, with a digital computer screen and numerous instruments highlighted by an Airpath compass and Hobbs hours counter. Additionally, it features Recaro Classic seats, digital climate control, and a Sony stereo with cassette and 10-disc CD paired to a/d/s speakers.
This Vector features a removable moonroof and is accompanied with a rare case to protect it when stored. This W8 even retains its original Plexiglas license plate cover that keeps the body line of the rear of the car. The Vector is accompanied by its tool pouch, correspondence between Weigert and the original owner, purchase agreement, invoice, copy of manufacturer’s statement of origin, period literature, and a Vector Aeromotive presentation VHS.
Gerald Wiegert joins a select group along with Preston Tucker, John DeLorean, Malcolm Bricklin, and Elon Musk, who all set out to disrupt an industry and build their own car. Vector cemented itself in automotive history with its stunning futuristic design, aircraft-inspired cockpit, and exhilarating performance. With only a handful of cars produced, Vectors are seldom offered for sale, particularly with low mileage, from original ownership, and with extensive original documentation. This Vector W8, serial number 009, is an exceptional modern classic that is sure to draw a crowd wherever it goes.
Take a look at the ultra-rare Vector W8 Twin Turbo in the pictures above, and find out more about its listing on the RM Sotheby’s website. It is expected to fetch between $300,000 – $450,000 USD, and is on sale until January 17, 2020.