Automobiles of London

27 October 2010

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Lot 125

1992 Vector W8 Twin Turbo

Sold for £179,200


625 bhp, 5,973 cc mid-mounted, Donovan aluminium block and head V-8 engine with twin Garrett turbochargers and fuel injection, three-speed automatic gearbox, independent front suspension with double wishbones, coil springs, adjustable tubular shock absorbers and anti-roll bar, de Dion rear axle with trailing links, diagonal link, coil springs, adjustable shock absorbers and adjustable anti-roll bar, and hydraulic ventilated disc brakes front and rear. Wheelbase: 103"



- Radical, aircraft-inspired design with racing calibre specification

- Likely the lowest mileage Vector in existence

- Upwards of $50M invested in all 22 Vectors

- From the Hooper Corporate Collection

- Displayed at Auto & Technik Museum, Sinsheim, Germany



Despite being short-lived in production, the Vector W8 was the product of nearly two decades of design and development, beginning in 1972. The driving force was Gerald Weigert, who founded a design firm called Vehicle Design Force. Working with designer Lee Brown, the fledgling company’s first design was the Vector, imagined as an American alternative to the radical, mid-engine Italian “supercars” of the late 1960s and early 1970s.



A non-running prototype debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 1972, but almost immediately, the effort was beset by the departure of Brown. Series production was planned, with a $10,000 purchase price quoted for the Vector. Despite earning a Motor Trend cover, the original Vector was shelved in favour of a new car in 1978, dubbed the W2 because it was Weigert’s second design.



Although not functional at its debut in 1978, a running W2 prototype was ready in 1979 and accumulated 100,000 miles at the hands of motor journalists, most notably testers from Motor Trend and Britain’s Top Gear television programme. Company personnel claimed a 230-mph top speed for the W2, yet they prohibited Top Gear from making any top-speed runs with the prototype.



A stock issue, followed by successful lawsuits against Goodyear and the maker of Vantage Cigarettes for trademark infringement, funded development of the W8, Vector’s definitive model of the 1980s and early 1990s. More closely akin to a contemporary endurance-racing machine than a road car, the W8 featured aggressively wedge-shaped aluminium bodywork with upward-tilting doors and an overall design theme reminiscent of the Marcello Gandini-designed Bertone Carabo show car of 1968. A mid-mounted, Chevrolet-derived 6.0-litre V-8 engine supplied power, rated at 625 hp with fuel injection and twin turbochargers, while a three-speed automatic transmission (which can also be controlled manually) provided reliable shifts.



Despite the promise of the W8, boardroom power struggles, inadequate capitalisation and a deep and painful recession conspired to halt production in 1992, with estimates of 22 units ultimately built. With extremely low mileage from new, this Midnight Blue/black example comes from the Hooper Corporate Collection and has been on display since new as on of the prized exhibits in the Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim, Germany. It is in superb, virtually brand-new condition, just the way it left the factory – a wonderful example of the vehicle described by Motor Trend as “America’s Forgotten Supercar.” It is remarkably easy to drive and handles superbly well. It is very well equipped with multi-functional Recaro seats and a very advanced stereo system. From its radical semi-monocoque aluminium chassis to its sinister bodywork and cockpit reminiscent of contemporary fighter aircraft and bar graph instrumentation, the W8 will doubtless continue to provoke discussion wherever it is displayed.



DOCUMENTS:

Jersey Vehicle Registration Document

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. He is a life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

jonathan@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more