Sunday, April 03, 2011

Vector W8 super-gallery

Jan. 6, 1990: A teenage boy (me) goes to the Los Angeles Auto Show, gawks at a Vector on display, and takes a picture of it.

1992: Some guy invents the internet.

Oct. 30, 2010: I post the 1990 picture on this blog.

Nov. 1, 2010: J, a German Vector fanatic, tells me that there is a yellow Vector near me.  He puts me in touch with the owner.

Today: I visit that yellow Vector.

I heard the Vector before I saw it.  The low V8 rumble does not sound like anything I've heard before.  The scissor door opens and Tony, the proud owner, jumps out and greets me.

The first thing I notice is the unusual three wiper configuration.

 Only 19 W8s were made.  This is No. 12.  This is the only yellow W8.  Gerald Wiegert, the genius behind Vector, only wanted dark colors on his babies-- he likened the car to the stealth fighter.  He refused to paint them in bold colors like yellow.  The original owner (Tony is the third) wanted his car yellow so he ordered it during the week that Wiegert was out of the office.  As Wiegert was not present to veto the request, we ended up with this yellow W8.

  The buttons and information monitor are out of this world.

Jump to 1:50 to see the electo-luminescent display in action.

Tony tells me that a few Vectors' screens have completely gone kaput.  His screen, for the most part, works just fine.

 Yep.  That's ostrich.

 The top of the dash is covered with suede.

 Over the years, Tony has been able to identify the source of 80% of the parts on the car.  The third brake light is from an old Toyota.

This example has around 7,000 miles.  Tony believes this and another W8 in Japan get driven the most by their owners.

 This beast is WIIIDE.

 315/40ZR16s are in the back.  You can't buy these anymore.  Tony has another set in his garage, which he will use when absolutely necessary.  The only other alternative is racing slicks.

Man, this brings back fond memories.  I did a Google search on this model CD changer and the first result is a post from another Vector owner looking for a replacement to put in his car.

Reader Alan wanted to know how the car handles.  Tony says it's obviously a fast car-- it'll do over 200. "But it's got an automatic...let's just say I'd rather take the curves in my Testarossa."  Well said.

Does that answer your question, Alan?

 Tony is more proud of the aesthetics of his engine than anything else about the car.

Thanks again, Tony, for sharing your beautiful and rare machine!


Alan said...

Thanks so much for the photos, really appreciate it. It's funny how he answered my question regarding handling (again, thanks!) with a reference to the car being an automatic - not knowing I posed the question with that very fact being the reason I assumed it didn't handle well.

Maybe not a great car, but a damn interesting one - just as Chris Harris recently suggested in EVO mag's MP4-12C test (verdict: astonishing and revolutionary but maybe too good), perhaps it's the inherent flaws of exotics that makes us love them, and what's more flawed than a Vector?

MattC said...

Thank you for posting this. I have always been kind of fond of the Vector. However, the story behind the company really fascinates me. A driven man wants to start his own car company, a long gestation period follows (investor dollars dry up and customers wait an eternity for their vehicles),the company files for Ch. 11 and bought out by an Indonesian firm who replaced the engine with Lamborghini mills and sell a couple more. The original owner buys back the name and I think is still trying to produce another new model.

BTW, what are the buttons for(1,2,3,4) by the driver's door sill?

Maxichamp said...

@Alan, MattC: My pleasure. Any other cars you want coverage (and close-up shots) of? I aim to please.

@MattC: I don't know but I will check for you. Check back for an answer. I've asked J, the Vector guru.

Maxichamp said...

@MattC: Right in front of the shifter are four buttons for the display unit. You push the buttons to see the oil temp, exhaust gas temp, speedo, tach, etc.

MattC said...

@kashgar216: Thanks for the quick response. My wish list is for more information on Qvale, Panoz, Jenson, Bitter,Morgan etc. I am fascinated with small niche companies that bring cars to the market. The approach Panoz uses is quite brilliant. (engines, wiring looms,major ancillary components sourced from Ford) grafted to custom chassis.

The weather is starting to turn warmer here, so weekend car shows will resume in short order. If I find anything, I will be sure to forward it to you. Thanks for the blog. It is one of the few I check daily.

Maxichamp said...

@MattC: Funny you should mention Panoz. I was planning a Deep South trip using my frequent flyer miles to visit the BMW factory in SC, the Panoz factory in GA, and the microcar museum in GA. But since the miles are with Southwest, it may be a while. I'm scared.

I think Mr. Qvale is from the Bay Area. I'll do a little digging. I think Bitter is my favorite small-mfr.

What part of the country are you from?

Alan said...

This might be a stretch but, Bugatti EB110? That car fascinates me on many levels; as a mechanical masterpiece, as a highly-developed and world-beating yet ultimately orphaned car, its (IMO) superb and unconventional style, its pioneering use of composites, the incredible abandoned factory and Artioli Romano's plans for world supercar domination, and also as the only successor to the the great Bugatti name that is in line with Ettore's original "pur sang" ethos.

Edvin said...

Amazing stuff. Thanks for posting!

Maxichamp said...

@Alan and MattC: EB110?! I'll do my best. In the mean time, I'm working on something MattC requested.

Alan said...

Hey man, if you're gonna dream, dream big. You've driven an XM and photographed a Vector, so I know if anyone has the luck and resources to make it happen, it's you ;)

The Bitter is a very cool car and I'm definitely looking forward to that feature.

Mad Mike B. said...

I saw this car a few years ago on a flatbed truck, goung the opposite direction on the freeway by my house. Knowing how rare Vectors are, I was shocked! Then just last night on my way to my softball game, I saw it on the street. Awesome car! My two favorite Vectors are this one, and the white one. Though Gerry only wanted them in dark colors, I think the light colors show off their lines and form the best.

Unknown said...

I just saw this car at my shop yesterday, on a trucker, headed to New Jersey... Must have sold again! I saw it from underneath, but knew what it was right away... it was dripping oil from it's Napa WIX dual oil filters... Interesting car and company... Maybe they will make another....