1990 Vector W8

Vehicle Profiles

1990 Vector W8 vehicle information

Coupe
Designer: Gerald Wiegert

The Vector W8 was an attempt to make an American supercar to compete with Ferrari and Lamborghini. It is powered by a twin-turbo all aluminum 365 cubic inch V8, coupled to a modified GM transmission. At the time of a Car and Driver test, they obtaine....[continue reading]

Coupe
 

History

^America's Forgotten Supercar' according to Motor Trend, the Vector W8 featured a radical semi-monocoque aluminum chassis with aggressive bodywork, a cockpit that seemed like it came straight from an airplane, and bar graph instrumentation. A true supercar, the Vector W8 was introduced in 1990 by Vector Aeromotive Corporation and designed by Gerald Wiegert and David Kostka. Produced until 1993 the W8 was created with the newest and most advanced aerospace materials, which was justified by the Corporation with the term 'Aeromotive Engineering.' During the life of the company only 22 units were produced, with just 19 of these being W8's, and two prototypes Avtech AWX3 and AWX3R.

The W8 was the replacement of the earlier W2, and featured a semi-aluminum monocoque chassis that was epoxy bonded and riveted with an aluminum honeycomb floorplan. 5,000 aircraft specification rivets were used in the W8's assembly. The W8 was created to withstand the test of time and last the life of the owner, reliably. The body of the W8 was composed of lightweight carbon fiber and Kevlar, which was known for its lightness and strength.

The interior of the W8 was incredibly modern for 1992 and included leather-wrapped seats with serious bolsters with the necessary controls built directly onto them. (This feature was a necessity since the cockpit didn't have a center console.) The W8 also came with a 10-disc CD changer and a stereo system.

The W8 had a 2-speed automatic that could be easily shifted like a manual when desired and the gear selector was mounted to the left of the driver. The W8 featured an electroluminescent display monitored the vehicles vital systems with an enormous amount of switches and buttons that turned the interior into an airplane-like cockpit with reconfigurable displays. The W8's side mirrors were oriented in a downward directed to that the well-engineered beltline remained the unaltered. The aerodynamic drag-reducing tricks was one of the main reasons this amazing car was able to reach a top speed over 200 mph.

Compared to its competitors, the W8 was a worthy adversary and based around a Rodeck re-sleevable, modified Chevrolet 350 ci (5.7 L) V8 racing engine mated to a custom three-speed transmission. Producing an advertised 650 bhp (485 kW) at 5700 rpm and 649 lb/ft of torque on 8 pounds of boost and the engine had twin turbochargers. Between 8 and 14 pounds during dyno testing at the factor the boost levels were driver adjustable and the engine put out 1200 bhp at 14 pounds of boost.

Riding on a 103.0-inch wheelbase, the W8 had a front track of 63.0 inches, a rear track of 65.0 inches, an overall length of 172 inches, a width of 76 inches and a height of 42.5 inches. Able to achieve 0-60mph in just 4.2 seconds, the Vector W8 had a top speed of more than 220 mph, at a time with Ferrari and Lamborghini were struggling to hit more than 200 mph. Testing at the Bonneville Salt Flats with the W-2 prototype yielded a top speed of 242 mph with the less powerful Donovan block, according to Top Wheels magazine.

During the production run the W8 design underwent minor updates to the body that made the first car off the line slightly different from the final car. These modifications included the elimination of some gills, an updated rear wing, a low front fascia and air splitter, modified mirror intakes and front grille. Once the top speed testing was completed, production W8's weren't fitted with a removable glass roof anymore since extreme speeds caused buffeting. In March 1991 and August 1992 Road & Track magazine published tests of the W8 and remarked favorably on the car declaring it the fastest production car in the world, outperforming Lamborghini, Ferrari and a variety of other exotic early 1991 supercars. The McLaren F1 being the only supercar to outperform the W8.

The W8 came with a hefty pricetag of $448,000 new, though it was initially promised at around $225,000. The Vector W8 was one of the most expensive vehicles on the road by the time the car reached customers. In today's used market they could sell from $389,000 to $1.4 million depending on the vehicles condition. Sales were slow and the unfortunate press from the Andre Agassi story (where he wasn't supposed to drive a pre-production model and did, which led to an overheating car, negative publicity and a full refund for Agassi) negatively impacted the Vector W8. The Vector struggled for several more year until it went out of production after a reported 19 models were made, 17 customer cars and two pre-production test vehicles.

Plans were made to succeed the W8 with the AWX-3 and AWX-3R, which stood for Avtech Wiegert Experimental, 3rd generation, and R for Roadster. But unfortunately for Vector, the series production never materialized due to boardroom power struggles, inadequate capitalization and a painful recession and production of the W8 halted in 1993 during a hostile takeover by Megatech. Wiegert did win back the design copyrights, equipment and remaining unsold vehicles however. The new parent company Megatech LTD began production of their first car, the M12 in 1995 after the hostile takeover.

A red Vector W8's made its official TV debut in episode 15 of the 1990 tv series The Flash. A red 1991 W8 was used in the 1993 movie Rising Sun, and also appears in the video game Grand Turismo 2.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vector_W8
http://www.petrolicious.com/why-you-should-care-about-the-insane-vector-w8
http://www.topspeed.com/cars/vector/1992-vector-w8-ar943.html#main
http://www.rmauctions.com/lots/lot.cfm?lot_id=568153

By Jessica Donaldson
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