The original Spyker was founded in 1880, as a builder of coaches, cars, and aircraft. Founded by two blacksmiths, the firm came to prominence in 1898 when it built the Golden Coach used for state ceremonies of the Dutch royal family. Impressively, said coach is still in use today. Spyker made news again in 1903 when it built the 60 HP race car, which was the world’s first front-engine, four-wheel-drive car, and the first car ever to feature a six-cylinder engine and four-wheel braking. That car just might be worth its own Rare Rides entry. Eventually, the original Spyker fell on hard times and went bankrupt in 1926.
The brand lie dormant until 1999 when it was rebirthed as Spyker Cars, with the company using the brand’s original 1800s logo. The first prototype built by Spyker was the Silvestris V8 in 1999, which carried many styling ideas that were developed and put into production on the C8 in 2000.
Spyker chose the Birmingham Motor Show in 2000 to debut the C8, which was only available in Spyder guise at launch. Rear-drive and with the engine in the middle, the C8 used Spyker’s own platform had ever-impressive scissor doors. The company did not make its own engine though and chose to buy Audi’s 4.2-liter V8. Depending on how sporty a customer wanted their C8, horsepower ranged from 400 to 620. Power increased in stages from I (400) to V (620). Transmissions on offer were a six-speed manual from Getrag or a six-speed auto from ZF. The C8 was a lightweight car at around 2,900 pounds, which made for an impressive power to weight ratio. Equally impressive was the 0 to 60 time, which in base specification was 4.5 seconds. For a stage V car, that figure dropped to 3.8. Top speed in base convertible guise was 186 miles per hour.
Though it had blistering performance, the C8 was not a stripped-out track conveyance. Interiors were fully carpeted, and otherwise covered in milled aluminum and fine quilted leather (in this instance, in an eye-searing orange). Spyker didn’t borrow its interior parts from other companies, it was all bespoke to Spyker. In 2005 customers paid $269,000 to have a C8 in their drive. The C8 lasted in its original guise from 2000 to 2012 and was supplemented by a coupe version called Laviolette in 2001. Various other versions were introduced along the way, including a long-wheelbase Laviolette in 2008. Spyker still exists today and builds the third-generation C8 Preliator since 2016.
Today’s Rare Ride is a lovely graphite over orange example from 2008. It’s priced upon request in England.