The Vector W2/W8 - (1980/1990)
In 1980, Jerry Wiegart founded a visionary car company known today as Vector Motors. Wiegart, a young and upcoming designer, was inspired heavily by aircraft, spacecraft, and aero-engineering. Wiegart also wondered why American car companies had yet to enter the world of exotics, a world dominated by the Europeans. Vector’s W2 model, dubbed as “Aircraft for the Street” would be their grand entrance into that market. The W2, true to the word “Vector” shot for the moon and back. Its statistics even by today’s standards would strike fear into the hearts of most drivers. A Donovan tuned Chevy 5.7 liter V8 with twin turbos produced over 600hp. This catapulted the car to an estimated top speed of 242mph, leaving it to be the worlds fastest production car at the time.
The g-force didn't only live on in the engine bay, it continued throughout the car. Taken directly from aircraft were many toggles, switches, and gauges. These were not just for show but were actually fully functional via an onboard computer. This allowed the driver to customize and view many of the cars capabilities at once, a first for its time. A heads up display inspired by fighter jets would also be projected onto the windshield so that the driver could see MPH as well as RPM’s and other statistics. Other notables were the Millennium Falcon style shifter that sat on the left side of the driver and the automatic louvered style headlights.
The W2 sold for an asking price of $150,000, in todays money, that is the equivalent of $350,000. With such a steep price, it was difficult for Wiegart to find buyers. However, he maintained his price, noting that it was needed for further development of future models. The W2 never sold, but through a lofty PR campaign, Wiegart raised money to create and develop the W8 in 1989. The W8 was the successor to the W2 and was designed with more rounded styling cues. Other changes saw a few of the airplane switches and gauges replaced in favor of a “Knight Rider” style monochrome computer screen and an upgraded 6.0 liter V8. Only 17 of these W8’s were ever produced, but for those eager to live on in the 1980s dream, it can be yours….. for a price. At true dream car pricing, the most recent example sold at auction last year for $250,000. Not bad for the first true American exotic.