A Thumbnail History of Spyker

Spyker History

1880 Jacobus and Hendrik-Jan Spijker began coachbuilding operations in Hilversum, Holland.

1895 Now a Benz agent, the Spijker enterprise altered the German-made cars to suit their tastes.

1898 The Golden Carriage still in use by Dutch royalty was manufactured at the Spijker works.

1900 The first true Spijker automobile design was powered by an air-cooled flat-twin engine producing 5 horsepower and driving the rear wheel by a shaft.

1902 A 20-hp four-cylinder car was introduced.

1903 The awkward Spijker company name was changed to Spyker. The Spyker 60 was the first car in history with a six-cylinder engine, four-wheel drive, and four-wheel brakes.

1913 Electric lighting became available and was made standard equipment two years later.

1914 A Spyker sports car was capable of 68 mph. Spyker adopted a slogan " Nulla tenaci invia est via (for the tenacious, no road is impassable) slogan still in use today.

1914-18 Spyker manufactured 200 engines and 100 aircraft under license throughout World War I providing the historical underpinnings for the current company's wire-spoke wheel and propeller trademark.

1925 Post-World War I struggles obtaining raw materials and achieving a reasonable sales volume resulted in the original Spyker's demise after producing no more than 2000 cars.

1999 Dutch entrepreneur Victor Muller and industrial designer Maarten de Bruijn revived the Spyker name and established company headquarters in Zeewolde, Netherlands.

2000 Production of the Spyker C8 commenced after a debut at the Birmingham Motor Show. A 4.2-liter Audi V-8 engine producing 394 hp yielded a top speed of 185 mph.

2003 A Spyker C8 Double 12 R finished 10th in class and 30th overall at LeMans.

2005 When Maarten de Bruijn left the organization, design responsibilities were assumed by Muller. The Mubadala Development Company, an investment firm owned by the Abu Dhabi government, purchased a 17-percent stake in Spyker. Mubadala also owns 5-percent of Ferrari. Spyker models were approved for sale in the US thanks to waivers granted by NHTSA. 2006 At the Geneva Motor Show, Spyker announced its D12 Peking-to-Paris high-performance SUV powered by a 6.0-liter W-12 engine which entered production the following year. Spyker also purchased Midland F1 Racing for $106.6-million from Russian businessman Alex Shnaider, competing in the final three races of this season as the Spyker MF1 Team.

2007 At the Japanese Grand Prix, Spyker driver Adrian Sutil earned one championship point with an eighth-place finish. Shortly thereafter, the race organization-now labeled the Etihad Aldar Spyker Formula One Team--was sold to manager Michiel Mol and Indian billionaire Dr. Vijay Mallya and the equipe was renamed Force India. The remaining competition effort, called Spyker Squadron, still campaigns international distance races with modified C8 models. A Spyker C8 Spyder played a supporting role in the Lionsgate movie War staring Jet Li and Jason Stratham.

2008 Spyker sold 42 sports cars.

2009 After negotiations between the Koenigsegg Group and GM to purchase Saab broke down in November, Spyker took up the cause. GM announced near the end of the year that the wind-down of Saab operations had begun. GM CEO announced, selling Saab would be "real easy. Just show up with the money and you can have it. Nobody's come up with the money." During the first half of 2009, Spyker sold 21 cars.

2010 A major sticking point in the negotiations was the involvement by major investor Alexander Antonov who has unsavory connections to organized crime and money laundering. After Dutch billionaire Marcel Bokhoorn stepped in to take over Antov's stake, the way was clear and a deal worth $400-million ($74-million in cash, $326-million in preferred shares of Saab) was struck between Spyker and GM. The Swedish government agreed to back up to $550-million in loans for Saab through the European Investment bank. GM signed on to continue supplying powertrains and engineering services for an unspecified period.

Current To earn a profit, the new Saab Spyker Automobiles organization must sell 100,000 cars per annum according to Muller. Sales for 2010 are estimated at about half that rate (versus 39,903 cars worldwide in 2009). Developing a new Saab 9-3 to sell with the current 9-5 will cost approximately $500-million according to industry experts.

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