Buy This Purple 1991 Vector W8 Twin Turbo and Win Radwood
Because seriously, what else can top this?
The last two decades of the 20th century were no stranger to otherworldly cars. Think about the Ferrari Mythos concept, the Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary model, and myriad body-kitted tuner Porsches from the likes of Gemballa, RUF, and DP. But if you really wanted to turn heads in front of the best cocaine-soaked clubs in Los Angeles or Miami, what you needed was a Vector W8 Twin Turbo.
Vector Motors (later renamed Vector Aeromotive) was founded in 1978 just down the street from coastal Long Beach, California—home of the Long Beach Grand Prix road race—in the scruffy, industrial town of Wilmington. Neighboring businesses were junkyards and strip clubs, but out of the doors of Vector founder Gerald Wiegert's shop, cars were being built that blew the automotive world's collective mind. The W8 was Wiegert's first true production car, evolving from the previous W2 model which never made it past the prototype stage following more than 100,000 miles of development testing. Just 17 W8s were said to have been produced between 1989 and 1993 (plus two prototypes), each with an aluminum 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine built by Rodeck.
Power was claimed to be adjustable based on various factors, including boost pressure, and while the car's official output was listed at 625 horsepower and 649 lb-ft, Vector claimed that as much as 1,200 horsepower was possible. This a a time when the contemporary Lamborghini Diablo was producing well under 500 horses. A likely power bottleneck was the transmission, a modified GM Turbo-Hydramatic three-speed slushbox that had previously seen duty in the Oldsmobile Toronado in the 1970s. Michelin supplied the 16-inch tires (255 width up front and a massive 315 width in the rear), Koni supplied shock absorbers, and Alcon aluminum four-piston brakes were found at all four corners. Vector backed up the W8's fighter-jet styling with some serious performance claims: zero to 60 mph in around four seconds and a top speed of 242 mph.
This 1991 Vector W8 is amazingly being consigned by its original owner, who ordered the car new in 1989 for some $178,000, or about $60,000 less than the aforementioned Lamborghini Diablo's base price at launch. True to form, the car arrived in the owner's garage about a year later than anticipated, in 1991, and came equipped with Recaro seats, a Sony 10-CD stereo system, and a removable sunroof. Aircraft-grade parts include an Airpath compass and a Hobbs instrument that monitors the number of running hours on the engine. Various documents, a tool pouch, and even a Vector-produced VHS tape about the car's features are all included.
While Vector cars have been the proverbial black sheep of the car-collecting world for a long time, with the youngest members of Generation X and the oldest millennials hitting their financial stride, values are on the rise. Last year, RM Sotheby's sold two Vector prototypes, a WX-3 and WX-3R owned by Wiegert himself, for $621,000 and $504,000, respectively. This 1991 W8 has just 2,268 miles on its odometer and is being offered without reserve, with an estimate of $300,000 to $450,000. Be sure to check back with us next week as we cover the Scottsdale collector-car auctions live and find out how this Vector did.