Vector W8

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I’m sorry to say that there was simply no customer demand for this car. The W8 carried an incredibly bold design, power that was not achievable by supercars from Italy and completely exclusive solutions. If I had seen such a supercar on a picture of turbo gum in my childhood, I am sure the wow-effect and manifestation of emotions would have been maximally strong. And if I remember correctly, in the USA by 1989 supercars were not made at all. Yes, – there was a cult Ford GT, but it was purely a racing car. And brands like Saleen, SSC and Hennesey came along 15 to 20 years later.

It was the most powerful, production car from the United States. And honestly, I don’t remember a more powerful, or faster car made in Italy, or Germany. Just think about it, ’89. The Lamborghini Diablo came out only a year later, but it was considerably inferior to the Vector in power. But a Diablo was one of the most powerful cars of its time, and such cars as Ferrari F50 and McLaren F1 appeared much later. The acceleration dynamics of the American supercar was comparable to Ferrari F40 (the main supercar of the 80s). But just imagine – the Vector had a three-speed automatic gearbox! How powerful must a car be to be able to keep up with the best Ferrari of its time on a straightaway with such a gearbox.

Mass production of the central-engine Vector W8 was carried out from ’89 to ’93. The cars were assembled in California at the Vector Aeromotive Corporation. And the man who followed his dream was Gerald Wiegert. He not only worked on the technical part of the W8, but also drew the design for his car. By the way, – the letter W in the name, – is a reference to the name of the head of the company. The number 8 indicates the number of cylinders.

Only 19 of these cars were made, 2 of which were for tests and were not sold, and one car was used for crash-testing. The front and rear of the car were hit at 30 mph. In addition, the car was tested for side impact and rollover.
With its bold design, outstanding technical solutions and small series, the Vector brings to mind the Italian Cizeta V16T. The latter was released in an edition of 20 cars, and like the W8, could not give impetus to the development of the company.

Vector W8 sales and value.

In many ways, the poor sales are due to the too high cost of the car. So in ’89, not the price, but the cost of one W8 was $300,000, which is equivalent to $600,000 today. For comparison, the Diablo that appeared in ’90 cost 240,000 in the US, and Ferrari Testarossa was available for 180,000. The Vector W8 in ’89 cost $455,000.

Appearance and photos.
If I didn’t know for sure that this is an American car, I would definitely think that it was made in Italy. The fact is that the creators of the Vector were inspired by the Italian concept Alfa Romeo Carabo. Of course, the stylistics of the car was greatly influenced by the airplanes of that time. Just look at the Vector W8, – it’s a real F14!

Despite the large number of air intakes, it has a good aerodynamic drag coefficient, Cx = 0.32. With a body length of 4,370 mm, width is 1930 mm (although a lot, but less than the 1967 Chevrolet Impala), wheelbase is 2,615 mm, and height is 1,080 mm. Curb weight is 1,506kg, and it is a car with a very large engine.

The basis of the whole construction was a monocoque made of aluminum honeycombs. Aluminum parts were bolted together with epoxy resin and rivets. The W8 required 5,000 rivets per body. The body panels were made of carbon fiber and kevlar. This is a very expensive material, and it in itself contributes to a significant increase in the cost of the car. But on the Diablo, the body panels are also made of carbon fiber, and the finished car was sold for almost half the price.

In the photo, you can notice the door handles, which have been covered for better aerodynamics. It wasn’t long ago that a similar solution began to be used on modern supercars. Even more wow effect is created by the guillotine type doors. Which at the moment of Vector’s release were already well-known from Lamborghini Countach. It is unusual that such epathetic doors are opened with usual GM key.

But look at the headlights. Here, the headlights don’t go up, as they did on many supercars of the time. In the W8, the panel in front of the headlight was lowered and the headlight beam could illuminate the road. A very interesting solution and I don’t remember seeing it on any other car.

Note the gas tank lid. To open it you need to pull the lever and then twist it. There’s a lock on the lid. I can not imagine someone trying to steal gasoline from a supercar).
Also note – on the driver’s side wiper, not one, but two brushes. I have not met such a solution in any other car.
Michelin made special tires for the American supercar. We are talking about 255/45 ZR16 XGT PLUS tires in the front and 315/40ZR16 in the rear.

Interior and equipment of Vector W8.
Unlike many supercars of the time, the W8 has very good equipment. Comfort-enhancing options complement the paradigm of the three-speed automatic. The supercar from California was equipped with air conditioning, cruise control and heated and electrically operated Recaro leather seats.
You can see how wide the sills are here. The thresholds are so wide that the seats almost rest against each other. Pay attention, – there is absolutely flat floor.

The automatic lever is very unusually located – it is sunk into the wide threshold between the driver’s seat and the door. There are four buttons in front of the automatic transmission lever. At first sight it may seem that they are related to automatic transmission, but in fact they switch the menu on the monitor, located a little to the left of the steering wheel and made in aviation style.

In the first mode, the display informs the driver about; – speed, fuel consumption, engine speed; in the second – engine temperature and oil pressure; in the third – battery voltage and oil temperature in the automatic transmission; in the fourth about; – opening / closing doors and trunk lid and hood ( information is made as a picture). In the same threshold located cigarette lighter and ashtray.

It is very unusual to see a compass in such car. In fact it is not an SUV, but a little bit to the right of the steering wheel it is here. Pay attention to the parking brake lever – it is bent under the bend of the cabin compartment (this solution is also individual and not found in other cars).

The W8 has a very unusual shape of glass. In terms of the area in the door itself there is more glass than carbon fiber. For this reason, as well as – because of the strong bend of the glass – it does not sink into the door. Note the small vent, similar to the ones used in race cars. The window slides backwards, but in Vector it is done with the help. Electric drive.

Despite the very expensive stuffing, from the interior of the W8 you can notice the shiny self-tapping screws that serve to fix the side mirrors. The latter, of course, are equipped with electric motors.
All Vector W8s are equipped with a panoramic roof. From the photo, you can see the speakers of the music system, which are built into the doorways and doors.
By the standards of supercars the luggage compartment is quite roomy – 200 liters. In addition to it, there is a small box for things in front of the car.

Engine and characteristics of the 1990 Vector W8.

The base of the American supercar is an aluminum V8 with a 90-degree block split. The Rodeck engine has a displacement of 365d (6.0L). The cylinder diameter is 4d (101.6mm) and stroke is 3.63d (92.1mm). The compression ratio is 8.0:1.

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