Like something straight out of Blade Runner, the Vector W8 looks like a sci-fi supercar in the most old-school ways. It’s one of those cars that are disproportionately famous and well-known when considering how few were produced and once you get to understand the W8, it all becomes clear as to why that is.
Only around 20 examples were produced from 1989-1993, all of which came from the Vector Aeromotive factory in Los Angeles. The reception of this oddity was not all good, with tennis player Andre Agassi famously returning his model due to rear carpeting burning from the exhaust and Car and Driver reporting that they were unable to complete their review of the car due to all three models provided breaking down.
In fairness, it’s never easy to be different and the Vector W8 was different in so many spectacular ways, many of which led to its many flaws. For example, the W8 had a modified three-speed automatic transmission based on a General Motors Oldsmobile transmission from twenty years prior, yet was still able to accelerate from 0-60mph in about 4.2 seconds and had an estimated (by Road & Track magazine) top speed of around 218mph.
The W8 had a claimed power output of 625hp (roughly 200hp more than the Countach) coming from a 6.0-litre Rodeck twin-turbocharged V8 racing engine (not a W8 engine, despite the name). Boost pressure from the turbos was adjustable with a dial in the ‘cockpit’ and ranged from 8 to 14 psi, with Vector’s own dyno factory testing reporting a maximum power output of 1,200bhp with boost cranked all the way up.
Throughout the very limited production of this wonderfully weird car, things were added and subtracted as adjustments were made along the way. This meant that the first car that left the production line would look slightly different to the last one, with things such as the removable glass sunroof being discontinued as well as various aero changes taking places such as the changes to the front splitter, grille and other parts.
Now, of course, you can’t talk about the W8 without talking about the styling. Sitting incredibly low to the ground at just 42 inches high, the W8 is about as low as any supercar within reason should be. From the back, it looks like a spacecraft that’s just landed on Earth and from the front, it could be mistaken for a fighter jet thanks to Vector Aeromotive’s aerodynamic and somewhat aerial theme/philosophy.
Rear visibility is virtually non-existent thanks to the ‘slit’ that acted as the rear window, with the large rear wing not helping either. The rear wheels were 16 inches and 315mm wide, which is problematic as there are virtually no tyre manufacturer that makes that size. The wing mirrors are scoop-shaped and the windows are curved with a hatch-type opening system like in racing cars.
On the front, there’s a huge air vent to help suck the car to the road which sits betweeen what you would think be a pair of pop-up headlights but in fact, the covers retract into the body to reveal the lights, making them pop-down headlights in a way.
On the inside, the driver can see the most Blade Runner-esque part of the car, the computer screen. This is where all the driver info can be found such as speed and revs but all of it is displayed in what can only be described as a user interface that would be found on the Nostromo from the film Alien, along with enough buttons to confuse a veteran pilot.
Considering only around 20 were made, one would expect this car to slip into the realm of obscurity over time. On the contrary, the Vector W8 has maintained its legacy as a well-known cool and wonderfully weird supercar of the late 80s/early 90s.
Let us know what you think of it, in the comments below.
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