The Vector W8 is an American supercar produced from 1990 to 1993. It was manufactured by Vector Aeromotive Corporation, and was designed by Gerald Wiegert and David Kostka. The company utilized the newest and most advanced aerospace materials in building the W8s, which they said justified applying to the car the term "Aeromotive Engineering." Just 19 W8s were produced (17 customer cars and two pre-production cars, the prototype W2, and the two prototypes Avtech AWX3 and AWX3R, each with a mock up of a 7.0 liter DOHC TT engine). A total of 22 automobiles were produced by Vector Aeromotive over the life of the company. The car originally sold for $448,000 new, however on today's used market, they are available from $389,000 to well over $1.4 million depending on the condition of the car.
The W8 was essentially an upgrade of the same company's earlier prototype, the Vector W2. The semi-aluminum monocoque chassis was epoxy bonded and riveted with an aluminum honeycomb floor pan, and 5,000 aircraft specification rivets were used in the car's assembly. Everything on the Vector was designed to last the life of the owner, assuming reasonable maintenance. The body was made largely of lightweight carbon fiber and Kevlar, known for its strength, and lightness. The car's level of fit and finish was well beyond that of its competitors. The car was based around a Rodeck resleevable, modified Chevrolet 350 ci (5.7 L) V8 racing engine coupled to very highly modified re-manufactured General Motors based three-speed transmissions that had been used in front wheel drive Oldsmobile Toronados dating back some two decades. The engine had twin intercooled turbochargers, and produced an advertised 650 bhp (485 kW) at 5700 rpm and 649 lb·ft (880 N·m) of torque on 8 lbs of boost. Boost levels were driver adjustable between 8 and 14 lbs and during dyno testing at the factory the engine put out 1200 bhp at 14 lbs of boost.
Performance & Aerodynamics
The W8 had an estimated top speed of over 220 mph (354 km/h), with an acceleration of 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.2 seconds. However, in testing at the Bonneville Salt Flats, the W-2 prototype reached 242 mph (389 km/h) with the less powerful Donovan block, as reported by Top Wheels magazine. This top speed was reached while still using the "high downforce" rear wing. Later aerodynamic testing further honed efficiency, bringing the car's drag coefficient (Cd.) down to just .32 prior to Department of Transportation crash testing in Ann Arbor, MI. The W8 design included subtle changes to the body during the production run, so that the initial car off the line looked slightly different from the last. These include the elimination of some gills, a lower front fascia and air splitter, revised rear wing, mirror intakes, and front grill. After undisclosed top speed testing was completed, production Vector W8s were no longer fitted with a removable glass roof due to buffeting that occurred at extreme speeds. Road & Track magazine published tests of the W8 in its March 1991 and August 1992 issues, and inaccurately declared the Vector W8 the fastest production car in the world, outperforming Ferrari, Lamborghini, and most other exotic supercars of the early 1990s (with the exception of the McLaren F1). Road & Track magazine listed an estimated top speed of 218 mph in the March 1991 issue, though no EPA/DOT certified W8 model ever reached 200 mph as disclosed recently by Gerry Weigert. Following the Road & Track August 1992 testing, the magazine's "Road Test Summary" section listed the top speed as 218 mph highlighted in bold type though it was missing a footnote to indicate that it was only an estimate and continued to declare the W8 as the fastest production car for a number of years to follow. Without EPA compliance, using higher boost levels, the W8s are very capable of speed in excess of 218 mph.
Predecessor: Vector W2
Successor: Vector WX-3
Vector intended to follow the W8 with the AWX-3 and AWX-3R. These designations stood for Avtech Wiegert Experimental, 3rd generation, the R standing for Roadster. Unfortunately series production never got off the ground. Production of the W8 ended in 1993, when the company was subject to a hostile takeover by Megatech, but Wiegert won back the design copyrights, equipment, and remaining unsold cars. In 1995, following the hostile takeover, the new parent company Megatech LTD began production of their first car, the Vector M-12.