Sophisticated on the outside; unhinged on the inside
By Cam Tait / Wednesday, 30 August 2023 / Loading comments
The mid-2000s were a spectacular time for boutique supercars. This was the era where Pagani hit its stride with the Zonda, Koenigsegg was showing that a ridiculous amount of power can be extracted from a Volvo V8 and, while it’s unlikely you’ve seen one in the UK, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with the Saleen S7 owing to its many, many appearances in racing games.
The decade would also see the arrival of the Spyker C8 Spyder; the first supercar to come out of the Netherlands and the firm’s first production vehicle of any sort since the 1920s. That last point is a bit of a stretch, because the only things the modern-day Spyker shares with the original firm are its country of origin, name, typography and sub-zero cool ‘for the tenacious, no road is impassable’ motto. Old Spyker dabbled in all sorts of engineering projects, such as supplying the Dutch Air Force with fighter planes during World War I. After lying dormant for 70 years, the name was acquired by two wealthy Dutch businessmen – one of whom was the former CEO of Saab – and an ultra-cooler sports car maker was established.
The first car was an awkward-looing prototype, mixing familiar Spyker design cues with the familiar man-in-shed build quality of a low-volume sports car. However, the car was almost unrecognisable when a production model appeared. The C8 Spyder was elegant from some angles, brutal from others. The curvy bodywork lends to a sleek silhouette, with slats around at the base of the front and rear wheel arches adding a touch of aggression. The interior is no less glamorous, with Spyker calling on its aeronautical heritage to deliver a cabin inspired by the cockpits of vintage aircraft and a steering wheel that resembles a propeller.
Should sound like an old aircraft, too, with an Audi-derived 4.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 mounted in the middle that, after some light ECU fettling, was cranked up to 400hp. Not Earth-shattering by today’s lofty standards, but with a spaceframe chassis and body made from aluminium, it only needed to shift 1,200kg. So while a Lamborghini Gallardo had enjoyed a 100hp advantage, the C8 Spyder had it beaten on power-to-weight. Not that they were precision instruments. The word ‘handful’ crops up in several reviews, as does the phrase ‘will easily oversteer’. But that’ll probably just make you want to drive it even more, right…
That’s easier said than done, of course. Spyker has never revealed how many Spyders were produced, but a quick trip to the internet suggests somewhere in the high 200s. Even rarer are right-hand drive examples, of which this 2010 car is one. It’s also fitted with the old-style propeller wheel, which is unusual on a later model as it was replaced by a safer (but more generic) airbag-equipped wheel. C8 Spyders really don’t get much better than this.
‘How much?’ Hoped you wouldn’t ask that. It’s £299,950, which is a near-150 per cent increase on a car that originally cost somewhere in the region of £190,000. That does make it only £50,000 shy of this one-of-15 LM85, but it lacks the C8 Spyder’s sophistication and, more importantly, its propeller steering wheel (I’m sure it means just as much to you as it does to me). For the money, you’re getting an immaculate example with only 3,169 miles on the clock and glistening bodywork that looks every bit as tidy as it did 13 years ago. Maybe the previous owner never experienced just how manic the C8 can be. Which is as good as reason as any to take the plunge.
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