Some top U.S. sports cars hold such a title because they’re carefully balanced, well-considered in their design, perfectly executed, popular, stylish by conventional standards, and nostalgic.
The Vector W8 is none of those things. If Italian Lamborghinis are the gold standard of what it means to craft an incredulous, ridiculous, superfluous (and other -ouos) supercar, then the Vector W8 blows that standard away.
We’ll let the photos of this strange machine do the talking for a moment:
See? It’s almost stupid. Almost. But really, it isn’t because it incorporates some of the most advanced aerospace materials in its construction, in a semi-monocoque chassis. For example, the floor pan is made of an aluminum honeycomb, while the body panels are epoxy bonded carbon fiber and Kevlar to reduce the weight that steel, welds, and rivets would suffer.
What may be most insane and impressive about the Vector is its performance. With just 8 pounds of boost being pumped out by its twin inter-cooled turbos, the W8’s 365 cubic-inch motor produced 625 horses and 650 torques at the wheel. That’s certainly over the top for any 90’s supercar, but it gets better.
Drivers could adjust the boost and crank it up to 14 pounds. This allowed the Vector to churn over 1,200 horses. Yes, the same amount of horsepower as a Bugatti Veyron. Handling all this power was a heavily modified Turbo Hydro 425 transmission, pulled from the archaic Oldsmobile Tornado of two decades’ past. The Vector W8 managed 242 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats, using an engine that was not final design – it had less power than the finished product.
Inside, the Vector W8 was a continuous game of insanity. You couldn’t find more buttons in any other car, and the entire cockpit was unusually centered: The driver’s seat is actually pushed in from the door around 8” to 10”, with the steering wheel just barely off the center of the console itself. The driver’s seat is also slightly canted inward, so one is never truly facing directly straight whilst driving.
Editors and reviewers praised the Vector W8 with high regard, citing it as America’s first true, properly excessive yet expertly designed supercar.