Part of my weekend grocery shopping ritual includes a trip to the local toy stores to search for any cars that I may want to add to my collection. With all of the websites I read and the press releases I get in my mailbox, I’m usually pretty aware of what to expect to find on the pegs and just hope to find the one or two cars I don’t have yet. Today, I was happily surprised to find a Vector W8 as part of Hot Wheels’ Boulevard series.
The Vector is one of the key cars from my childhood dream garage. Like all other boys, I already loved the Lamborghini Countach and had one of those ubiquitous posters of that car up in my room. The wedge shape of the Countach spoke of the future and the flying cars that all commuters would someday be using to get to the office. Employing a similar wedge shape, the Vector was regularly featured in my dad’s car magazines. The Vector stood out by promising exotic styling and record breaking performance from an American manufacturer.
As much as I love cars bearing the bulls and horses of Italy, I get even more excited when thinking about something exotic coming from the country of my birth. Add in the fact the Vector is the product of a single man’s dreams and I have a hard time thinking of anything more desirable. There is an endless supply of dreamers that share sketches and ideas for their super car but Gerald Wiegert has been working to make his dream a reality since 1971.
Wiegert introduced a prototype of the Vector at the 1972 Los Angeles Auto Show. It took until 1979 for the W2 to become the first running Vector with a claimed top speed of 230 mph. Prospective buyers had to wait until 1989 until they could buy the Vector W8.
Costing up to $455,000, only 17 examples of the W8 were produced. One of them was purchased by Andre Agassi who demanded delivery as quickly as possible. Wiegert made the mistake of delivering an incomplete car to the tennis superstar which established the reputation for poor build quality. The poor reputation of the cars along with the high price lead to the discontinuation of production just three years after it started.
Still dreaming of making the great American supercar, Wiegert was ready with a new prototype, the WX-3 for the 1993 Geneva Auto Show. Sadly, his company was bought out by the Indonesian company, Megatech (the same company that owned Lamborghini from 1994 to 1998) and the WX-3 never went into production.
Megatech went on to build 14 Lamborghini powered Vector M12s. Where Road & Track had described the W8 as “fairly civilized”, Jeremy Clarkson described the M12 as one of the worst cars he had ever driven.
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Megatech is gone and Wiegert has the rights to the Vector back in his name. He displayed a prototype of the WX-8 at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show and the Vector Motors home page promises a terrifying top speed of over 275 mph. Wiegert has proven his persistence and I expect that we may see production within this decade.
Until the new cars are released, the W8 is the best example of Wiegert’s vision that a collector can look for. The last one I saw for sale, was at RM Auction’s Automobiles of London auction in 2010 where a W8 Twin Turbo sold for £179,200. For collectors, like myself, who are satisfied with owning smaller reproductions, there is the Hot Wheels version I mentioned at the beginning, the 1:43 scale model from Spark or the 1:18 scale model from Ricko.