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Classic Cars

Vector W8; One of the most unusual cars ever designed

Before you say that looks like a movie car, it is a real production car. Dreamt up by Gerald Wiegert in the 1970s, it didn’t reach production until 1989, and even then, only 22 were produced. Designed to be the ultimate fighter jet-inspired supercar, the W8 used a lot of aerospace technologies in the process. For example, it used an epoxy-bonded aluminum monocoque on a honeycomb floorpan. It also used carbon fiber and Kevlar for the body panels.

Powering the W8 wasn’t just any old engine- it was a full blown racing engine. It’s often said they used a GM engine, and while the engine may share components, it was pretty unique. It used a 6.0L aluminum twin-turbo V8 built by Rodeck for drag racing. The transmission used was a heavily modified GM Turbo-Hydramatic 425 3-speed automatic. The engine produced a lot of power for 1989- 625 horsepower at 5700 RPM and 649 LB-FT at 4900 RPM. This was limited. The driver could adjust between 8 PSI and 14 PSI of boost and it’s said that while on 14 PSI, the car could be making as much as 1200 HP.

The interior was ridiculous as well. Also fighter-jet inspired, some controls were actually pulled from fighter jets. The door sills are so wide that the seats are pushed towards the center, like a jet, and the sills are so wide that they house the transmission lever on the sill. Advanced for the time, it had digital readouts for information. And unlike today’s racecars for the road, the interior is actually comfortable. However, to save weight, it lacks ABS and power steering.

According to Vector, the W8 could do a mind-blowing 242 miles per hour and achieve 0–60 in 3.9 seconds. The prototype, named the W2 achieved 242 mph using a less powerful engine. Car and Driver managed to hit 0–60 in 3.8 seconds, a 12.0-second quarter mile and a top speed of 218 mph using a defective car. These were incredible acceleration stats and top speeds for the time, especially considering the slow automatic transmission.

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