Considering the hours that go into making this car by hand, where each model is fashioned according to the tastes of its buyer, a starting price of $214,990 for the Getrag six-speed manual-equipped version isn't so bad. The aircraft-style switches in the turned aluminum dash cost $50 each, and there's plenty of them-including an ignition switch under a red flap, as if the driver is about to power up a jet fighter. There's a pleasure to be had in such rituals. The interior is decidedly ornate, with swathes of fine leather and details only found in a Spyker, like the exposed gearchange mechanism or the hand-stitched steering wheel logo.
Attention to detail is just as obsessive-compulsive on the outside: the company motto, Nulla tenaci invia est via (For the tenacious, no road is impassable)‚ is engraved into the aluminum tips of the twin exhaust pipes. And those 19-inch turbine-design alloy wheels do more than just look good-they have a cooling effect on the AP Racing braking system. Talking of brakes, the Aileron is the first Spyker to have power-assisted stoppers, along with ABS and electronic brakeforce distribution.
The whole car is kind of a cross between a Lotus Elise and a Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Once the options and accessories come piling in, the final price might even make the Sultan of Brunei blink. For $17,500 comes an audio system upgrade from the Kharma (another rare Dutch high-end company) Reference to the Grand Reference. Or how about the Chronoswiss package where the switches and dials are fashioned in the style of this expensive (is there any other kind?) Swiss watch brand? Just $9,500. And there's a bespoke four-piece set of Louis Vuitton luggage for a mere $22,500. For that money, they need to be designed by St. Christopher himself and sewn together by angels. But someone who buys a car from a company that only makes 75 examples a year obviously doesn't mind paying for exclusivity.
A Spyker owner joins a select club where he or she will be invited to various gala events throughout the year like Pebble Beach and the Monaco Grand Prix. Muller seems to know every car the company has built by their serial numbers. He'll talk fondly of, say, 134 like it was an old friend. Strangely enough, cars made by hand do seem to have more of a soul about them.
As wonderful as they are, the big car names like Lamborghini, Bugatti and so on are familiar; we know their design language inside out. A Spyker really is something different. This coupe and the upcoming open-top C8 Aileron Spyder (which will bear a $25,000 premium) could well see Spyker's coming of age, where it takes its place among the pantheon of desirable marques, the car that puts the Spyker name on the general public's mental map. Let's hope that pesky recession passes soon.
A potted history of Spyker
What do martial arts film star Jet Li and the late Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands have in common? They've both been transported by Spyker vehicles. Good Queen Billie waved from a golden carriage at her 1898 coronation (which is still rolled out for special occasions) made by Jacobus and Hendrik-Jan Spijker, and leaping Li enjoyed a Spyker C8 Spyder in the chop/kick/shoot-em-up movie, "War." Because, y'know, his character was a shadowy underground figure who didn't want to draw attention to himself and must have thought a Toyota Camry was too showy.
2010 Spyker C8 Aileron Coupe
Longitudinal mid engine, rear-wheel drive
4.2-liter V8, dohc, 24-valve
Getrag six-speed manual; optional ZF six-speed automatic
Double wishbones, Bilstein coilovers, Eibach springs, Lotus tuning
AP Racing four-piston calipers (f & r), 14-inch cross-drilled and ventilated rotors
(f), 13-inch cross-drilled and ventilated rotors (r)
Wheelbase: 107.3 in.
Dry Weight: 3142 lb
400 hp @ 6800 rpm
354 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm
0-60 mph: 4.5 sec.
Top Speed: 187 mph