The ‘Forgotten Marque’ series has proven to be fun for me to write about. I love reading, and researching “fringe” cars, and I have enjoyed reliving odd cars like the Sterling, Bricklin, Merkur and and Eagle cars with you. In most cases, information is easy to come by, but in the case of Vector, the story here is a cloudy one.Ã‚Â
The story of Vector can be traced back to 1971, the brainchild of Gerald Weigert. The intent all along was to build a mega-high performance, American-made super-car. My criteria for “Forgotten Marques” is that the car had to have been made available for public consumption. Although the seeds for Vector were planted in 1971, it would not be until 1989 that a customer actually took delivery of a Vector automobile.Ã‚Â
Mr. Weigert took a page from Carroll Shelby’s marketing notebook to keep interest in his concept car, the W2-Same car, different paint. The press had the illusion there were several of these car in pre-production. ‘Ol Shel did the exact same thing with his Cobra.
1989-1993 Vector W8
Sold at a sticker price of $455,000. Vector boasted technology reserved for jet planes. Power came from a Rodeck Racing twin turbo V-8 good for 625hp, coupled to a 3-speed B&M automatic transmission. The W8 was indeed exotic, with a carbon kevlar body. A total of 17 Vector W8’s were delivered to customers.
The W8 enjoys a celebrity story. Tennis star Andre Agassi ordered a W8, and demanded delivery in time for his birthday party. Vector sent him his black W8, to display at his party, but was told to not drive the car, as it was not yet completed. The story goes that Agassi took the car out on a high-speed run to Las Vegas anyhow, and cooked the engine, as all the radiators had not been installed.
1995-1999 Vector M12
Following the W8, the $189,000 M12 is a downright steal. What you are seeing here is a rebodied Lamborghini Diablo. That in itself sort of defeats the purpose of what Vector was supposed to have been-a 100% American made super-car. The design would appear to be a result of the F-body Pontiac Trans-Am and a Lamborghini mating, and it is not a good look. Exotic car enthusiasts the world over should be pleased that only 14 M12’s were produced, as Vector could not afford to pay Lamborghini for any more engines.
The critics here may tell me that Vector, as a company, continues to exist, and should not be listed as a forgotten marque. I won’t argue-it does indeed exist. But remember, Vector came to life in 1971. The first customer car was sold in 1989. And the last production Vector was built in 1999. Concept cars, running or not, do not count. While I admire the tenacity and dedication of Mr. Wiegert in his desire to build a viable, American made exotic car, I need only remind you of the Saleen S7, a true American exotic that performed well against its competition, and sold well. Sadly, the fame of the Vector will be of its poster sales sold in shopping malls in the 80’s.