The Spyker C8 Laviolette was no Dutch flash in the pan. Spyker's roots stretch back to 1880. In '89, they built the 'Golden Carriage' ... to this day, the Dutch royal family's transport, on state occasions. During World War 1, Spyker built planes - including their engines. But the firm also found time to build cars - for both road and track. Well, they did until 1926 ... when Spyker went bankrupt!
But that was not the end of the Spyker story. In 1999, Victor Muller - a Dutch business magnate - bought the Spyker brand-name. He duly set about resurrecting the marque. Supercars would be Spyker's new stock-in-trade. The Spyker Squadron équipe was formed - specialising in endurance races, like Le Mans and Sebring. In 2006, Spyker entered FI. It bought the Midland team - or Jordan, as it had previously been. Two years on, it would be sold to Force India.
The Spyker C8 Laviolette débuted at the 2001 Amsterdam Show. The car's aluminium bodywork was breathtaking. Beneath it, the space-frame was made from the same light material. The up-swinging 'scissors doors' were impressively state of the art. When open, they revealed quilted-leather seats. The Laviolette's 4.2-litre V8 produced 400bhp. Suspension was F1-style - comprising Koni in-board shocks. Ventilated disc brakes were suitably solid. The Laviolette's top speed was 187mph. 0-60 came up in 4.5s. Of course, the price tag for all that was sky-high. All of £210,000. Saying that, you did get to watch your car being built ... courtesy of a Spyker factory web cam. Among the C8's optional extras was a Chronoswiss Spyker wrist-watch - complete with your car's chassis number engraved on it. A snip, at £24,000. A set of bespoke luggage cost a mere £12,350. There was even a Louis Vuitton tool-kit available - a bargain at just £2,500. Financially, the Spyker C8 Laviolette was not playing games. Most of us could not afford the extras, never mind the car!