When Spyker designer Maarten de Bruijn and his partner Victor Muller set out to design the Spyker C8, their aim was to reinvent the Spyker brand. Building on Spyker’s racing and aviation heritage, which goes back to the dawn of motoring, they wanted to incorporate the core values of individuality, style, performance, quality and exclusivity the Spyker name has always been associated with in a contemporary and innovative design.
Spyker’s keen eye for detail and inventive engineering have resulted in a lightweight, mid-engined two seater, a race car in every technological respect, offering a stunning performance and a purpose design that is as graceful as it is functional. All the shapes of the Spyker C8 are either based on nature or inspired by it. The body, created draping clean and functional skins of aluminum sheet over the mechanicals inside, could be compared to that of a predator, its skin covering its muscles, echoing the power underneath.
Maarten J de Bruijn: ‘Cars are complex engineering that is closely and personally intertwined with life and culture. That’s why designing a car is more than just engineering. It is designing an interface through which people can experience the world.’
In Spyker’s view, the design of this interface should first and foremost be functional, its beauty derived from the natural consequence of forming logical shapes and volumes. Maarten de Bruijn: ‘The C8 is beautiful, because everything about it is functionally justified and all the materials that we use are used for their eminent functional capabilities, not just because they look good.’
Victor R. Muller: ‘In rebuilding the Spyker brand after 75 years of absence we chose to embrace Spyker’s racing and aviation heritage and used that as the solid foundation for our design. The car has innumerable references to its heritage of which we are so proud. From propeller (steering) wheels to aircraft type air inlets, it all mirrors the Spyker origins. Technology is beautiful so we show it wherever we possibly can. Beauty should not be hidden. We built cars for the most passionate drivers who do not just buy a car but have one built for them.’
Passion for Purity
The body of the Spyker C8 is designed with an almost architectural purity. Only three shut lines appear on the body of the car; an engineering Tour de force. One vertical line in front of the door, another vertical line at the rear of the door and a horizontal line separating the sill from the rest of the body, notwithstanding the fact that both the front and rear body sections of the car open fully. These lines give the Spyker body a very quiet and clean quality.
The doors, electrically operated, open upwards and tilt upwards like the shields of a ladybird, using a single point aluminum hinge, a patentable innovation of Spyker. The front and rear body sections can be fully opened, providing easy access to the technological vitals of the C8. But they are not practical. When the front and rear body sections are opened it is as if the C8 has turned into a jewel box, beautifully displaying the cars delightful engineering details.
Passion for bespoke materials
Spyker has chosen to use the best materials available in building the Spyker C8. The material of choice for the construction of the car is aluminum, a complex material that requires handling by highly skilled professionals to get the best out of it, but that gives unparalleled results.
The chassis of the C8 is built from extruded box sections and folded sheet. The body panels are handcrafted from aluminum sheet of outstanding durability and is almost as dent resistant as steel. All of the exterior details, such as the wing mirrors, the beautiful air intakes or the wheels, are also handcrafted from aluminum.
Every body panel and component of the Spyker C8 is numbered to identify it as belonging to the car’s chassis number.
Passion for Aerodynamics
Because the main design principle of the Spyker C8 is that the shape of the car should never interfere with its function, every part of the car, every detail must be genuine and have a proper function.
Apart from these, many other engineering details reveal that the C8 is in effect a road going race car. The streamlined floor section of the car creates the down force that keeps the car hugged to the ground at even the highest speed levels. The visible body details that help provide this ground effect are the splitter plate at the front and the diffuser at the rear, which is beautifully integrated in the rear body section.
Chassis – Aluminum space frame
While the body of the Spyker C8 lends the car its beauty, it is the chassis that gives the car its strength. The aluminum space frame of the C8 is constructed from box sections of extruded aluminum, which are carefully welded by certified craftsman.
This construction enhances the reparability of the chassis; when it gets damaged, the damaged parts can be cut out and replaced by new sections that are welded in. At its front, a crushable structure is mounted, which can be fine tuned to different car masses.
The chassis of the Spyker C8 has many similarities with that of race car, where the chassis also acts as a survival cell. The chassis of the C8 has the same function: it surrounds and protects the passengers of the car. It also houses the complete fuel system of the C8 inside its main members.
Integrated in the chassis design is a comprehensive roll-over protection system, with as its visible parts the roll cargo behind the seats and reinforced A-frame to support the windscreen. The strength of the chassis is such that it has not been necessary to incorporate extra reinforcements in the Spyker C8 Spyder chassis, such as a specially reinforced windscreen frame. In fact, the Spyder has a frameless windscreen, because of inherent strength of its space frame and the A-pillars.
The C8 also features a unique in-house designed decentralized wiring system, which combines simplicity with reliability. One of the great advantages of this system is that it is modular and highly flexible.
Interior – Dashboard
As for the interior of the Spyker C8, Spyker has succeeded in creating a unique atmosphere of luxury and functionality. The roomy cockpit is trimmed with the best available leather and features aluminum design details that mirror those of the car’s exterior.
The dashboard, the direct interface to the Spyker C8’s technology, is reminiscent of Spykers aviation heritage in its instrumentation design; especially the beautiful aluminum Aeroblade steering wheel proudly sports the propeller from Spykers logo dating from 1914. The instrument layout and ergonomics, however, clearly show that the C8 has been bred for racing. The C8 tells its driver everything he needs to know, when he needs to know it.
The most eye-catching interior feature of the Spyker C8 is the unique gear lever. In its design, the movement that has to be made to shift gears has been turned into a feature: the actuation bar and its reaction rod are in full view. Maarten de Bruijn about this: ‘This gear mechanism is the ultimate interface between man and machine. By its design it exposes the way in which the gear mechanism is operated, and this is a feature that is typically Spyker.’ A reverse-button on top of the gear lever prevents the driver from accidentally selecting reverse.
The Spyker experience starts outside the car. No keys or remote controls are needed to enter the car. Each Spyker owner has a personal security card, which activates the car electrical systems as soon as the owner comes within a radius of three meters of his car. A push on a starter button makes the engine spring to life.
Each driver can find a perfect driving position in the C8. The car contains a fully adjustable steering column, racing style pedal box and leather clad and ergonomic sport seats. These seats come with standard electrically operated beaks and are fitted with three-point seatbelts. A four-point full race harness is optional.
In creating a great sports car, Spyker has not forgotten to make the Spyker C8 a practical car. The car features two luggage compartments. One is in the back of the car, the other in the front. Both compartments are easily accessible and each car comes with two tailor made leather suitcases. Of course the customer can choose any other material he likes, suitcases made of quilted leather being one of many options. A Louis Vuitton custom made luggage set is a truly unique option.
Driveline – V8 Engine
The heart of the Spyker C8 is its state-of-the-art all aluminum Audi 4.2 liter V8 engine. It is one of the most compact and reliable engines of its kind, featuring five valves per cylinder, four overhead camshafts and a very advanced engine management system.
The engine management system includes drive-by-wire and allows various performance outputs being chosen by the owner, depending on the use of the car.
Thanks to the pre-programmed output levels the engine management system allows, the owner has a unique safety device at his disposal; when the car is driven by a less experienced driver, output can be reduced to a safer level. As an optional feature, the engine management system can be used for data logging.
The C8 Double 12 S shares its engine with the C8 Spyder and the C8 Laviolette. The engine is mated to a synchronized 6-speed Getrag gearbox. For the C8 Double12 R a straight cut dog ring 6-speed gearbox is available.
Depending on the level of engine power the customer has chosen, the C8 Double12 S has a top speed between 300 km/h (187 mph) and 345 km/h (215 mph).
Rear Wheel Drive
The rear wheel drive configuration of the Spyker C8 has been primarily chosen because of the exciting driving characteristics it offers. The adjustable suspension and the low weight of the car (from 1250 kg from the Spyker C8 Spyder up to 1350 kg for the Spyker C8 Double12 S) give the C8 unparalleled agility and handling.
The powerful V8 engine of the Spyker C8 is mated to a manual six-speed gearbox transaxle powering the rear wheels with limited slip differential.
A twin circuit braking system with 6-piston AP aluminum brake calipers at the front and 4-piston aluminum brake calipers at the rear wheels with ventilated brake discs provides the Spyker C8’s stopping power. Each Spyker C8 is fitted with ABS.
The Spyker C8 is fitted with a straight-through stainless steel high performance exhaust system. It does not only look beautiful, it gives a beautiful sound as well. Since even the most passionate driver may wish to cruise instead of letting the engine provide an exciting soundtrack to your car’s performance, the Spyker C8’s exhaust system features a manually operated short cut valve that lengthens or shortens the exhaust system; thereby increasing or reducing engine sound output. The system therefore provides the driver with the choice of silent cruising or maximum performance with a superb sound to match.
Suspension – Racing Suspension
The Spyker C8 doesn’t show its racing heritage potential any clearer than in its suspension that offers set-up possibilities that made the Spyker stand out as a true drivers’ car. The car features a fully adjustable independent Formula 1 style front and rear suspension in stainless steel, with inboard shock absorbers by Koni.
This provides the owner with the opportunity to choose the suspension set-up that he wishes, be it for the road or on the track.
Spyker’s passion for detail extends to the beautiful wheels of the Spyker C8. As a standard, 18-inch ATS aluminum multi-spoke wheels are fitted with a central locking nut.
The Spyker C8 may also be fitted with the beautifully designed 19-inch Aeroblade wheels, featuring the propeller theme from Spykers logo in its 10-spoke design. This wheel, made from magnesium, does not only look the part, it offers a technical advance as well. The wheel was designed to enhance the ground effect of the car and to offer even better brake cooling by the placing and form of the spokes in the shape of the propeller blades.
Passion for design – Architectural purity
Spyker feels that design details should enhance the beauty of the basic shape of the car. Designing a car, however, is more than creating a shape. It is creating a shape with the right portions.
Regardless of the angle from which you view the Spyker C8, you will see that its proportions are perfectly balanced: the long overhang at the nose and the short rear section of the car give it a powerful stance. The relation between the wheelbase, the overhangs, the width of the front and rear of the car – which is a fraction wider – and the height of the car gives the C8 a dynamic, powerful elegance.
The design of the Spyker C8 underlines the car’s performance potential, but does so without any extrovert features distracting the eye. This almost architectural purity of the design gives the car a clean shape that represents the essence of the Spyker experience.
Only design features that have a proper function have a right to be on a Spyker. This means that the beautifully handcrafted aluminum air tubes in the flanks of the car – and in the roof, in case of the Laviolette and the C8 Double12 – are there for a purpose; they feed cool air into the engine and to the brakes. But they also form visual highlights to the shape of the body of the C8, subtly sticking through the skin of the car, and are reminiscent of modern air jet fighters.
Similarly, the subtle ‘gills’ in the front and rear wings of the Spyker C8 are not mere design gadgets; they actually withdraw hot air from the brakes and the engine bay.
Maarten de Bruijn: ‘Designing is about manipulating volumes to create lines, not creating lines that make up volumes. That for instance the mirrors of the Spyker C8. Rather than shaping a block of clay in which any line could be the line, we have taken a bent tube of aluminum. We squashed one side to create an oval when it is attached to the door skin. The other end we sliced at an angle which resulted in another oval: this became the mirror side. The lines resulting from us working with bespoke material like these are a natural consequence.’
Passion for excellence
Building a car such as the Spyker C8 not only means building a car that meets the highest technical standards. It also means building relationships with its drivers. Spyker builds exclusive cars, and each owner becomes a member of a group of people that share Spyker’s passion for excellence.
The Spyker C8 is built for the most passionate of car lovers, people who do not only want to buy the best car they can get, but who want to have car built for them, to their specifications. This is why Spyker offers an almost infinite number of options on the Spyker C8. And this is why every owner can personalize the Spyker C8 in any way he wants. And this is why every owner of a C8 is personally involved in the building process of his car.
After ordering a Spyker, the identity of the car – its chassis number – and that of its owner become inseparable. The owner is provided with a personalized web page, which contains every important piece of information on the car. The car’s build sheet is updated every time work is done to the car so that the owner can keep track of the building process and maintenance history of his car. Via his personal web pages the owner can even follow the building process of his car as it is being assembled in the Spyker factory by means of a web cam. This level of involvement is unique in today’s car industry.
We are proud to build a desirable, exciting car like the Spyker C8. We are just as proud of the people who buy them, as for the tenacious no road is impassable.
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Source: Spyker Press Release