30 Years Later, The Vector W8 Remains America’s Most Outrageous Supercar Effort

Apart from being a symbol of ’80s excess, the Vector W8 is perhaps one of the most outrageous supercars ever made, thanks to the combination of insane design and extreme rarity.

Made by Gerald Wiegert’s Vector Aeromotive Corporation, only around 20 examples of the W8 were built between 1989 and 1993 and Doug DeMuro managed to find one and review it.

The over-the-top styling made it well-known across the petrolhead community but it’s when you take a closer look that you realize just how bonkers everything about it really is. Compared to the extreme Vector W8, the Lamborghini Countach looks tame and even inviting.

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It wasn’t just the exterior though. Swing open the scissor door and what you’ll see is a unique interpretation of what a supercar’s cabin should look like. Thanks to the transmission lever mounted on the driver’s door sill and the absence of a central console, the driver and passenger share a common footwell which gave the cabin a unique vibe, albeit clearly at the expense of sanity and ergonomics.

Then there’s the screen that acted as the instrument cluster. Remember this is 1989 when Vector gave its supercar a dashboard that looked like it was pulled straight out of a fighter jet, including the switchgear and a boost gauge that actually worked. It also has a CD changer mounted directly on the dashboard in front of the passenger.

Sitting in the middle is a heavily modified, transversely mounted (!) V8 engine sourced from the Corvette of the era, measuring 6.0 liters in capacity and aided by a pair of turbochargers. The end -claimed- result is a still impressive 625 HP and 649 lb-ft of torque. Perhaps the most unusual part of the powertrain is the transmission: an anachronistic GM-sourced three-speed automatic which was also heavily upgraded.

Vector claimed that the W8 was capable of a 0-60 mph in around 3.9 seconds and that it won’t stop accelerating until it hits a ridiculous -and unverified- 242 mph (389 km/h).

Spare yourself the next hour and delve into one of the greatest American supercar unicorns of all time.