Gillet is a Belgian automobile manufacturer, started in 1992 by former racing driver Tony Gillet. The company produces the Vertigo sports coupé, an ultra-lightweight (990 kg) 'bespoke' and hand-built sportscar. The first Vertigo was powered by a Ford Cosworth 2.0 litre 4-in-line, later evolutions are powered by more powerful engines: the 3.0 litre Alfa Romeo V6 engine and the 4.2 litre Ferrari/Maserati V8 in the latest evolution called Vertigo.5.
Tony Gillet was a successful racing driver, winning the Belgian hill-climb championship for several consecutive years and competing in two Dakar Rallies. In 1982 he became the Belgian importer for Donkervoort, a Dutch Lotus Super Seven-styled car. In January 1990 he broke the 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) record for production cars with a time of 3.85 seconds in a specially modified Donkervoort. The Vertigo held the 0–100 km/h record for production cars at 3.1 seconds, but this has since been broken.
The first Vertigo prototype was finished in 1991 and shown at the 71st Brussels Auto Show in January 1992. In the following two years the car was finalised for production. It was shown at the Paris and Geneva car shows in 1993. Two more cars were built: a second prototype to finalise production design and the first production car, which was used for certification, including the frontal crash-test, seat anchorage resistance and safety belts anchorage resistance tests.
The production Vertigo differed from the first prototype in materials and design. The chassis was fabricated from carbon fibre and honeycomb materials (a technology directly borrowed from Formula One), ensuring greater strength and stiffness, while saving 58 kg (128 lb) in chassis weight. The body was given more fluid lines with higher side windows and retractable headlights, making it closer to the first design drawings.
A Vertigo was sold to Philippe Streiff, a former Formula One racing driver who is handicapped after an accident during pre-season testing in 1989. This Vertigo was modified to be joystick-controlled and given an automatic transmission.