Analyzed at a dollar-to-cool ratio, is there a car that tops the Spyker C8? Sure, a Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale or a Ford GT of the same era currently cost about the same as this car. However, parked alongside one another, could you really say that either of those are cooler?
I was very fortunate to grow up in a relatively affluent part of Ohio that loved cars, and there were TWO Spykers in my hometown – a Spyder and a Laviolette. I remember my first time seeing the latter, asking exactly what everyone does: “What is that?” The owner, having experienced this interaction before, kindly explained that it was built by a Dutch company that historically made airplanes and racecars. It was easily the coolest car I’d ever seen, definitely more spaceship than road car.
I recently drove one for Cars & Bids, and I was overly eager to do so. Doug DeMuro mentioned to me that it’s fun to drive, but I wasn’t that concerned about the driving experience – I just wanted to be around a Spyker to soak in the whole thing, one-on-one.
Gallery: Spyker C8 For Sale On Cars And Bids
Its design is spectacular wherever you encounter it, and it still captivates attention to an absurd degree. While filming this one, I moved it outside to get some B-roll in the sunlight, and it caught the attention of some construction workers, who wandered over to check out this peculiar machine. It was my turn to answer, “What is that? Is it some kind of Ferrari?” No one knows – but they want to know, and it was fun to be the one answering this time.
After a brief explanation, a press of the button located behind the mirror opens the scissor door, and everyone peers inside. The machine-turned dashboard, the polished shift linkage, the non-airbag “Aeroblade” steering wheel – it’s all fascinating to look at. “I’ve never seen anything like that,” states one of the workers – yep, you’re not alone, sir. From the gasket-less edge of the windshield to the toggle switches on the dashboard, everything is beautiful and intriguing. You just marvel at the theater of it all.
Then you start the thing, which is a process on its own. You put the Audi-sourced key into the ignition slot in the glovebox to disarm the car. Next, you flip the toggle switch to turn on the ignition, and then you press ‘Engine Start’ – the C8 burbles into life. The R8-derived, 40-valve V8 is superb. Because it has five valves per cylinder, unlike the RS4 and R8, it sounds distinctly different at high RPMs. A special sound for a special car.
The shifter action is so slick and direct, too, with virtually no play in-gear. I had always wondered if it’d be odd to use, but really, it’s just like any other linkage with a shift rod – you just get to see the shift rod in the cabin. It’s all really pretty conventional. The clutch is very grabby, however, and the brakes have no assist, requiring firm pressure to engage.
The ride quality is very stiff. The spaceframe chassis and the inboard Koni suspension certainly amplify the rigidity. However, it doesn’t make you want to rip it on a back road. It makes you want to cruise around and occasionally get on the throttle to enjoy the fruits of that fifth valve. After a while, you become accustomed to these nuances, and it’s as easy to drive as any other modern car.
Some parts really feel dated, though. The gauge design is as mid-2000s and creamy beige as Tony Saprano’s home interior decor. The flat exterior badges also share the graphic design language of the mid-2000s, and the taillights are shared with the Lamborghini Diablo. But who cares? The holistic view of the car is that it’s cool – a “car you wear more than drive.”
The car still captivates people as strongly now as it did when I was a kid. It’s an unusual blend of aluminum, leather, and glass, topped with a V8 burble and a shifter from another planet. The best part is that it’s fun and easy to drive, and it makes you feel very special. To get a car of a similar ilk, we’re talking about getting something like a Zonda, examples of which now reportedly trade hands for around $10,000,000. For roughly three or four percent of that price, the Spyker C8 Spyder unquestionably holds its own. It’s so very cool – just be prepared to answer some questions every time you use it.