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A Dutch treat; CLASSIC CARS with IAN JOHNSON This week: the Spyker.

Byline: IAN JOHNSON

AND your starter for 10. Who can name the Dutch national supercar? A puzzler for some who have not heard of the Netherlands' great heritage of luxury and performance driving under the Spyker banner.

The name Spyker has been around in various forms since the turn of the century and is represented today by a firm which turns out some very individual and beautifully built high performance luxury sports cars.

Spyker was born in the late 1800s by coachbuilders Jacobus and Hendrik-Jan Spijker, but to be able to market the brand better in foreign countries, in 1903 the 'ij' was changed into 'y'. They were originally based in Hilversum but in 1898 moved to Trompenburg, Amsterdam.

The brothers were gifted engineers and in 1898 Spyker manufactured the "Golden Carriage" of the Dutch Royal family.

In 1900 Spyker put its first cars on the road and even produced a six-cylinder 4x4 four-wheel-braked racer.

The 1905 cars featured a round radiator grille which became a feature of many of the pre war cars.

Many have actually seen one of these cars without realising it because the car driven by Kenneth More in the 1953 film Genevieve, about the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, is a 1904 Spyker.

Spyker also developed a circular engine with the cylinders enclosed in a dustbin-like casing which ensured the maximum amount of water around the cylinders. A fine idea, but the engine was a little short in the waterpumping department and boiled like a kettle .

The company even developed a 'dustless' chassis with an undershieled to reduce the amount of dust raised by the car's passage over unmade roads.

Another remarkable development was the 'magnetic carburettor' in which an electrically operated needle valve could be used to cut off the fuel supply when the car was coasting, thus economising on petrol.

Afterwards under various owners, Spyker produced some remarkable cars including the C4, powered by a German Maybach engine, featuring dual ignition, a two-speed cooling fan and a proud motto of 'Guaranteed for Ever'.

In 1925 the Spyker marque came to an end after building more than 2000 cars, but in 1999, a new company, Spyker Cars was founded, unrelated to the original company but driving back the brand name just about a century after the original firm was founded. Proving that you just cannot keep a good name down, the Spyker of today is very much the supercar.

The latest C8 is powered by a 4,127cc 400bhp V8 and is capable of 186mph. It can reach 62mph in just 4.5 seconds. Latest additions are the C12 La Turbie with a 500bhp Audi W12 engine.

Also powered by the W12 is the Spyker D12 Peking-to-Paris which is sold as a SSUV - Super Sports Utility Vehicle.

Bringing back 4WD to the Spyker name, this car finds many of its customers in the Middle East and is one of the world's most exotic 4x4s.

CAPTION(S):

SPORTING HERITAGE - the Dutch Spyker model of today is very much the supercar
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 1, 2008
Words:506
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