The Billionaire Boys Club
Somewhere in the deep lying recesses of your mind where there are no boundaries to things and no constraints to your indulgence you drive a Spyker. The cars made by the Dutch company, which was resurrected in the nineties by a visionary of bespoke car culture – was every pubescent boy’s autoerotic fantasy – and the reality of just a handful of billionaires. But the Spyker story just might be becoming an object lesson on natural selection – and a demonstration of the theory of evolution applied to the car industry.
There’s symmetry to the fact that this is the year of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th of the publication of his revolutionary book The Origin of Species. We are after all living through a time when nature raw in tooth and claw is expressing its cold impartiality in deciding what thrives and what perishes – in both the natural world and the business world alike. Whatever its destiny Spyker was born of admirable dreams and intentions. Founder Victor Muller’s vision was to fuse aviation design and auto engineering brilliance associated with the Spyker brand with a renewed market possibility of bespoke vehicles for gentlemen of the utmost discernment and taste. For a while, the mission looked bang on course. There were a series of truly spectacular and innovative models, led by the long, torsional C8, the SSUV ‘Peking-Paris’ crosser and the sleek, Zagato-designed C12.
There was the move a couple of years ago into Formula 1, (followed by its swift exit.) Now while the rest of us are getting quickly sick of the forecasts of doom, Spyker are bullishly presenting the production version of the audacious C8 Aerilon at Geneva next month, as well as bringing to market a road going version of their Le Mans race car based on the C8 GT, the LM85. The question remains for Spyker watchers is this: are these fascinating breeds doomed to go the way of the dodo – or the way of the platypus (which the Aileron subtly resembles). As Darwin described 150 years ago, highly specialised environments call for highly specialised adaptations. If a genus cannot adapt appropriately to the environment in which it finds itself, it will eventually become extinct.
Anyone who cares about hand wrought brilliance in the face of encroaching automotive mediocrity should pray that Spyker finds its course.
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