- The 1992 and 1993 Geneva Motor Show car
- The only Vector WX-3 coupe prototype produced
- 1,000-hp twin-turbo V8 engine
- Retained by company founder Jerry Wiegert
|Vehicle:||1993 Vector Avtech WX-3 Prototype|
|Original List Price:||N/A (this is a prototype). The Vector W8 listed at $283,750|
|SCM Valuation:||$615,500 (this one-off car)|
|Tune Up Cost:||$350|
|Chassis Number Location:||Driver’s side sill|
|Engine Number Location:||On block below alternator|
|Alternatives:||1993 Lamborghini Diablo, 1993 Jaguar XJ 220, 1992 Bugatti EB110|
This car, Lot 153, sold for $615,500, including buyer’s premium, at RM Sotheby’s Arizona Auction in Phoenix, AZ, on January 18, 2019.
We can’t talk about the Vector WX-3 without backing up a bit to start with the Vector W8.
Oh, let’s back up a bit more. Meet Gerald “Jerry” Wiegert. Careful while you’re backing up, as these ’90s supercars didn’t have great rear visibility. Maybe open up one of the scissor doors while you’re in motion. Then you’ll look cooler and be able to see where we’re going.
We’re going into the mind of Wiegert, an Art Center College of Design graduate who envisioned an all-American supercar to take on the wild Italian wedges of Ferrari and Lamborghini.
Wiegert’s first attempt, a concept car called the Vector, graced the cover of Motor Trend in 1972, but it wasn’t until 1978 that there was an actual running Vector car.
That was the W2, a prototype Car and Driver magazine described as “a UFO on wheels.”
The W2 made the rounds of magazine and car shows, but it never went into production.
In 1989, Wiegert’s company, under the new name, Vector Aeromotive Corporation, began producing his next creation, the lean, low, 625-hp Vector W8. Many of the materials and features seem commonplace on a hypercar today, but Vector was ahead of its time with carbon fiber, honeycomb panels, and the use of bonded and riveted construction in the chassis.
The engine was a twin-turbo 6-liter Rodeck small-block V8 with a GM 3-speed automatic. The interior was unique, using a customizable flat-panel display and center seating. It was more like an airplane than an automobile.
The W8 got good reviews, but Vector didn’t make many before the company ran into trouble.
While working on the W8’s successor, the WX-3 prototype seen here, Wiegert and Vector investor Megatech had a nasty breakup. Megatech took over and fired Wiegert, who then sued for ownership of the WX-3 prototype coupe and its open-top sister (the WX-3R roadster, which sold at the same Arizona RM Sotheby’s auction as this car, and reportedly to the same buyer).
The WX-3, like the W8, was inspired by aeromotive technology, with use of carbon fiber.
The interior of the coupe manages to make a bench seat seem sexy, with three-across seating.
Wiegert originally planned for the new Vector to come with a choice of turbocharged engines ranging from a base 600 hp to a heavily boosted 1,200 hp. The WX-3 prototype is powered by the 1,000-hp version of the twin-turbo 7.0-L V8 and Turbo-Hydramatic 425 transmission.
It was the only Vector to be made with the bigger 7-liter engine. Top speed is rumored to be above 240 mph, but there is no supporting evidence that any Vectors have been tested at that level.
Still, it looks fast, even standing still.
Big price tag
It’s always hard to predict what a prototype car will sell for. After all, there are only two Vector WX-3s in existence, and the other one was selling right alongside this one.
The $615,500 all-in-price gavel drop was above the estimated $500,000, and it reflects a growing interest in cars of the ’80s and ’90s.
You certainly can’t get more ’90s than the softly rounded wedge of the WX-3, with its wrap-around rear spoiler, hidden headlights and metallic turquoise paint scheme.
Wiegert’s Vectors are the precursors to American super sports cars such as the Ford GT, the Dodge Viper and the Corvette ZR1.
Here’s hoping they inspire a whole new set of automotive dreamers. Well bought. ♦
(Introductory description courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.)