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21 February 2024

In a league of its own

By Reena Amos Dyes


Owning a Spyker has always been a matter of great pride for sports car connoisseurs. But now the Dutch car company has come out with something a little different. And that is sure to spark a lot of interest among car lovers. Spyker is all set to launch its first SUV.


Named Spyker D12 Peking-to-Paris, the larger car made its worldwide debut during the Geneva Motor Show on February 28, 2006, marking the second product line.

The car is a four-wheel drive, four-door, four-seater luxury super sports utility vehicle (SSUV) powered by a 6.0-litre W12 engine.


Speaking to Emirates Business, Victor Muller, CEO of Spyker, who also designed the SSUV, said: “The Peking-to-Paris is in a league of its own. When launched, the car will have 600 horsepower, higher than any SUV.


At this time the tentative price has been set at Dh1,028,300,  however the final price will be announced when the car goes on sale in 2009.”


The Peking-to-Paris, like all other Spykers, is a customised, hand-built super sports vehicle. Every owner of a Spyker is personally involved in the building process of their car.


After ordering a Spyker, the identity of the car – its chassis number – and that of its owner become inseparable. The owner is provided with a personalised web page, which contains every important piece of information about the car. The car’s build sheet is updated every time work is done on the car.


The owner can even follow the assembly of his car as it takes shape in the Spyker factory by means of a web cam. Needless to say, only the very best materials are used while building a Spyker and exclusivity is guaranteed because of the limited number of cars produced.


Muller said: “We will build just one short of the number of vehicles that are in demand. It is estimated this number will be around 250 per annum. As of now we have 200 orders in hand.”


Spyker has been in the motorcar production business since 1898. It all started when two brothers, Jacobus and Hendrik-Jan Spijker, coachbuilders in Amsterdam, built their first motorcar with a Benz engine and won acclaim for the craftsmanship of their bodywork.

After changing the name of the company to Spyker for easy recognition worldwide,  in 1903 they introduced the advanced 60/80 HP. It was the first car with a six-cylinder engine as well as a permanent four-wheel drive and four-wheel brakes.


In the same period Spyker introduced its patented “dust shield chassis”, a chassis fitted with a streamlined under tray that prevented the car from gathering dust on unpaved roads.


It was innovations such as these that characterised the Spyker cars, which quickly became famous for their quality and the ruggedness of their engineering.


In the period preceding the First World War, a worldwide slump in the luxury car market meant that Spyker had to diversify its production and merge with the Dutch Aircraft Factory NV to develop and build fighter aircraft.


In 1914, the firm introduced the slogan still being used today: “For the tenacious no road is impassable.” Along with the slogan came a new logo, featuring a spoke wheel with a horizontal propeller across.


After the war, Spyker resumed car production and continued building record-breaking cars. In fact there is a very interesting story behind the name Peking-to-Paris.


Muller said: “In 1907 Spyker participated in a rally to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the motor car. Five cars set out from France to Beijing to participate in what was to become the most gruelling rally of all times, with no roads, no fuel supply and no infrastructure to cater for the participants and their  five cars.


“A 1907 Spyker 14/18 HP, which covered the 13,000miles in less than three months, came a close-second in that race.


“The majority of the mileage was driven off the road. Therefore, in view of the Peking-to-Paris off the road capabilities, we felt it appropriate to honour the achievement of Spyker 1907, by naming it so.”


But why make an SSUV after decades of manufacturing high performance, luxury super sports cars? Muller explained: “The post-war generation that used to drive super sports cars are now married with children. While they still enjoy driving a super sports car, they now want to take some passengers along, too.


“That is why Peking-to-Paris has been designed to provide super sports car performance in a luxurious package, allowing for the transportation of more people than in a two-seater super sports car with limited utility.”


While Spyker’s models all benefit from the experience the company has gained by entering basically standard Spykers in the international race arena, such as the gruelling 24-hour Le Mans and the 12-hour Sebring, its main design principle is the shape of the car should never interfere with its function.


Every part of the car, every detail must be genuine and have a proper and definitive function.


Giving an example Muller said: “The rear end of the car was the most complex to design. We made no less than 40 configurations before we chose the one that finally made it on the pre-production car.”