Adding some international ingredients
Vector logoFollowing an epic financial saga, the company was taken over from Mr. Wiegert by the Indonesian company Megatech. Megatech would later also acquire Lamborghini. Out of efforts to improve the product and distance the car from Mr. Wiegert, the WX-3 was redesigned and fitted with a five-speed manual ZF transaxle, and what else but a Lamborghini V-12. Ultimately, this decision would cause the brand’s once-legendary performance to suffer rather than improve. The new motor put out a relatively low 492 BHP.

Zero to sixty blasts, although slower, were still quick coming in at 4.8 seconds (compared to 4.1, for the W8), and the top speed was down but still an impressive 190-plus MPH.

One reduced number that prospective buyers saw as a positive was the price. To buy an M12 at introduction it would only set you back a reasonable $189,000. Unfortunately, there were only 18 copies produced, four of which weren’t production models for sale. Thus, only 14 of these cars were ever sold and I had the pleasure of getting inside one of them.

Apart from the guy assigned to clean the cars, I had the museum floor to myself after the Director finished showering me with information. As you’ll see in the photos, the museum was stuffed with incredible exotics. I didn’t mention any of them in this post because I’d like to come back and discuss them individually, in their own posts. (I exhausted my camera’s battery there so, take my word, there are plenty of photos.)

Below I’ve included some pictures of the Riverside International Auto Museum’s 1998 Vector M12, along with some brief comments. More pictures, and larger versions, are available in the two-page photo gallery.

1998 Vector M12 front three-qtrWhat might look like headlights on the front of the car are actually just the signal/parking light units.

Just above and behind that are pop-up-style headlights that include four square bulbs.

1998 Vector M12 hood overheadIn this overhead shot, barely visible, is the buildup of wax in the panel creases. It bothers me on my (relatively) lowly Malibu. It was driving me nuts on this ultra-rare M12.

I wanted so bad to fold my shirt and clean it out with my fingernail. But I know how understandably particular car owners can be, and there was a guy assigned to that task.

1998 Vector M12 rearThe Director and I both agreed that some of the Vector’s wild-for-the-time lines have begun to betray the car’s age. The oversize spoiler is one example.

1998 Vector M12 intake vents and small windowThese intake vents feed cooling air to the engine and brakes. Despite air intakes all over the car, it seems two somewhat important ones were overlooked.

An interesting fact about the car, which once pointed out became glaringly obvious, is that the large side windows don’t open. The razor-thin lower ones do. They slide down into the door, allowing passengers a mail-slot’s worth of air intake. The museum’s director, privy to driving the cars frequently, said they learned the hard way that Vectors don’t work well in a drive-thru.

1998 Vector M12 door openThe doors naturally open as one would expect them to on an exotic from the 1990s: scissor-style.

1998 Vector M12 interior - seatsIt was an incredibly cramped interior, however, I tend to think that adds to the exotic car experience (maybe an owner that paid a lot of money would see it differently though).

1998 Vector M12 interior dash boardThe interior was crying out for some attention (it will be more clear in the gallery pictures). Overall, the layout was pretty plebeian (particularly when compared to the interior of the W8 which was fashioned after a fighter jet cockpit and looked it).

Some of the switchgear is GM parts bin-sourced. That was apparently one gripe from owners.

1998 Vector M12 interior guagesThe instruments were likewise pretty standard. There is even a large red indicator for the air bag. It’s large. And smack dab in the middle, as if used frequently.

It’s hard sharing images like this but I thought you’d find it interesting after learning that there are only 14 copies of the M12 on the roads, several of which are in other countries, there is now one less. This M12, shown below, recently caught fire while driving in Austin, Texas. No one was hurt but the car appears totaled. I also read about another M12 that took substantial flood damage in the UK. Despite undoubtedly being insured, it’s nevertheless a shame.

1996 Vector M12 burned
I hope you enjoyed this. Be sure to take a look at the two-page gallery.

(Photo gallery follows…)
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