By Keith Grey
Every season here in Naples, Florida – the home of The Revs Institute and the quiet town nestled in the Southwest corner of the Sunshine state along the beautiful Gulf of Mexico – comes a transformation.
What we locals refer to as “Snowbird Season” seems to come alive with the roar of vintage steam engines, exotic V12s and everything in-between. All because, Naples is a relatively unknown treasure trove of rare and one-off vehicles. So much so that some of the locals eating outside at restaurants on the famous 5th Avenue now barely notice a Pagani Huayra roll by followed closely by a 1934 Bentley.
That’s when you know a town is teeming with automotive royalty.
So, while the Naples traffic may become close to unbearable every winter, if you are a true fan of every category of automobile, it is offset by jaw-dropping, whiplash inducing wonderment on four wheels zipping past you on a regular basis.
One second it’s the Lamborghini Aventador SV. The next the Koenigsegg Agera R. Or, when the owners of such “Wonderment” decide they need a bite to eat, you can find a rare Ferrari 250 GTO parked on the side of the road wedged between a Prius and a Minivan.
All of this to say it came as no surprise when Spyker Ltd. founder and CEO Victor Muller decided to hold an invite-only event at Naples Motorsports to unveil the Spyker C8 Preliator Spyder. A car that has only been in the United States one other time. That being at the New York Auto show.
The inside styling reminds me of what my friends at Comic-Con refer to as “Steam Punk” with my favorite styling feature being the shifter. No, that’s not a type-o, an actual good ole manual shifter. I have to say in the sea of exotics it’s refreshing to grab on to something with substance and shift rather than flick my fingertips on some video game inspired paddle shifters. They do recommend the manual, but they will produce it with those new fangled flippers if you really want.
The unveiling of the Spyker-Spyder in Naples was all the more impressive when one realizes that the Dutch manufacturer has only built 267 cars over the last 17 years. Rare indeed.
For those who might be a petrol head like myself, you might be asking, “What’s powering this beauty?” Only a V-8 from Swedish manufacturer Koenigsegg Automotive AB. 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds and it will tip the dial past 200mph. Spyker CEO Victor Muller was quoted as saying “designed as an aircraft with no wings.” Shoot, even their logo has a propeller on it displayed prominently on the steering wheel. A nod to their earlier history in aviation.
A quick look at the cockpit transforms you back to the 30’s and maybe if you are a fan, memories of The Rocketeer comic book. The dash has a beautifully milled aluminum finish, the interior is quilted leather and the ignition switch even has a red guard over it. Images of “Maverick” and “Goose” from the “Top Gun” movie strapping themselves into their F-14 Tomcat instantly filled my head.
And of course, what would an exotic be without scissor doors?
So the next time you want to take that automotive get away, don’t think Monterey or Carmel in California. Come pay us a visit in Naples, Florida. The Revs Institute will speak to the history, art and importance of the automobile in the advancement of humankind while outside the building in surrounding Naples, you will catch an eyeful of the latest in automotive technology.
As you contemplate that invitation, a big thank you to Mike Urbine and Naples Motorsports for the video and images of the Spyker Spyder.