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Two 17th century coachbuildesrs, Jacobus and Hendrik-Jan Spijker went into business together in 1880. After tiring of correcting the pronunciation of their company name for customers outside their native Netherlands, they changed the spelling to Spyker, so people could get it more readily. The most noted Dutch coachbuilder of their time, the Spijker brothers produced one of the most famous carriages in the world.

In 1999, Victor Muller and Maarten de Brujin acquired the rights to the name to brand their C8 Spyder and the glass-roofed C8 Laviolette mid-engine exotic sports cars. Powered by a 400-horsepower Audi V8, these modern Spyker machines were fast, elegant, and very engaging to drive. They were capable of accelerating from zero to 60 in 4.5 seconds and could attain a top speed of 190 miles per hour.

The C8 Double 12 S followed the C8 in 2002. This model was available in various stages of tune, with outputs ranging from 400 to 620 horsepower. The next model was the 2003 C8 Spyder T. This time, with help from Cosworth Engineering the V8 was twin turbocharged and output was upped to 525 horsepower.

The all-aluminum, mid-engined, rear-wheel drive Spyker C12 Zagato debuted in 2007, featuring a 500-horsepower 6.0-liter W12 Volkswagen Group engine. The model was capable of acceleration from zero to 60 in less than four seconds. The Zagato was, of course, styled by the Italian design firm Zagato in Milan. Design cues included that firm’s trademark double bubble roof. Top speed was estimated at 195 miles per hour for the super car.

Up until February of 2010, all Spyker production had taken place in the Netherlands town of Zeewolde, in the country’s Flevoland province. That year, manufacturing operations were moved to Whitley, Coventry in England to better facilitate the constructing partnership with CPP Manufacturing.

Meanwhile, Spyker had been involved in talks with General Motors to take over Saab Automobile since November of 2009. After considerable difficulty, Muller finally got control of Saab in January of 2010 for $400 million. This predicated a name change for Spyker Cars to Swedish Automobile N.V. After more problems surfaced, Swedish Automobile was sold to National Electric Vehicle Sweden. The company’s name was then changed to Spyker N.V.

The company’s logo reflects its heritage both as a manufacturer of both cars and aircraft. The Latin inscription is the Spyker motto: “Nulla Tenaci invia est via” This translates in English to mean, for the tenacious no road is impassable.

Used Spyker cars do exist, but production numbers for these cars were very low. When you find a Spyker for sale, you’re looking at a very rare bird.