Spyker is a rarity in this era of automaker conglomerates and dwindling consumer demand — it's an independent company that builds exotic sports cars by hand. It only sells one model currently to the United States, but even in this limited capacity Spyker has made itself an interesting alternative to more established exotic brands.
The Spyker name goes back to the late 19th century. Two brothers, Jacobus and Hendrik Jan Spijker, started building their first cars in Amsterdam. In 1903 Spyker (the brothers changed the spelling of the company's name for easier worldwide recognition) introduced the 60/80 HP, a car that was quite advanced for its time with a six-cylinder engine, permanent four-wheel drive and four-wheel brakes.
With automotive demand dropping prior to World War I, Spyker chose to merge with a Dutch aircraft company. Spyker built aircraft during the war and subsequently drew on this experience to design its post-war cars. Most famous of these was the C4, which was known for its power and durability. Unfortunately, Spyker's business wasn't robust enough, and the company folded in 1925.
In 1999, a pair of Dutch businessmen bought the rights to the name and started a new company dedicated to building bespoke supercars for wealthy enthusiasts. Its first car, the C8, debuted at the 2000 Birmingham Motor Show. Official C8 sales for the United States market, however, didn't start until Spyker obtained the necessary governmental certification for 2009. The C8 is a true exotic sports car, boasting impressive performance and aircraft-inspired design elements.
Most recently, Spyker made news for its purchase of the Swedish automaker Saab from General Motors as part of GM's bankruptcy reorganization.