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1978-1998 Vector

The Second Generation Vectors
The new Vector could reach speeds up to 190 miles per hour.
The new Vector could reach speeds up to 190 miles per hour.

From a peak of more than three-quarters of a million dollars. Vectors had become reasonably priced, relatively speaking. At its introduction, the Vector M12 was announced with a retail price of $189,000.

With this lower price and improved assembly methods, Vector made known that it intended to build 96 cars in the 1996 calendar year, with the two display models already sold. Future plans included a subsidized lease and a 1997 run of 144 cars.

Riding on 18-inch diameter wheels and huge Michelin MXX3 tires, the Vector's acceleration to 60 miles per hour came in at under 4.5 seconds. Top speed was to be more than 190 miles per hour. Since the Lamborghini Diablo with the same engine recorded similar numbers, there was no reason to doubt the performance estimates.

Some very capable people were hired to lead the Vector into full production. lan Doble, chief engineer for Vector, had worked on the 1990 Lotus Elan and dohc V-8 for the Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1. Jim Router, who developed the McLaren Fl and Jaguar XJR-15 race car, reengineered the suspension for the new M12.

Michael Santoro, having just designed the 1995 Chrysler Cirrus and Dodge Stratus, was employed, along with McLaren Fl designer Peter Stevens, to draft a new exterior and interior.

After all of the reworking, the M12's wheelbase stretched five inches longer than that of the WX-3 to accommodate the new powertrain. A glass and carbon fiber/epoxy composite body covered the semi-monocoque chassis and chrome-moly steel roll cage.

Double-wishbone suspensions at the front and rear supported the car with the aid of coil shocks. Brembo supplied the brakes for the M12, which were identical to those found on the Lamborghini Diablo.

Instead of the transverse Chevrolet-derived V-8, a longitudinally-mounted Lamborghini V-12 engine powered the M12.

Transferring the power to the rear wheels was a rear-mounted (as opposed to the forward-mounted transaxle in the Diablo) five-speed manual ZF transaxle; a decided change from the previous automatic and semi-automatic three-speed transaxles.

Go on to the next page to read about continued problems for the Vector.

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