The Dutch automaker Spyker appears to have plenty of lives, though it has so far burned through quite a few of them. Now, it is ready to rise from the dead one more time.
The company, which attempted – and subsequently failed to pull off – the revival of Saab after buying it from General Motors a decade ago, has lined up new backers, including a Russian oligarch. It now hopes to bring three new models to production, including the C8 Preliator that it unveiled at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.
“The collaboration agreement which we signed today, is the highlight of months of our relentless efforts to build a solid Spyker company which disposes of both technical as well as financial means to achieve its business objectives,” Spyker CEO Victor Mueller said in a news release. “My gratitude goes out to Boris Rotenberg and Michail Pessis for the trust they both placed in us.”
Rotenberg is ranked by Forbes as one of the 100 wealthiest people on the planet. He made his money in a variety of businesses. He owns Russia’s SMP Bank and is co-owner of the SGM group, the largest construction company for gas pipelines and electrical power supply lines in Russia. He also runs motorsports firm BR Engineering and, with Pessis, is co-owner of the successful SMP Racing team. Pessis himself owns several auto and racing ventures, including the German tuner firm R-Company.
They are teaming up with Victor Mueller, a native of The Netherlands and serial entrepreneur who was trained as a lawyer but made his initial fortune in the shipping world.
A high performance car fan, Mueller decided to build a car of his own design, reviving the name of a pioneering Dutch car company that had been out of business for nearly a century. The venture was one of many niche players in the automotive world, producing only a couple hundred largely hand-built exotics before it attempted the gargantuan task of buying the assets of Saab following General Motors emergence from bankruptcy in 2010.
The task proved overwhelming, though Mueller, in a multi-billion-dollar lawsuit, claimed GM was ultimately to blame for his failure. The suit was eventually rejected by the courts and, in 2014, Spyker Automobielen filed for bankruptcy. Saab’s assets eventually wound up in the hands of a Chinese-backed company, NEVS, which itself has struggled and now hopes to go all-electric.
For the last six years, Mueller has repeatedly promised to bring Spyker back, revealing products, producing a handful, and announcing a series of potential funding deals. That included an abortive tie-up with Volta Volare, an American electric aircraft start-up.
(Click Here for details about Spyker’s emergence from bankruptcy.)
The new partnership with Rotenberg and Pessis appears to be the most solid to date, at least based on the finances the two men have available.
Spyker now aims to have the C8 Preliator in production sometime next year. The Dutch company also wants to revive two other models, the B6 Venator sports car and the D8 Peking-to-Paris SUV.
All three use lightweight aluminum construction and are expected to continue relying on a 4.2-liter V-8 provided by Audi. Spyker products all feature a somewhat retro aero theme to their designs, starting with the propeller logo borrowed from the original company which was involved in both the automotive and aircraft fields.
The deal also aims to set up a flagship store in the European capital of excess, Monaco.
The new partners also suggested that Spyker will return to racing, teaming up with Rotenberg’s SMP team.
In a joint statement, Rotenberg and Pessis said, “We really look forward to become a part of this new chapter for the epic Spyker brand. Our group of companies will launch the Spyker brand successfully in the league of the world’s best super sportscars.”