Spyker was a Dutch car manufacturer, started in 1880 by coachbuilders Jacobus and Hendrik-Jan Spijker, but to be able to market the brand better in foreign countries, in 1903 the 'ij' was changed into 'y'. They were originally based in Hilversum but in 1898 moved to Trompenburg, Amsterdam.
In 1898 Spyker manufactured the "Golden Carriage", still in use by the Dutch Queen today.
It was also in 1899 that they started building automobiles and in 1900 put their first models on display, two cylinder 3 hp and 5 hp similar to the Benz. Four cylinder models were introduced in 1903, along with the six cylinder Spyker 60 HP, a racer with the world's first ever four-wheel drive car with a single engine and four-wheel brakes. An engine with six cylinders was also a world's first.
The 1905 cars featured a round radiator grille which became a feature of many of the pre war cars. In 1913 the company was having financial problems again and in 1915 was taken over by new owners and renamed Nederlandsche Automobiel en Vliegtuigfabriek Trompenburg (Dutch Car and Aircraft company). Under the new owners, the previous complex model range was simplified and a new car, the 13/30 C1, introduced; sales were disappointing. In 1907, an 18 hp model successfully competed in the Peking to Paris race.
Hendrik-Jan Spijker died in 1907 when the ferry he was on when returning from England sank, and this loss led to the bankruptcy of the original company. A group of investors bought the company and restarted production, but Jacobus Spijker was no longer involved.
During World War I, in which the Netherlands were neutral, they manufactured airplanes and aircraft engines.
In 1922 the company went bankrupt again and was acquired by Spyker's distributor in Britain who renamed the company Spyker Automobielfabriek. Production continued and prices dropped but the company continued to decline. Final production was of the C2 two-ton truck and the C4 car which lasted until 1926 when funds finally ran out.
It is estimated total Spyker car production was at most 2000 cars.
In 1999, a new company, Spyker Cars was founded, unrelated to the original company but for the brand name.
Both Spyker brand automobiles appear on Dutch postage stamps (first day of issue: May 10, 2004).
The car driven by Kenneth More in the 1953 film Genevieve, about the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, is a 1904 Spyker.
Full article ▸