Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Vector: The American Supercar

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Vector: The American Supercar

Article excerpt

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. -- Almost as fast as a speeding bullet, more powerful than a herd of horses, it can whiz along big chunks of highway and guzzle gasoline in a single mile.

It's Vector M12, the newest supercar.

This sleek automobile is expensive, powerful and so fast it idles at 9 miles per hour. It probably should come with its own launch pad or wings.

"It's a strange kind of motor car," said D. Peter Rose, president of Vector Aeromotive, which is assembling the auto at a defunct Navy base in this North Florida river town.

For a mere $184,000 -- about the price of a nice home -- you can have one of the stealth-shaped, big-engine monsters to park in your garage.

With 490 horsepower, the Vector has a top speed of more than 190 miles per hour and can go from zero to 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds while still in first gear.

It uses up a lot of gas along the way, getting 9 miles to a gallon in city driving and 13 miles on the highway.

The company has been manufacturing the handmade vehicle for less than a year. Only eight have driven off the assembly line, but Vector plans to increase production to one a week and eventually about 150 a year.

"We want to keep behind the demand curve," Rose said.

The Vector is built in three stages: creation of the Fiberglas and carbon-fiber body, the building of the chassis and the integration of the body and chassis into a single unit.

It takes 32 days to get the car's 130 parts molded and have it painted.

Custom leather seats, suede dash board and other parts are constructed in the 25,000-square-foot factory. It takes 15 more days to attach them to the chassis and prepare the car for a shakedown cruise on the runways at this former military base that is now an industrial park.

The chassis contains side-impact beams and the front end of the mid-engine beast has foam filled aluminum boxes to lessen a front impact and has a completely integrated roll bar system. …

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