History of the 1996-1999 Vector M12
The history of Vector is complicated, involving several models over a period of almost 30 years. The Vector brand has been carried by several corporate entities, but generally under the control of Gerald Wiegert, who began designing and marketing supercars in the early 1970s. After 20 years in business and with fewer than 30 cars produced, his company became officially known as Vector Aeromotive Corporation. Vector was acquired in a hostile 1993 takeover by MegaTech, an Indonesian company based in Bermuda. MegaTech had also acquired Automobili Lamborghini, and ousted Wiegert from control over Vector.
The Vector M12 is one of the models from the MegaTech era and used a marriage of existing designs and technology from Vector Aeromotive and Lamborghini. Previous Vector models always started with a W for Wiegert. This time, the M in M12 stood for MegaTech.
The new Vector M12 drivetrain was a 5.7-liter V12 design rated at 492 hp and 425 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mid-mounted with a five-speed manual gearbox that drives the rear wheels. Times from 0-60 are in the neighborhood of 4.4 seconds, with a quarter-mile time of 12.4 seconds at 118 mph.
Vector cars had always been similar in appearance to Lamborghini’s wedge-shaped designs, and in addition to the Lamborghini drivetrain, the M12 was based on a Lamborghini Diablo chassis that had been lengthened and given more surface features. In particular, the expansive wrap-around windshield that is a signature Vector feature dominates the greenhouse area. It ticked all the right exotic supercar boxes, but with a price tag of $189,000, the M12 did not catch on and MegaTech ended production in 1999. Just 18 Vector M12 examples were ever built, including four prototypes and 14 production cars.
The Vector M12 remains controversial. Critics would call it ostentatious, while fans embrace its vulgarity and argue that being ostentatious is the whole point with cars like the Vector. With so few examples in the world (two are known to have been severely damaged over the years), the current price is whatever was last paid for one. The car received uniformly critical reviews from sources such as Top Gear and Autoweek magazine, but they do have character and will draw a crowd wherever they go.