It’s a great week to be a classic car lover. One of the two privately owned Chrysler Turbine Cars sold, Jaguar is selling pairs of restored E-Types and now a 1999 Vector M12 will soon roll across an auction block. With only 2,160 miles on its odometer, it’s just begging for a new owner to give it a good drive.
Earlier today I presented you with a Lada 110 for sale in Texas. But what if you want something a bit less bland and for a lot more money? This 1999 Vector M12 is going across the Barrett-Jackson auction block on March 27. But this Vector M12 isn’t just any M12; this one was built for the Prince of Brunei.
Vector Motors is a strange automaker. Founded by Gerald Wiegert, the handful of cars the company made mixed aircraft and automotive design. The Vector W8's interior tried to emulate the feel of a jet while the exterior looked fast even while sitting still. It’s also the only car that I can think of to feature a Hobbs meter (a counter to measure the hours that a plane is in use). Unfortunately, Wiegert’s dream of supercars with aircraft cockpit panels for dashboards was interrupted by a hostile takeover by Megatech.
Vector Motors, then under control of Megatech, pumped out the M12. Out was the aircraft tech, in was a more traditional supercar for the era. Under the engine cover in back resides a Lamborghini 5.7-liter V12 engine; the same engine used in the Lamborghini Diablo. This engine makes 492 horsepower and 425 lb-ft torque. While the car retains some Vector touches like doors with split windows, it looks a bit like a bizarro-world Diablo.
Despite looking like it could slice through air and having the heart of a Diablo, it fell short of the Diablo’s performance. The Vector only tops out at around 190 mph to the Lamborghini’s 202 mph. Megatech only made 14 examples before production was cancelled.
This car is the 12th built and it’s a bit more unique than the others. According to the Barrett-Jackson listing, this car was built for the Prince of Brunei with its black exterior and bold red interior. That interior got an overhaul to accommodate taller passengers and to match the Italian supercar style of today.
So, what is a Prince’s car worth? Less than you’d think. The last time this car rolled across the auction block was just last year and it sold for $176,000. I expected at least $800,000, but I guess the Vector M12 isn’t that hot with collectors. It also hasn’t gained a single mile on its odometer since that last auction. How do you own this car and not drive it?!
A regular, not built for a Prince, Vector M12 had a price of $189,000 in 1999, reports Hagerty. That’s roughly $302,500 in today’s money. A part of me hopes its eventual new owner takes it on a road trip and maybe does a burnout or a few. Whatever they do, just drive the car.
Check out the auction at Barret-Jackson for more details on this car!