Spyker 60-HP Four-Wheel Drive

The Spyker 60HP, presented in 1903, but probably built in 1902, is the first car in the world with a six-cylinder engine and the first petrol-engined car with four-wheel drive and brakes on all four wheels. That makes it one of the most important cars in motoring history.

Built to race

The Spyker 60HP was commissioned by Jacobus Spijker for the Paris-Madrid road race. The design phase got off to a slow start, until the young Belgian engineer Joseph Valentin Laviolette joined the team. Laviolette, who had just recently started work for Spyker, had already designed an engine with six separate cylinders and was now able to manufacture it.

Blackpool & Birmingham races

However, the car was not ready in time for the race and was not launched until December 1903 in Paris. Two months later it was on display at Crystal Place in London. It only raced on a couple of occasions, both in England. One was the Blackpool races in Blackpool (1904), where the car finished in third place and the other in Birmingham in 1906, where it won the race.

Complete restoration

After being restored incompetently in the 1920s, and following the bankruptcy of the company in 1926, the Spyker 60 HP was bought by a former director. From 1953 to 1993 the car, which by that time had extensively modified bodywork, was housed in various Dutch museums until it was acquired by the Louwman Museum. The car was restored over a five-year period to its original condition as displayed at Crystal Palace in 1904.

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