Monterey | Lot 255
1996 Vector M12
$250,000 - $300,000 USD
| Monterey, California
16 August 2019
- Offered from the Lingenfelter Collection
- Number 5 of only 14 examples built
- The only M12 originally finished in this color
- Powered by a Lamborghini 7.0-liter V-12 engine
- Just 6,000 miles from new
Jerry Wiegert’s winding road to supercar success came to a screeching halt in the mid-1990s. Vector Aeromotive’s downfall was unlike any the automotive world had ever seen before. The company’s demise—and later rebirth—makes the Tucker story seem like a fairy tale. Lurking behind the spy-novel-grade international intrigue that included a hostile takeover by the son of an Indonesian dictator was a highly advanced supercar with a 12-cylinder Italian heart.
The Vector M12 was the first car created under the company’s new MegaTech ownership, and while the story behind its creation is laced with drama, the new supercar largely fit the Vector mold. The M12’s development dates to the Vector Avtech WX-3 concept, which Wiegert displayed in coupe and roadster body styles at the 1993 Geneva Motor Show. The WX-3 made use of an in-house 7.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 pulled largely from the Vector W8. Just two WX-3s were built before MegaTech took over in 1994.
MegaTech moved the company’s operations from Southern California to suburban Jacksonville, Florida, where the company was housed in the same facility as Lamborghini’s North American operations. MegaTech had just acquired Lamborghini from Chrysler and hoped to use the consolidated firms to create American-Italian supercars.
The M12 debuted in production form at the Detroit Auto Show in 1996 and looked like a WX-3 but was based on a modified Lamborghini Diablo chassis and was powered by a mid-mounted version of the Diablo’s V-12 engine, which was positioned in front of the transmission. The M12 carried over the WX-3’s wedgy styling, though its interior was refined with Chrysler-era Lamborghini parts. Its American swagger was tuned down compared to the WX-3, and it spoke with a distinct Italian snarl.
With around 500 horsepower, the 3,600-pound rear-wheel-drive M12 was inarguably ferociously fast for a car built in the mid-1990s. It vaulted to 60 mph in fewer than five seconds, although contemporary media were divided on its refinement. MegaTech later sold Lamborghini to Audi, which cut off supply of the V-12 engine and essentially shut the doors on Vector until Wiegert was able to wrangle control again.
Just 17 M12s were ultimately built, only 14 of which were considered full production models. The car offered here is the fifth built and is the only one painted in this distinct purple hue. Showing just 6,000 miles, the M12 has been sparingly driven and is ready to be enjoyed again. With the relative ease of maintaining its series-production engine, the M12 represents a unique opportunity to acquire a highly drivable and intriguing slice of supercar history.