- Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

When you think off-road cars, what immediately pops into your head? A Land Rover perhaps, or an early G-Wagon? Or possibly the Willys Jeep that helped the American troops defeat Mr Hitler.

Whatever it is you're thinking about, chances are it's from an established brand with a long, illustrious history of all things mud, snow and sand.

What you probably weren't thinking of however, was anything made in the Netherlands. But here's the thing: way before all the iconic Defenders and Wagoneers and so on, a little company called Spyker was cooking up something special in 1903.

Image credit: Wikipedia

Image credit: Wikipedia

It was called the Spyker 60hp. It was the first car to have a six-cylinder engine and - believe it or not - was the first ever car to come with 4WD. It even had brakes all round - barely heard of in those days!

It was a competitive thing on paper, but sadly it wasn't ready in time for the Paris-to-Madrid race in that same year. Pity really.

Nevertheless, a more standard Spyker - an 18hp - competed in the viciously long and gruelling 1907 Peking-to-Paris rally. Amazingly, it finished in second place!

So, based off this frankly fascinating backstory, Spyker arguably has a more valid right than anyone else to come up with an SUV at some point?

That's exactly what happened 100 years later.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Called the D12 Peking-to-Paris, this excessive-looking thing was powered by the same 6.0 litre W12 as you got in a Bentley. It churned out 500bhp, had suicide doors and looked liked a second world war bomber from the future... mmm, lovely.

The rather beautiful work of art was changed though; plans for a production model ditched the 12-cylinder engine and a 5.0 litre V8 from Koenigsegg was given the go-ahead. The car was appropriately re-named the D8, but still kept the Peking-to-Paris label.

Also, does anyone else remember the car from Test Drive Unlimited 2? That's how I first came to know about it.

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/39527581@N07/

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/39527581@N07/

Unfortunately however, a big scar of bad luck was to kill the D8 project. And it was partly because of what happened to Saab.

The alleged plan was that Saab would help develop the D8, as Spyker had recently acquired ownership of the Swedish brand in 2010. But as further complications surrounding GM and finances increased, Saab was axed in 2011.

I'm suspecting this meant Spyker couldn't continue with the planned project - even if they said it would be ready by 2014. It was nothing short of an embarrassment for the brand.

There has however, been some noise about them bringing the project to life again. An Autocar interview in 2017 suggested they have plans to introduce it within the 'next decade' with a hybrid powertrain. All we can do is hope...

Image credit: Wikipedia

Image credit: Wikipedia

Overall though, I find the whole thing a bit of a shame, to be honest. Not just because we didn't get to see this wonderful-looking thing on the road, but rather because the time to bring out an SUV is NOW.

This is a case of a great idea coming far too early; a lot like when Microsoft brought out those SPOT watches. It did pretty much the same thing as a the digital Apple watch, but arrived 11-years earlier.

Thanks for reading

I hope you enjoyed this article. What are your thoughts on the idea of a Spyker SUV? Do you think it would've worked? Let me know.

But if you want to say anything else, feel free!

Thanks.

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