We showed you last week how one Spyker found another, and it was love at first sight. Rob Spyker- a New Zealand native and distant relative of the Spyker automotive family- spent a few years searching for a project that he and his family could enjoy together. It only seemed like a perfect fit then when he got word of the chassis of a 1907 Spyker sitting lifeless in someone’s shed.
After over 10 years of work, countless hours of searching for parts and a few road blocks later, Rob and his family finally can show off the finished product. And it’s a gorgeous piece of work.
BoldRide: How long did the project take you from start to finish?
Rob: If I’m to call the car finished now (one or two very small things left to do) then around ten years of work. I was fortunate that for a few years I worked part-time so had a lot of time to work on the car. The total time in hours I didn’t take any note of but I spent a huge amount of hours on it. It took something like 50 Hours just to make the steering wheel.
What was the most difficult part of the restoration?
When I started the restoration I only had a chassis, I did not have an engine. I suppose it was a difficult choice to embark on a costly restoration when I may never have the engine to complete the car that was original. I knew of a engine that was in Christchurch (New Zealand) and ended up purchasing it off the owners estate when he died. As this is the only Spyker in the southern hemisphere and only one of about 15 spykers in total; I was very lucky to find a engine and chassis in the same country, let alone the same city.
What kind of barriers did you come across during the build?
A Spyker car is rare as hen’s teeth, and due to that fact there is not a lot of spare parts lying around the place. Spyker made most parts for the cars in house so did not out source parts that may have been generic for any car, this compounded the difficulty of finding parts. Fortunately there is another surviving 1907 15/22 Hp in Holland that I spent quite a bit of time crawling over, photographing and measuring so I could recreate exact parts that could not be found.
The actual build was reasonably straight forward, just time consuming as I had to learn to use a lathe, mill and panel beating skills etc to create the car. I only outsourced to other people when I had to (such as the leather seating).
How did you find the chassis?
I knew of a chassis for many years as it had been spotted dumped in a old river bed years ago. It had however gone from that location and no one seemed to know where. I spent many weekends chasing down what turned out to be false leads and really have given up. A friend on mine found the chassis under a house in a small farming community about 100 miles form Christchurch, and after a lot of persuasion let me have it.
How did it feel when you got the engine running for the first time?
Actually was quite a surprise as I did not think I had the ability to make it go. It was very short lived splutter and pop, but very exciting.
What are you going to do with the finished car?
This car will become a family heirloom and will not be sold. They are reasonably valuable cars and we would not be able to buy one even if we could afford one as they just do not appear on the market at all (family name also not a coincidence as related). We fully intend in a few years to travel our country (New Zealand) in it, and if it performs well ship it out of NZ to travel in it.
I have already travelled over 14000 km in the only other Spyker in private ownership (at that time) from bejing to paris in 2005. It showed how reliable and drivable a old car can be for travelling in.
Thanks to Rob for taking some time out to talk to us about this very cool project!