Crowd-funding projects are quickly emerging as the way to get things done in the tech business, and the idea is even jumping into other fields as well. But it hasn't exactly caught on just yet in the automotive industry. A few months ago we reported on a crowd-funding campaign to revive the Castle Three Motor Company to build a retro trike roadster similar to the Morgan 3 Wheeler, and various outfits have attempted to harness the public's contributions to jump-start electric vehicle development. But while those projects haven't gotten very far (as of yet), Spyker very well could.
For those unfamiliar, Spyker is a Dutch sports car manufacturer that has taken on some rather ambitious projects. It's produced successive versions of the C8 over the years, but canceled plans for the Zagato-designed C12, has repeatedly postponed plans for a high-end SUV, got in over its head with its own Formula One team and ultimately had to divest itself from the sinking ship that was Saab. But now it's trying to get back on track with the B6 Venator.
Expected to be half as expensive as the $300k+ C8 Aileron, the new B6 was unveiled in concept form at last year's Geneva Motor Show and as a Spyder roadster concept at Pebble Beach just months later. Production is scheduled to gear up later this year, with the first US deliveries to follow next year. While the C8 often arrives in collections as an owner's seventh or eighth car, the B6 will more likely be a buyer's third or fourth.
Spyker says it's amassing orders, but in order to actually start production, it needs capital. That's why it's turning to a rather unconventional way of financing the project. Rather than simply taking deposits to get started, Spyker is selling bonds. Each of the 100 bonds will be priced at £100,000 ($167,000 at today's rates) and be redeemable for one Spyker B6 Venator, which itself will be priced at £125,000 – a quarter more than what the bonds are being sold for. Alternatively, investors will have the option to cash out the bond after three or four years, or turn it into stock if Spyker issues an IPO.