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of torque the engine generates at 4900 rpm and at 7.0-psi boost.Mark Bailey's enthusiasm shows as he leads me through the manufacturing shop, pointing out the massive chrome-moly steel tube frame, the aluminum-honeycomb floorpan, and the aluminum panels that are epoxy-bonded and riveted to the frame to form monocoque crush zones.In a few eye-blinks—a paltry 4.2 seconds—60 mph is reached, an instant before the 1-2 shift. That figure places the Vector well ahead of such standard-bearers as the Acura NSX (14.0 sec.), Ferrari Testarossa (14.2) and Corvette ZR-1 (13.4).Whooping like a big-bore Can-Am car, the Vector continues its charge down the strip with increasing ferocity; vortices of sand and track debris swirl into the vacuum created as its wedgy form cleaves an opening through the air. Its acceleration and speed are admission to a far more exclusive club, the charter members be­ ing the Ferrari F40 and yet untested Lamborghini Diablo. To answer my every question and provide a guided tour of Vector's facilities was Mark Bailey, vice president of production, ex-Northrop employee and past Can-Am-series competitor.A weak economy and damaging criticism from the automotive press dashed efforts to secure financial backing, he says, and his dream of producing a ground-bound fighter plane for the street seemed destined to remain just a dream.

Naysayers need only visit the final assembly area, where the two cars we photographed were being prepped for shipment to their new owners in Switzerland (the first production Vector W8 Twin-Turbo was sold to a Saudi Arabian prince, an addition to his 25-car collection, which also contains a Porsche 959 and a Bentley Turbo R).

As beautifully done as the engine itself are the mounting plates that position it transversely in the bay.

Blue anodized and relief-milled from billets of aluminum , one bolts to the accessory side of the block, and the other doubles as an engine/transmission adapter plate.

In the Vector's case, the energy-absorbing areas are monocoque, because that's what they do best." The body, made from varying amounts of carbon fiber, Kevlar, fiberglass mat and unidirectional fiberglass, is structurally unstressed.

A stiff chassis is all the better to take loads from the massive suspension pieces.

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