Thursday 21st February 1907
Hendrik Spijker (52) of Spyker drowned when his North Sea steamer broke up in a storm off the coast of the Hook of Holland, the Netherlands, and his loss led to the bankruptcy of the company. Spyker was a Dutch car manufacturer, started in 1880 by coachbuilders Jacobus and Hendrik-Jan Spijker, but to be able to market the brand better in foreign countries, in 1903 the ‘ij’ was changed into ‘y’. In 1898 Spyker manufactured the “Golden Carriage”, still in use by the Dutch Monarchy today. In 1899 they started building automobies and in 1900 put their first models on display, two-cylinder 3-hp and 5-hp similar to the Benz. Four-cylinder models were introduced in 1903, along with the six-cylinder Spyker 60 HP, a racer with the world’s first ever four-wheel drive car with a single engine and four-wheel brakes.An engine with six cylinders was also a world’s first. The 1905 cars featured a round radiator grille which became a feature of many of the pre-war cars. In 1907, an 18-hp model successfully competed in the Peking to Paris race. The Spyker Cars Company founded in 1999 is only related to the old firm by the name.