|Vehicle:||2015 Porsche 918 Spyder|
|Years Produced:||December 2013 through June 2015|
|Original List Price:||$845,000, plus options|
|Tune Up Cost:||$4,905 oil, plugs, all filters|
|Chassis Number Location:||Bottom of left side under windshield|
|Engine Number Location:||No one could tell me and there’s no reference in the owner’s manual|
|Club Info:||Porsche Club of America|
|Alternatives:||2014–16 McLaren P1, 2013–15 Ferrari LaFerrari, 2015–16 Aston Martin Vulcan|
This car, Lot 185, sold at $1,407,500, including buyer’s premium, at RM Sotheby’s Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction in Atlanta, GA, on October 27, 2018.
Countless articles containing thousands of effusive words have been written about the Porsche 918 Spyder and what a technological marvel it is.
Videos available online show how they were manufactured — giving you a hint at how NASA-esque the process was. Often mentioned alongside the McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari as a member of that holy trinity of hypercars, it is nothing short of breathtaking, transcendent and peerless within the Porsche and exotic-car worlds.
Even though that dead-silent ignition still takes some getting used to (I can’t be alone in not enjoying or accepting this hybrid quiet start), the automotive world seems to be in total agreement about how much of a “holy wow” this car is.
So why was it such a hard halo car to sell initially?
The only time this car was ever slow
The 918 was a slow burn and hard decision for even the most ardent Porschephile. Many were slow to step forward and order when this car was announced in 2013. The original uptake was so — dare I say this — disappointing.
Porsche had to conjure up the 918 Circle to entice potential buyers to pony up their $845k to $1 million-plus and order one. This program promised new 918 owners the option to be “first in the queue” when new limited-edition cars were announced — and you instantly became a VIP for various Porsche events.
This was nothing short of genius.
Now, not only are you the clever bugger who actually got a 918, you also had the opportunity to own a 911R, GT2RS, Cayman GT4, etc. as stablemates to the Spyder. Nifty — unless, of course, you’re on the outside looking in as a true Porsche fanatic and non-918 owner. (Insert angry-face, sour-grapes emojis here.)
We all have friends who were none too happy to be locked out of ordering new limited-edition cars because of this program, but I suspect Porsche would do it exactly like that again, as there’s nothing like being told, “Sorry, you can’t have one” to drive up sales. And drive up sales of these short-run cars they did.
But I digress…
No risk, no fun
My explanation for the slow initial uptake is simple. The 918 was a risk, the same way the Porsche 356 Speedster, Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato and McLaren F1 were risks.
None of those cars sold quickly or easily in period. Yes, they were revolutionary and gorgeous — but they were different. They were unique, expensive and not without detractors and haters.
Every automotive generation has examples of great cars that were received with a thud or a shrug. However, with the passage of time comes better appreciation, perhaps race success or wisdom, that feeds understanding and desire — which drives the psyche into a different state.
In the case of the 918, it didn’t take years before a great many souls kicked in wanting one. The mindset simply turned when the allotment quietly sold out. The slow burn became Dante’s Inferno overnight. There are lots of scorched souls who didn’t act — right, Zuck?
In the end, 297 Spyders were sold in the United States. Worldwide, 918 were delivered as promised. Allegedly, the original U.S. owners still have 220 of the cars.
What owners say about the car
Now let’s have a sampling from a few of the clever buggers who understood how to step up and have retained their rides, all four of which are very unique examples of this Spyder:
“ …a perfectly balanced ride in all driving conditions, as only a mid-engined sports car can be. Driving is effortless, and the sound of the exhaust, head high and two feet behind the cockpit, is an inspiration! Finally, having your butt five inches off the ground makes you feel as though you’re glued to the road.” — Ed A.
“The supercar built for the track that could be your daily driver. Drop-dead gorgeous, over-the-top performance, superb handling and yet so easy to drive. Here’s a three-car garage that has a Porsche for every mood and every occasion: a 356 Speedster, a 918 and a 911R.” — Bob “Pablo” L.
“As a 918 owner who is also fortunate to own both a 959 and Carrera GT, I find the 918 the easiest of these three iconic Porsches to drive. I marvel at its technology, incredible acceleration, and at the same time, its civility. I find the Carrera GT more exciting and the 959 the most complex — particularly when it comes to maintenance.
“I really am pleased with my choice of Viola Metallic for our 918, as it accents the lines of the car. I believe that the 918 will always be an important milestone in Porsche history as the halo model that began the transition to hybrid powertrains.” — Bob I.
“The value of any sports car is how well the technology involved transfers to the fun of using it.
“The immense amount of tech in a 918 does translate beautifully into an incredibly versatile driving experience.
“I’ll draw you a picture:
“I had a long, not-great day.
“I needed a drive and some air.
“I pulled the top off the 918, got out onto an empty high-speed highway, turned off the engine, turned up the music — and felt like I was in an 80-mph America’s Cup racing yacht.
“A unique, silent speed experience. 918 possible only.” — J.S.
You should have bought one
So sure, the $1,407,500 is market correct on Lot 185. It may seem really cheap in five years — especially if you’re lucky enough to be driving the car. ♦
(Introductory description courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.)