The 918 Spyder – Part 2
Every single manufactured product today must start a single step; the idea. A, sometimes completely innocuous, concept of being that, oftentimes, many would say is unnecessary or ridiculous. Let’s be honest here, if someone told me I could have a little robot vacuum my house every day to keep it clean, that would have seemed ridiculous years ago; yet today, many households utilize a Roomba to clean the house. Hell, automobiles started as a ‘fad’, were considered impractical, and unaffordable; and eventually, Henry Ford mass-produced automobiles and they took off like wildfire.
And that’s exactly how the Porsche 918 Spyder began, an idea of creating the ultimate production performance machine. First unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, the 918 Spyder was nothing more than an idea brought one step further, into concept. Yet, April Wolfgang Duerheimer, head of development at Porsche at the time stated if 1,000 customers showed interest, they would consider production of the 918. As we know, many more than 1,000 customers showed interest on the 918 Spyder, and it did eventually hit production.
But why? What about this vehicle, of all vehicles, drove such passion in their customer base that they would pay so many hundreds of thousands of pounds, dollars, or whatever currency they had to buy this car? I would daresay it’s because of the challenge to show interest; Porsche’s passion for defying logic, defying the rules, and defying expectations is what truly set them apart as a brand originally, the 918 Spyder is the physical embodiment of that defiance.
Now, when I mean defiance, passion, and all this, what I’m referring to is the original Porsche racecar that sold the hearts of millions, and still does to this day: the 917 Salzburg. Built under the guidance of Ferdinand Piech back in the late 1960s, Ferdinand went above and beyond to create the best possible racecar to beat Ford at Le Mans and other circuits. Within ten months of concept, the 917 was built based of the Porsche 908. However, to get around a stipulation that racecars could only utilize 5.0-liter engines if there were 25 produced, running versions of the vehicle, Ferdinand had 25 917s made. Inspectors came, Ferdinand offered to let them test the vehicles, which was declined, and the 917 was approved for racing; had the vehicles been tested however, the inspectors for the racing committee would have realized half the vehicles were using trucks suspension to shortcut production.
Ferdinand embodied the defiance of everything to create what would long be considered the ultimate in racing capabilities from Porsche, which has rarely known defeat. That same passion and defiance can be found in the design of the 918 Spyder, utilizing early hybrid technology, incredibly efficient body design, and radical power to create a super car unlike any other at the time. And still to this day, the magic captured in that design and passion can be found throughout the Spyder.