An Agile, Aerodynamic Arachnid
Apr 18, 2018 01:28PM
By Ryan Borchers
Jay Leno…Jerry Seinfeld…Jason Pittack.
These “Js” are three of less than 1,000 people in the world to own a Porsche 918 Spyder—specifically, they are three of 918 owners of this vehicle.
“In the Midwest, there were only two copies of this car that I am aware of,” says Steve Gehring, president of the Great Plains Region of the Porsche Club of America. “Jason drove his around Omaha, so it was spotted here and there and people got to look at one.”
Pittack, the dealer principal for Woodhouse, likens his liquid-silver, 887-hp Spyder to a rocket ship—the car sports a 600-horsepower, eight-cylinder engine and two additional electric motors.
That’s because the 918 was developed to have a powerful hybrid drive with the efficiency and ecologic consciousness modern drivers desire. Porsche, Pittack says, comes out with a “supercar” about every 10 years to serve as a showcase for the future of its technology. The hybrid technology tested on the 918 is today available in the Porsche Panamera Turbo S (which was unveiled last year) and is in production with next year’s Mission E, Porsche’s first fully-electric car.
Besides being the dealer principle for Omaha’s Porsche dealership, he is a car guy.
“It’s been in my blood since day one,” he says, as evidenced by the fact that the first word he ever spoke was “car.” (The second two, for those who are curious, were “here’s” and “Johnny.”)
He owned, and enjoyed owning, the previous Porsche supercar, and knew when Porsche announced the 918 that the hybrid supercar would be a hot item. He put a deposit on the $950,000 car the first day they announced the concept in 2010.
Then, the wait began. Concept to production on this car took three years. The specific car he purchased was the 34th off the line and the fourth to come to the United States from Germany. The vehicle was flown to Atlanta by jet (it had a plane ticket) and was loaded onto a trailer from Reliable Carriers, the company known for delivering cars to the Daytona 500 and Barrett Jackson Auction.
The car was worth the wait, as he saw in October 2014. The acceleration will make a car fan’s hair stand on end, but the stops for fuel are infrequent.
“It’s a zero to 60 in 2.2 seconds, and we average 40 miles per gallon with it.” Pittack says.
Not that he accelerates that fast that often. Pittack and his wife don’t take it on long trips, or even the speedway, but it might be seen at the grocery store or the parking lot outside their favorite restaurant. The top pops off easily to turn into a convertible, making it a good all-seasons car. The fact that it’s built with carbon fiber makes it very lightweight.
And about that engine?
“You can use [the hybrid engines] in any combination. You can drive the vehicle like a true hybrid in all-electric,” he says. “You can drive it in electric to where the gas kicks on when you romp on it a little bit. You can drive it in the electric/gas combination at all times, and you can do it in just a full-out race mode where everything is just going nuts.”
And you do all that with the touch of a button on the steering wheel.
“It’s meant to be very intuitive on the inside. Just everything’s touch-feel,” Pittack says. “Using the inside of this car is like using an iPad or iPod.
Like the rare piece of art that this is, its value has appreciated to about $1.5 million. Given the value, one may be inclined to let it sit and never drive it at all. In fact, the second Porsche 918 in the area was never driven. That was owned by Pittack's father, Lance, until February. Jason, though, loves using his car. It's a fact that makes Gehring happy.
“Porsche cars are meant to be driven in our view, all of us who have them love to drive as many different models as possible,” Gehring says. “That one, for the average enthusiast is unattainable. Most of us will never see one, never drive one.”
“I drive all my stuff,” he says, and the Spyder is his current favorite vehicle. “It’s the fastest, but it’s also the most user-friendly.”
This article was printed in the April/May 2018 edition of B2B.