Living so close to Alki, a beautiful beach neighborhood in West Seattle, has a lot of benefits. High on that list for me is that I can take a quick drive, bike ride or walk down Alki and watch a beautiful sunset. In this case, it was a quick drive to capture some photos as the sun was setting and soon after.
This one was my favorite…as you can tell because I made it the header of the blog now 😍
After the sun had set, I wanted to capture a few skyline photos but this was just a quick set. I need to go back and have some real fun.
I’ve been a member of the Porsche Club of America (PCA) since I was still a teenager and bought my first 911, an old SC Targa in need of a lot of love. I’ve belonged to my local chapter, PNWR, for many years. I’m active in the club, even serving on the board as the Secretary and unofficial photographer whenever they let me. As they say, membership has its benefits and in this case, the benefit was getting to meet a true American endurance racing legend, Hurley Haywood. Hurley is an accomplished driver with a long list of victories. He’s also a great story teller, and it was a fantastic experience to hear his stories of racing, and of his personal life, directly from the legend himself. Hurley is one of the few openly gay race car drivers and in 2019, Queerty magazine named him one of the Pride50 “trailblazing individuals who actively ensure society remains moving towards equality, acceptance and dignity for all queer people”.
As if the countless stories, a million autographs and lengthy Q&A wasn’t enough…there was a surprise guest that we all got to get up close and personal with. A Porsche 962 race car…a very rare treat indeed!
Avants is an awesome car club that I’ve written about before with an inclusive, “Drive Everything” motto. It started locally but is quickly growing nationwide…like Fight Club but with less blood. Long drives in a convertible with summer tires become rare as we get into the fall and winter. Heading over our local mountain passes becomes the domain of the AWD vehicle. When I saw that some Avants members had planned a tour across Highway 2 to Leavenworth (cool Bavarian style town), on a weekend where the weather looked warm enough to not die, I was in.
The plan was to meet up at Tulalip Casino early in the morning, drive Hwy 2 over Stevens Pass to Leavenworth, grab lunch and then head back. Temps were going to be in the 50s and it would be dry…no problem. Problem. When I looked at the weather, I forgot to factor in the time of day. Temps would be in the low 50s in the afternoon, but in the morning, as Shep and I started our drive, temps were in the low 30s. It was dry fortunately, but I was a bit worried about traction and we took it easy the whole time. Still, getting over Stevens Pass felt sketchy so on the way home, we made a loop instead of a u-turn and drove to Cle Elum and back to Seattle on I90…it was warmer and dryer coming over Snoqualmie Pass.
We had a great collection of people and cars show up pre-sunrise to meet each other and talk about the route. The pup in the orange Lamborghini convertible was a big hit!
We stopped along the way for a bathroom break and a photo opportunity. I was digging the artistic wrap on this Lexus:
Shep was hungry so we split off from the big group and found a cool diner off Hwy 2 for lunch and some milkshakes. A well deserved reward for a great co-pilot. Shep insisted it was top-down for the rest of the day and we drove over Stevens and Snoqualmie passes, with temps in the 30s and 40s, top down and the heat blasting. A perfect day by my measure.
It is frighteningly true that in the fall, Seattle always seem to be over-taken by millions of spiders. I’m talking arachnophobia levels of the little suckers. I think it’s a sign that the weather is about to change and things are turning colder. It isn’t surprising to see dozens of small spider webs in the backyard…maybe hundreds in some years.
Truth be told, this post has nothing to do with the web weaving spiders and was simply an excuse to post one of my favorite recent photos of my very own Spyder looking pretty beautiful this fall season:
What do you do when you’ve waited a year for a perfect car to arrive, made by a company that has been working tirelessly for 90 years to make the perfect sports car? You modify it and make it your own of course! I’ve never owned any car that I left fully stock. Whether it was a tape deck and a pair of 6x9s, to aftermarket wheels or a supercharger, customizing a car is one of the most fun aspects to being a gearhead.
It started before I even took delivery. My car has carbon fiber interior accents but the shifter didn’t match. I had the dealer source a carbon fiber shifter from a 911R, one of the most driver focused modern 911s ever built. It’s a beautiful piece of jewelry and feels great in the hand.
Before I traded in the Turbo, I pulled the Antigravity battery out of it for use in the Spyder. These lithium car batteries are just as powerful as a normal lead-acid battery, last 3x longer, and they are crazy light. 40 pounds lighter in my case. Swapping the battery was an easy procedure although I had to take the air compressor housing out of the car to get access to some bolts. A twenty minute swap in total and the easiest weight I will ever lose 😂
Porsche has spent many millions developing their Porsche Active Suspension Management system that controls the suspension of their cars. So naturally, one of the first changes to the car involves ripping out their PASM controller and installing a DSC Controller made by a small automative racing and engineering team, DSC Sport / TPC Racing. I used the DSC controller in my Turbo and it was a night and day upgrade. More compliant and comfy over rough roads and more stable at speed, the perfect combo. It also makes sport mode usable on the street. Install in the Spyder was even easier than in the Turbo where I had to lay upside down in the passenger footwell. In this case it was very accessible in the front trunk. These controllers are always in demand and hold their value. I pulled the one from the Turbo, sold it, and used the money to buy this one.
So what’s next…driving the damn thing! Then maybe a new exhaust 😁
On Saturday, I got up early to drive from Seattle to Carnation and join some some fellow PCA/PNWR members for an all day drive. We explored some beautiful roads and I had the chance to see how the car did on the highway, beautiful curvy mountain roads, crappy rutted out backroads, dry roads, unexpected wet leaf covered roads in tight corners and everything in between. I’m in love with this car and it is the most fun car I’ve ever driven. Here are some initial impressions:
What I love
This is the prettiest car that I’ve ever owned and one of the nicest looking cars on the road today. There isn’t a bad angle to be found on this car. It was the design of the Spyder that first caught my eye and while it is just a fancy Boxster, it sure sets itself apart visually. This is the only convertible that looks as good with the top up as with the top down. Okay…nearly as good.
This car is the most fun car to drive that I’ve owned. This car handles like no car I’ve owned before. All of the clichés are true. Go-Kart…on rails…etc. The car feels like it is pivoting around me. I knew it would feel different from a 911 but I underestimated just how different. The way the Spyder grips the road, and tucks into a corner is more confidence inspiring than any previous sports car that I’ve owned. This is also my first GT Porsche so I’m comparing it to bigger heavier AWD modern 911s and older cars.
Best manual I’ve ever owned/driven. I wanted a manual for the touring style driving I do where enjoyment/engagement is a higher priority than speed. I’m a huge fan of auto-blip and this transmission is a blast to use.
I expected this car to feel slow given I’m coming from a tuned 600hp Turbo. Sure, the Turbo is faster, but the 4.0 engine in the Spyder feels anything but slow. Keep it in the right gear and you have all the power you will ever need and then some.
I love the purpose built interior. I opted for black/silver stitch with some extra leather and I have the 2-way seats. I find the interior to be classy, understated, uncluttered and a great place to spend some time. It feels bigger than I expected. I didn’t need to read the owners manual to know how to work anything because there are so few gizmos and things work as expected. Nothing gets in the way of the driving experience but it also doesn’t feel stripped down.
Ride comfort is better than expected. I was expecting a brutal/harsh ride and it is anything but. The stock Spyder is far more comfortable and compliant than my 2011 Turbo S was even after the DSC Controller was added in.
Exhaust note at higher RPM seems good…I’m waiting for a few thousand miles before considering any exhaust changes.
Porsche brakes are always amazing and PCCBs do not disappoint. Incredible stopping power, lightweight and lifetime brakes off the track. I had them on my Turbo and I’m glad I checked that box for this car.
Putting the top up and down is easier than I expected it to be. Takes 30 to 45 seconds and my top closes without much effort.
What I don’t love
The cold start on this engine sounds like a diesel truck. It is loud but not in a pleasing way or even in a “I’m a fire breathing sports car so get out of my way” way. That settles down pretty quickly and perhaps it will get better with time but I wish it sounded better from first crank.
Why doesn’t the USB port in the glovebox connect to CarPlay…that is such an easy thing to get right.
Silver wheel color. I didn’t love any of the standard wheel colors but I picked silver. It is a boring silver paint in my opinion and I plan to change it up at some point. I do love the wheel design…looks like spider legs to me which is perfect for the car.
I wish I was the type of person that could just take delivery of a Porsche and drive the hell out of it from the start, rock chips be dammed. I love the way waxed paint looks without any protection on it and would shun paint protection film (ppf) and run “naked” if the sound of rocks pinging off the car didn’t make me cringe. Embrace patina…yes, I wish I was that person.
Since I’m not that person, I put myself in the capable hands of Cesar, the owner of Pista Film Solutions in Burien. They have one of the best reputations in town, do incredible work with XPEL film and he could squeeze me into his schedule the day I took delivery. His team works hard to make sure every seam is hidden so unless you are looking for it, and within a few inches of the car, you can’t even tell the car has any film on it at all. I opted for the track package but I added full door protection and they did more of the rear wheel arch/bumper as well to hide the seams:
The team did an incredible job and managed to get it all done by mid-day Friday so I could have it for the weekend. Shep came with me to pick it up and we managed to enjoy a top-down drive on the way home…I think he loves it as much as I do!
Some additional glamour shots with the car all protected, shined up and sporting the custom Porsche crest that I had Cesar install which is a perfect match for my white/black/silver theme (click a photo to see the gallery):
After a 6 month delay, after sitting at port in Houston for 6 months and after getting a new factory fresh engine, I got the word that my Spyder had been released from recall jail and arrived at the dealership in Oklahoma City. The dealer, Porsche Oklahoma City, even sent me proof of life:
We finalized the paperwork, completed the trade-in of my beautiful black 911 Turbo S and the dealership got busy preparing the car for delivery. Wrapping was removed, the whole car was, accessories were installed (yes, I’m modifying the car already), and transportation to Seattle was arranged. I appreciated Ryan, the GM of the dealership, doing everything he could to move it along fast. Papers were signed and the car was on the way to Seattle a few days later.
In two short days, thanks to the great team at NW Elite Transport LLC, it arrived. I was as interested in their beast of a transport truck as I was my car. Okay, almost as interested! In typical Seattle fashion, a heavy rain greeted the arrival of my new convertible 😂
I enjoyed a very excited but nervous drive home. It takes a while to bond with a car, to learn the ins and outs of how it, but this car was easy to fall in love with immediately. Even in the rain with the top up, this car handles like a go-kart while still being a welcoming place to spend some time. No punishing ride here even on the rutted, railroad crossing filled roads where I took delivery. I took it home to show Meg and to get back to work with my new office mate (my home office is in my garage). Sorry for the blurry photo but I was in a daze 🙂
Like any good persnickety porsche owner, I couldn’t just drive my car and enjoy it…I had to immediately take it to a shop to have clear paint protection film (PPF) installed. Our roads, especially in the winter, are terrible and we have a ton of rocks. PPF is nearly invisible and does a great job of protecting the paint from rock chips. So on the day of delivery, I drove it to Pista Film Solutions and went home carless again 🙂 I’ll pick it up on Friday and then I’m never getting out of it!