Black Magic: 1:18 Porsche 918 Spyder by Welly
At last, the best of the Trinity has arrived...at my house
The Porsche 918 has been one of my favorite cars for a long while. And why not? It combines classic Porsche engineering with a dash of modern hybridization. If you know me, you know I’ve loved Porsche since I was little, so adoration for this car is in my DNA. Better yet, my love is a part of the famed hypercar "Holy Trinity.” You know what it is - the three best hypercars in the world - the Porsche 918, McLaren P1, and Ferrari LaFerrari.
The 880+ horsepower 918 is a machine that has been hard to come by in the world of model cars. It’s even harder to come by for a fair price. Only Minichamps and Welly make sub $200 1:18 options. After ordering a $100+ 1:18 McLaren P1 and then having to wait for more than a month for delivery via LiveCarModel.com, I wasn't looking to spend big on the 918. My only real option was the Welly and I had to order it from a French, Porsche-obsessed website, Selection RS. This, too, was an experience when it came to transit-related wear and tear and customer service after it arrived.
For the $75 (plus $15-ish for international shipping) spent, I set my expectations where they needed to be: lenient. Though it’s riding the fine line between a toy and a collectors’ model at this price point, the 918’s packaging is nicely done and what you'd find at the $100+ price range. I like to save packaging so it was disappointing to see it arrive a little beat up due to its multi-thousand-mile journey. The car itself is a nice, solid 918 reproduction but nothing out of this world. Only the doors open but I don't fault Welly for this. Allowing the hood to open means having to reproduce engine detail and that drives up the production cost, and the end cost to us. Overall, the model’s detail is good but as fabulous as it could be at the $75 price point. My two major issues were Welly’s typical poorly recreated vents, and poorly formed rear panel that didn't dry correctly in the mold portion of its manufacturing.
When making a diecast body, molten metal is poured into a mold. The car’s panels are then shaped, and so on. Something went wrong during this process on my 918 as the corner end of the rear bumper dried facing outwards. Of course, no one likes spending a lot of money for an imperfect product, so I immediately thought “return it.” After waiting nearly a month for the 918 to get here I didn't want to wait another month for a replacement. So, I contacted Selection RS to see what could be done. They agreed to give me a 10% off voucher which I thought was weak, but it was that or a return so I took it. Adding insult to injury, I wasn’t able to use the voucher on another model before it expired because Selection RS never got back to me explaining how to apply it upon website checkout. Lame customer service, Selection RS. If you are going to sell internationally, you need to have international customer service which you apparently don’t.
Minus the rear bumper panel issue and because of the two digit spend, I thought Welly did a reasonable job on the exterior. Starting off on the nose, the carbon fiber trim that covers the front spoiler is well made with a visible weave pattern. The headlights are more realistic than many cars at this price, they don't feel like inexpensive plastic and are tight in place. Lower down are the wheels which are my favorite part of the exterior. This model wears the 918 Concept rims with center lock caps. It also has Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB), a standard feature in every Porsche from the 911 Carrera GTS and up. My 918, however, has Acid Green PCCBs to match the color theme found inside and out and further set it apart from other Porsches with PCCB.
As you move along to the rear, the first thing you’ll notice is the "918 Spyder'' text in bright green. Fun fact: while this car uses the "Spyder" name, it is actually a Targa top. Most people favor a full on convertible rather than a Targa top, so Porsche likely used that name for marketing purposes. On my Welly reproduction the 918 and Porsche text are done via stickers. It makes me sad to say the Porsche text is curved downwards starting with the "s'.” Lame, Welly. I know I shouldn’t complain too much because of the $75 price point but, man, the spoiler doesn't move. That is highly unfortunate because we all know how cool the 918 looks with it up. My final complaint on the exterior is the cheap look of exhaust pipes, something we all know I hate. Overall, the exterior isn’t as good as it could have been but reasonably well made for the price.
Inside the cabin
The exterior was a mix of good and bad but the interior is better. The Acid Green trim brings the otherwise colorless interior to life. Beginning with the door panel, we can see it's all carbon fiber. The weave pattern is visible in similar style to the exterior and looks stellar with a stripe of Acid Green across it. The door handles have also been made well, though there were unfortunately specs of dried black paint on the silver handle. The silver-outlined gauges, which are decals of course, were legible enough to read and contrast the rest of the black plastic. I wish the fuel gauge decal hadn’t been applied off-center, though. My last OCD-oriented comment is about the steering wheel which my eye found a bit too thin. I saw a plumper version of the steering wheel in various photos I've seen of the full size counterpart.
Compensating for that, the infotainment screen running down the space between the bucket seats is painted neatly, and labelled too. The buttons are a bit hard to read, but you can see that a level of effort was put into this part of the cabin. My last comment on the interior is a compliment: the seats are remade very well. The Porsche crest is embossed on the headrest, with "918 Spyder" written across it.
In the big picture
The Welly Porsche 918 could have been a fantastic price-performance purchase had the manufacturer spent a bit more time on overall quality and attention to detail. As it is, the price is steep for a model without an opening hood or engine compartment. The shaky quality, especially the manufacturing issue on the rear panel and crooked decals, shouldn’t be found on a $75 1:18. And the buying experience left a bad taste in my mouth. However, I'm glad to own this car. The exterior and interior are replicated a lot better than many other cars at this price. And, hey, it’s a member of the Trinity. Gotta love having all three at my house. If you want to add this to your collection, it’s still available in silver as a closed top like mine, but with limited supply left.
1:18 Porsche 918 SPyder by Welly