With Paint To Sample, personalising how your car looks reaches new levels. We find out how Porsche achieves the colour of your dreams
Personalised… not patina
If you thought our story about a new Porsche innovation, the astonishing patina paint, was far too ridiculous to be true then you’d be right. If not, then perhaps you didn’t check the date! But April Fool’s Day fun apart, when it comes to choosing a colour for a new Porsche today, the only thing that limits you is your own imagination. That’s because Porsche has a special programme called Paint To Sample, part of Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur, the department which offers high-end, enhanced personalisation for customers. Supply them with an example of your preferred colour – it might be the hue of a beloved jumper or favourite flower – and they will go away, match it and then paint your new car in it. It’s the ultimate in colour personalisation and a unique opportunity to express yourself.
Besides the standard Porsche paint palette, there are 105 of what Boris Apenbrink, Director of Exclusive Manufaktur Vehicles at Porsche, calls ‘individual colours’ – colours from the Porsche past, like Signal Yellow and Viper Green – that customers can also specially order. But it is Paint To Sample that takes the personalisation process to new levels. Once Porsche has your choice, then its experts go to work, in effect creating your bespoke colour from scratch. “There’s a lot of development involved in making a new colour,” Boris explains. “It’s similar to how perfumes are created. The way they mix together ingredients to create a special fragrance is also true for our ‘colourists’. These experts take the tiniest pieces of different ingredients, combining them to make this unique colour.”
Fulfilling a dream
The formulation and matching process of this special Porsche innovation is carried out by hand, says Boris – a necessary step when you are dealing with countless combinations of pigments and materials reacting with each other. For most Paint To Sample colours, it takes around eight months to complete. In the very rare cases of those cars that are hand painted using iridescent Chromaflair paint then the wait is a little longer. This paint shifts colours depending on the light and the angle you view it from, using technology similar to that used in the holograms you see in bank notes. If this all sounds like a long time, you need to take into consideration that, unlike classic cars, a modern Porsche is built from a variety of materials. The body of a 911, for example, is made up of steel, while doors and bumpers constructed of aluminium, the roof is magnesium and then all different kinds of plastics are used in the manufacture of such parts as door mirrors, handles and wings. Matching these is an exact science. But when you are looking to put your own stamp on your new Porsche, the remarkable results make that little extra wait worth it.
“When you buy a Porsche, it’s not just a car,” says Boris. “It’s more of a friend, a family member. A dream fulfilled. And people have very specific thoughts about what their dream should look like. We’re extending the boundaries of what is possible. For you to be extreme if you want to.”
When you buy a Porsche, it’s not just a car… it’s a dream fulfilled. People have very specific thoughts about what their dream should look like. We’re extending the boundaries of what is possible
There’s been a steady rise in customers choosing Paint To Sample, says Boris. With social media such a strong influence on our lives, people are increasingly looking for ways to make a splash on Instagram, for example. “Before you recognise whether it’s a 911 Turbo or a 911 GT3, it’s the colour that you recognise first,” he says, adding that the volume they handle each year is likely to soon nearly treble from the 1000-1500 new cars they currently paint.
A world of colour
Are there any colours that can’t be matched? Very few, it turns out – and those that are problematical tend to be the result of customers looking to recreate colours originally made using elements, like mercury, that have long since been banned from paints worldwide. One of the most famous examples of an outlandish request that was fulfilled due to Porsche innovation, recalls Boris, is the vibrant orange 911 Turbo Cabriolet (997) made for a Swiss interior designer. It started off life as the colour of the saucer in his favourite tea set.
One thing that Porsche never does is judge its customers tastes, he says. What’s popular in Beijing isn’t necessarily popular in Bremen, and vice versa. “Colour is something really personal,” adds Boris. “We act as consultants and try to get as close to the wishes of the customer as we can. We want them to be 100 per cent sure. We will never say if a car is good looking or not. We just ask the right questions to guide the customer to their personal dream car.”
*Paint To Sample offer differs by model line. Production restrictions are possible. Please contact your local Porsche Centre for more information.