Porsche expands Exclusive and Classic programs, adds “One-Off” individualization for cars old and new
By now it should be obvious that there is immense interest and demand for individualized, highly modified Porsche 911s, with examples in some cases selling for millions of dollars. What if you could theoretically get that same level of customization for your classic Porsche, or even for your brand-new one, albeit with the factory’s direct blessing? Broadening the scope of its Exclusive Manufaktur, Classic parts and restoration, and Tequipment performance services, Porsche’s expanded customization services even allow for “Factory One-Off” vehicles for the ultimate in personalization.
“It is our goal to provide customers around the globe with even more accurately tailored and demand-based products within the context of classic, existing, and new cars, and to also offer a comprehensive range of individualization options,” says Individualization and Classic Vice President Alexander Fabig. “Starting with new possibilities for individualization and personalization of individual components, through the additional range of Performance Parts, up to realization of uniquely individualized sports cars, we have the right option for every customer.”
The combination of these capabilities, according to Porsche, amounts to a modern interpretation of the brand’s Sonderwunsch (Special Wishes) program that kicked off in 1978. Sonderwunsch was the brainchild of Rolf Sprenger, a Porsche engineer who recognized the need and value in offering special services for clients who wanted something a little extra. If you wanted a different bumper, a little compartment for cassettes, a wooden dashboard, or a special boost dial for controlling boost in your Turbo, Sprenger made it happen. What started with engine, chassis, body, and interior upgrades morphed into a whole catalog of possibilities that served as the predecessor to today’s Exclusive program.
While Porsche already offers more than 700 Exclusive Manufaktur options, they will now be visible in the online Car Configurator. Joining that roster will be special touches such as custom exterior wraps, floor mat designs, logos projected from the doors, and individual serial numbers. “Factory Commissioning” of specific colors, fabrics, materials, or other components will be implemented at the sports car production center in Zuffenhausen. Also on the horizon is a line of Performance Parts, available on new models as well as “used and classic vehicles”—ostensibly everything from recent Caymans and 911s all the way to early 356s and the like. GT models will have their own set of performance parts from Porsche Tequipment.
Don’t count out the SUVs, either. Porsche Classic is highlighting its customization potential with two off-road-themed show cars based on first-gen Cayennes. Leaning on a mix of “Safari” aesthetic and real-deal rally racing heritage, Porsche is clearly recognizing enthusiasts of different stripes who might well have a creative vision in mind.
In addition to the existing parts program and Factory Restoration services in both Stuttgart and Atlanta, the more involved “Factory Recommission” program that was previously exclusive to Carrera GT owners will now be expanded. The extent of such work is visible in the recommissioned Carrera GT that debuted in 2018, a car that was fully disassembled and completed with an Oak Green Metallic paint finish, silver-rimmed and gold-plated wheels, fully restored carbon fiber components, and an all-new interior. The idea for this project came from the owner of a 2005 Carrera GT who essentially wished he could buy a new example tailored to his precise taste.
Porsche says it hopes to put the customer at the center of this personalization program, offering interviews with designers and experts from different departments to bring a vision into reality. “The customer becomes part of a project team consisting of experts from the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur, Porsche Classic, and the Style Porsche design department,” says Fabig. “The customer experiences the development of their idea close up from the perspective of a project manager—from the first design sketch and the technical feasibility check through to construction of the highly individual sports car.”
If you have the resources, it’s a compelling way to realize the new or vintage car of your dreams. (Like, say, a brand-new 993 painted gold and cranked up to 450 hp.) The ultimate tier of Porsche’s combined powers is the Factory One-Off: a “systematic technical new development.” Theoretically, Porsche will do anything the customer asks, concerning a new or old car, provided it is technically feasible to the company’s standards, safe, and legal.
Naturally, just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s affordable. Just the planning and interview process can cost six figures before the project is even green-lit. Bespoke whale tail painted chartreuse? Your signature inscribed into the wooden shifter? Modern 4.0-liter flat-six dropped into a 914 with straight pipes and a Joplin-like paint job? Let your imagination fill in the blank check.
Ferrari has been doing this sort of one-off creation work since 2008—see rocker Eric Clapton’s unique SP12 EC built as a tribute to the 512BB. And, of course, the practice of custom coachbuilding goes back many decades. Nonetheless, this holistic, comprehensive approach to different levels of restoration and customization for both vintage and production-line-fresh vehicles is very much new territory for Porsche. Clearly the suits in Stuttgart see the business case for it, but whether specific cars will hold their value or carry a major premium will likely depend on the specific vehicle and whether it’s appealing to people other than the one who ordered it. As our data dive into Porsche colors showed, yellow and orange Porsches bring big premiums while green goes for a lot less despite being a rare hue. As always, money doesn’t buy taste, but with the new Sonderwunsch upon us, enough of it will buy your taste.