(Editor’s note: Porsche Cars North America shares a time-lapse video and the following story on the 2-day process to assemble a new 911 GT3.)
It’s no small feat to make a 911 – 1,500 workers touch each car during its two-day assembly that begins with a shell and ends with rolling on a line. Now, for the first time, a time-lapse video shows the whole process, focusing on a very special 911 GT3, part of the Paint to Sample program.
With dozens of individual options to choose from, the range of possible combinations means it’s especially rare to see a pair of identical 911s. The choice of colors plays a big role in personalization.
To meet growing demand and improve ease of access for customers, the popular Paint to Sample program offered by Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur was updated at the end of 2021 to expand its capacity. Porsche’s significant long-term investment underscores the brand’s commitment to building everyone’s dream car. Including standard offerings on each model range, over 160 pre-approved paint options are now available in the current catalog.
At the Zuffenhausen plant where the 911, 718 and Taycan model ranges are assembled, an additional color mixing bank has added capacity to complete more Paint to Sample setups without slowing down production.
“In response to demand, we have taken a big step forward and gone from five cars per day to 20 cars per day, which means 120 cars per calendar week from Paint to Sample,” said Boris Apenbrink, Head of vehicles at Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur.
In detail: creating a Paint to Sample Porsche
Before its 117-step assembly, the 911 chassis spent more than a day getting ready in the body and paint shop. One of the challenges in painting vehicles and developing paint finishes is working with the material mix of the underlying components. A vehicle body already consists of several different steel and aluminum materials and can also include carbon fiber or polypropylene. Paint lots must suit all exterior features equally and produce the same color.
Before entering the paint shop, the bodywork is degreased, phosphated and subjected to an electrochemical process mainly used for protection against corrosion. During the coating process, the body is immersed in a basin filled with electrophoretic immersion paint and deionized water. To achieve optimal body coverage, it is rotated around its own axis in the pelvis.
From there, a primer, base coat and clear coat are applied to the body and panels, with standard color using approximately 4 liters of application fluid between the three steps.
Primers are chosen based on the final color; light colors require light primers, dark colors require dark primer. The base coat is the colored coat which provides the requested tint and is only 30 micrometers thick. To put that in comparison, a standard piece of printer paper is about 100 micrometers.
The final coat of the car, the clearcoat, is the thickest and is sprayed between 30 and 50 micrometers, illustrating how thin the individual paint layers are. The painted car is then dried at a maximum temperature of 392 degrees Fahrenheit (200˚Celcius) for more than two and a half hours.
“A lot of customers want to emphasize their personality with their car and bring their flavor into the concept car,” Apenbrink said. “Nothing underlines the personality as well as the color of the car because that is what tells the story.”
Standard, metallic and special colors are specifically defined in advance for each model line in the series and, in some cases, even for each derivative for each model year. The quantity of colors offered is determined by the number of storage tanks and paint supply lines in the paint shops of the production plants. For this reason, no more than 17 standard exterior colors can be offered from a purely technical point of view for the 911.
With Paint to Sample, over 100 additional pre-approved colors on top of the standard offering are available from the factory on a new 911 or 718. The Taycan, Cayenne, Panamera and Macan have over 50 additional choices available. New shades can also be considered through the Paint to Sample Plus program if a customer wishes to go further, a process that can match almost any request as long as it passes a rigorous feasibility test.
Paint to Sample Plus is only available on vehicles produced in Zuffenhausen and color development alone takes at least five months. Paint to Sample Plus offers customers the option to permanently add another color to the Porsche color range. All customers who request a color for the first time and pay the additional price for color development can consider themselves the creator of that color. The customer and the color are saved in the Porsche color database, and the color is added to the pre-approved options in the Paint to Sample program as quickly as possible so that others can also order the newly created paint color .
“You build a bespoke car with individual crafting processes behind it,” says Apenbrink. “You can have your custom color.”
The end customer
Leh Keen has done just about everything you can in a Porsche.
The professional racer competes in the Porsche Carrera Cup North America one-make series with the 311RS Motorsport team, broke a world indoor land speed record in a Taycan Turbo S, and built dozens of spec 911 off-road sports cars for fellow thrill-seekers through The Keen Project.
Until last year, however, he had never ordered a new Porsche from the factory for himself. Keen knew that for his 2022 911 GT3 he would rely heavily on the Paint to Sample options.
“It’s one of my favorite things, I’m obsessed with the different colors,” Keen said. “All these incredible colors that Porsche has achieved over the years. We really dig deep into the history of Porsche.
“I wanted to have this newest, most modern 911, but covered in a very classic old color,” Keen said of the decision. “I told a few people I was going to win the gold. People thought it was risky, and it really reinforced my choice and I wanted to see how it would go. I think a lot of people couldn’t not really imagine the gold in their head.
Keen recalls: “At the dealership, when they removed the cover, I was a little stunned at how beautiful it looked.
Like Keen, Apenbrink has seen its fair share of Porsche hues come through the paint shop. Even he was in love with Keen’s GT3.
“I love the choice of Gold Bronze Metallic for this car,” said Apenbrink. “So far I can tell you that this color has only been ordered 24 times, so it’s really rare. Really special. This is the first time the color has been available on the 992 model, which is also very exciting.
Gold Bronze Metallic is also available on the Macan and Panamera model lines through Paint to Sample, and Apenbrink would like to see either vehicle get the color as well.
About Paint to Sample and Paint to Sample Plus
Customers can specify Paint to Sample through their Porsche dealer. In future, it will also be possible to view the extensive Paint to Sample color palette on the Porsche Car Configurator. The price depends on the model and variant. Paint to Sample is $11,430 for most 911 and 718 models. For the 718 GT and 911 Turbo, Turbo S and 911 GT3 models, the price is $12,830.
For unique color requests, Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur offers Paint to Sample Plus on all model lines except the Cayenne. In these cases, the customer provides a color sample to his dealer which is sent to Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur in Stuttgart-Zuffenahusen and subjected to thorough quality and feasibility tests. The customer’s car isn’t finished in the bespoke color until feasibility testing – up to 11 months in some cases – is complete. If the paint color is not feasible, Porsche covers the cost of the feasibility study. Sample pricing for Paint to Sample Plus: $22,860 for most models and $25,660 for 911 Turbo and GT models as well as 718 GT models.
About Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur
A sports car as individual as your own fingerprint, as unmistakable as your own lifestyle: in a game of craftsmanship and attention to detail, Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur creates extremely individual vehicles. Highly skilled employees with decades of expertise devote their full attention to every detail and enhance it with expert craftsmanship. Experts can rely on a wide range of visual and technical customization options for the exterior and interior. The highest standards are met in materials and finishes.
In addition to individual customer vehicles, Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur also produces small series and limited editions. Here, high-quality materials are combined with modern production technologies to create a harmonious overall concept. Porsche dealers provide advice on the range and possibilities offered by Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur as a first point of contact alongside the online Car Configurator. About 100 Exclusive Manufaktur partners are available to customers worldwide to help them realize particularly individual wishes. These are specially equipped and trained Porsche dealers to advise you on the Exclusive Manufaktur product range. In addition, advice is available for all models at the heart of the brand in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, in cooperation with the Porsche dealer and on the basis of a commission number. The main factory specializes in individual paint finishes: Werk 1 has the largest collection of Porsche color samples and samples of vehicles painted in Paint to Sample.