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Porsche Color Changes: Should you do one? Should you buy one?

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Article by Rob Sass

Color is a perennially hot topic in the Porsche world. A genuine Paint-to-Sample car carries a certain amount of cachet to it that extends to resale time. But what about uniquely colored Porsches that weren’t PTS cars? Cars that weren’t even born in the color they’re presently wearing? What affect does that have on desirability and value? The answer is, like so many answers in the Porsche world, both nuanced and complicated.

So many different factors affect how a color change is regarded, so it’s best to break them down by multiple scenarios.

“I Didn’t like the color that the car was, so I changed it.” This scenario is fairly common, and the outcome depends on the execution. In general, we can agree that from the standpoint of collectability, the original color is always best, whether it’s original paint or a respray. Porsche people generally want to see a car in the color that is listed on the Certificate of Authenticity. Color changes that fall into this category were more common years ago, when the cars were worth less and not generally considered collectible. When bright colors faded from fashion, tons of cars in period shades like lime green, orange, and magenta were resprayed in either Guards Red or the more sedate colors of the 1980s. Probably half of the Sepia Brown cars built in the 1970s became red cars in the 1980s. Today, buyers would much rather live with the brown car than the hastily color-changed car.


Above: You can see white paint where the Guards Red from the respray has chipped away.

But, if the execution is good, and the color chosen is a factory color offered that year, then the impact on value/desirability can be minimized. But it is truly difficult/expensive to do a color change properly. Cars need to be stripped to a shell essentially to do it correctly. And for every mythical, perfect, dealer-performed color change, there are hundreds of bad ones, with the original color peeking out from everywhere. Even the sight of the original color shining through the perforations on a VIN sticker in a 911 door jamb is enough to turn off a lot of Porschephiles. So, the sight of a white engine compartment on a red car is a major buzzkill. The moral of the story here is to buy a car in a color you can live with. Unless you plan on spending north of $20,000, changing the color will just devalue your car.  And if you’ve already bought a color-changed car, just realize that others will point it out, and you will realize less at sale time.

“I’ve reimagined the car altogether and changed the color as part of my comprehensive plan for the car.”  The “outlaw” and “backdating” phenomenon are what we’re referring to here. In these cases, builders will look for a tired “short-hood” or impact bumper 911 and make changes to body panels, bumpers, and lighting to replicate the look of a “long-hood” car from 1969-73. Very often, the target is the look of a 2.7 RS. What companies like Singer do are extreme examples of reimagining the 911.


Above: When done right, a color change as part of an comprehensive build may not affect value or it could potentially increase it.

In situations like this, where you have essentially stripped the car to a shell, and have committed not to restoring it but remaking it, the rules are a bit different. Here, since you’re not constrained by any sense of originality, you’re free to choose from a wider palette of colors. It’s always better to stay within the Porsche universe — Rubystone Red, Viper Green, Signal Orange are always popular. Even out-of-the-box shades like Coppa Florio Blue, Stone Grey, and Aetna Blue are nice. As with above, the key here is in the execution. A great build in a great color, with an attractive, well-crafted interior has the possibility to see the value exceed the cost of building the car. Again, it’s all in how well it’s done, and how appealing the color choice is to a wider audience.

To learn more about Porsche colors, visit Rennbow!

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