Customizing a Porsche

STUTTGART, Germany--When you spend the money to buy a Porsche, you should be able to outfit your new ubercar just about any way you want.

That's Porsche's philosophy, and for 25 years, the company has been giving its customers the keys to a heavy level of customization: Porsche Exclusive. The idea is that while there are many standard choices buyers can make about their new vehicle, those with more unique tastes shouldn't be reined in. So even if people want a color combination for their leather trim that might leave a lot of people shaking their head, Porsche is willing to make it happen--for a price. And just about anything else a buyer wants, so long as it's safe.

Here, in the Porsche Exclusive workshop in Stuttgart, a highly trained employee labors to help a customer get just what he or she wants out of his or her new car. As part of Road Trip 2011, CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman got a close-up look at what's possible.

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Red with black hood

Porsche customers often make interesting choices when it comes to the customization of their new car. For example, while most buyers choose to have the Porsche logo or the name of their new car's model embossed in the leather of their seats, an American rancher asked that it be his ranch's cattle brand instead.

At the same time, less than 3 percent of Porsche buyers choose to spend the money to have more significant changes made to the design of their car. An example of such changes are those on this 911 GT, which would have been all red but its Canadian buyer asked to have the hood and rear spoiler, as well as the side mirrors, done in black.

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Black spoiler on red 911 GT

This is the same red 911 GT with a black spoiler.

In most cases, Porsche will do whatever customization a customer asks for. An American ostrich farmer, for example, got his new Porsche with his own ostrich leather used in the interior. And an Arabian king ordered cars in the country's national colors for all his ministers.

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The last Speedsters

Porsche made just 356 of one of the hottest models to come off its production lines in years: the Speedster. Each Speedster is considered special enough that it is outfitted in the Exclusive workshop, and all options buyers had were considered special, though they were included in the car's price. These are the last two Speedsters Porsche produced.

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Interior with red trim

This is an example of a custom red trim ordered by a Porsche customer.

The company does its best to satisfy buyers' requests, but sometimes it has to say no. For example, one buyer asked for a different spoiler for his car's front than is included in the aerodynamic kit that also includes a rear spoiler. Porsche had to say no because the change would have affected the car's aerodynamics. Another customer asked for a different sound from the tail pipe, and Porsche said that while it would be happy to do the job, the law wouldn't allow the modification.

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Six being worked on

Here, we see six Porsches being worked on in the company's Exclusive Department shop.

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Lined up for customization

A group of brand-new Porsche cars are lined up and waiting to have one kind of special customization or another added.

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Yellow trim

In the Porsche Exclusive showroom, the company showcases many of the different kinds of customization it will do for customers. For example, this yellow exterior--with matching trim in the interior--is not standard.

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Blue stitching

This blue stitching was requested by a new Porsche customer to replace the standard black.

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25 years

For 25 years, Porsche has offered customers willing to pay a bit more for their cars a wide range of special customization choices. Some choose to have a plate with the Porsche Exclusive logo added to their car.

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All brown

Few would likely choose this all-brown color scheme, but if someone wanted it, Porsche would produce it. For a fee.

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Leather choices

Customers can visit Porsche's Exclusive showroom in Stuttgart, and during a consultation that might take hours, they can examine a wide range of potential leather choices that they could have the interior of their new car outfitted in.

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Color chips

Similarly, customers can also examine a wide variety of colors that they can request for the exterior of their new Porsche.

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Carrera GTS

A Porsche Carrera GTS is parked in the company's Exclusive workshop, awaiting its customization job.

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Showroom

Here we see the Porsche Exclusive showroom in Stuttgart, Germany.

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