A wild ride to the far side of contemporary car culture
For more than 70 years, Porsche has been building some of the most iconic and desirable sportscars on the planet. But while for most of us owning and driving a Porsche 911 is the ultimate bucket list goal, for others it is only the beginning – the first step in a journey towards the ultimate, personal, one-of-a-kind Porsche of dreams.
Special customer requests have been considered since the first Porsche cars were built in 1948. Around 1950, a Porsche 356 was even covered with fake fur, but until the 1970s, most clients were asking for performance and brake upgrades for racing purposes. As Porsche’s clientel grew more affluent and stylistically demanding in the 1960s, special leather interiors, ski racks, and other lifestyle accessories were added to customers' wish lists.
In the 1970s, Porsche bundled up their individualization services under the name “Sonderwunschprogramm” – offering customizations for new and existing cars. For Martini sponsor Count Rossi, the engineers even created a street-legal Porsche 917, meanwhile the in-house designers showcased their abilities with special orders for the Porsche and Piëch families: A Porsche 914/6 with tiger print interior, and a Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 with Paisley pattern seats rank among the wildest creations. In the 1980s, global demand for unique, personalized sportscars grew rapidly and, as requests became even more extravagant and demanding, managers in Zuffenhausen decided to create a new ‘Porsche Exclusive’ division in 1986. The aim was to leave literally every customer satisfied, whether they want special colours, power upgrades or something else – any technically feasible wish was fulfilled.
One of the most famous and elaborate cars created by Porsche Exclusive was the Porsche 935 Street – a Flat Nose conversion of a Porsche 930 Turbo for Saudi businessman and TAG-owner Mansour Ojjeh. His vision was “a 935 racing car for the street – but with all the luxuries.” When the Porsche 959 was introduced, a sheikh from Qatar even bought seven individualized cars in very creative colour schemes and his coat of arms emblazoned on the steering wheel and the seats. In the 1990s, it was the mythical Porsche 911 Turbo S Leichtbau that stole the show, while the taste for colour blocking and tone-in-tone interiors around the turn of the Millennium lead to some of the wildest 996s one can imagine. In 2009, Porsche Exclusive returned to their roots with the 1970s-inspired Sport Classic – a car that became perhaps the greatest brand ambassador for Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur and one that has just been revived for the 992 generation.
Porsche's finest on top of the lake
Now the fascinating history of Porsche Exclusive will be celebrated at this year’s FuoriConcorso Sonderwunsch: On 21 - 22 May, a selection of around 30 of the most exciting cars created in the Zuffenhausen dream factory will be on display at Villa Grumello and Villa Sucota on the shores of Lake Como. “I have a very special place in my heart for Porsche sportscars – and as an admirer of anything handmade and bespoke, the cars from Porsche Exclusive are something of a holy grail to me,” says Guglielmo Miani, President of the Milanese luxury brand Larusmiani and founder of the FuoriConcorso event series. “I adored the seven Porsche 959s commissioned by Sheikh Al Thani as a teenager in the 1990s and Porsche’s special creations have kept exciting me ever since. Celebrating craftsmanship and customization culture and bringing some of the most unusual Porsches ever built together at FuoriConcorso Sonderwunsch is a dream come true. “
Classic Driver is the official media partner of FuoriConcorso – so we recently had the pleasure of joining Guglielmo on a trip to Stuttgart in his 993 Porsche 911 Turbo made by Porsche Exclusive for another tour of the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur and their ever-growing range of services and options. Browsing through the endless variations of colours, leathers, fabrics and wheels, one truly understands how vast the possibilities of individualization have become. And how rewarding it can be to spec your perfect personal Porsche – with a little help from the friendly and knowledgeable team.
“Taking inspiration from Porsche’s incomparable heritage, the designers and artisans at Porsche Exclusive can literally make any vision become a reality,” says Guglielmo, marveling at an olive green Porsche 911 Turbo S inspired by one of the Porsche 959s commissioned by the previously mentioned sheikh from Qatar in the early 1990s. We have a feeling that we might see this exceptional car again soon on the streets of Milan.
The FuoriConcorso formula
With themed events dedicated to bespoke Bentleys of the 1990s and the history of the Turbo, FuoriConcorso has already set the gold standard for special automotive exhibitions. This years’ edition promises to be even more exciting, offering a rare chance to dive into Porsche’s history and stroll around some of the most unusual and bespoke cars created in Stuttgart during the last four decades. That fact that the cars are displayed in the gardens of Villa del Grumello, one of the most beautiful and glamorous estates on Lake Como, makes FuoriConcorso Sonderwunsch a once-in-a-lifetime experience that no true car enthusiast should miss, and yet there's still more. At Villa Sucota, the FuoriConcorso curators have assembled a selection of rarely-seen concept cars and prototypes from the Porsche Museum that will make any Porsche disciple’s heart beat faster. Additionally, a conversation programme with high-profile panelists – including Alexander Fabig, Head of Individualisation and Classic, as well as Michael Mauer, Head of Design – will give visitors the opportunity to learn more about Porsche’s dream factory.
Furthermore, there will be plenty of fascinating activities to participate in beyond the world of cars: Together with FuoriConcorso’s partner brands such as Bulgari, Knight Frank, Leica, MV Agusta, St. Moritz, and Web Eyewear, the organizers have created a truly immersive event experience. “It’s all about entertaining our community”, says Guglielmo Miani. “For them we want to create an experience that they will truly enjoy and hopefully never forget.” Luckily, some VIP tickets for Saturday and Sunday are still available in the CD Shop.
Last but not least, FuoriConcorso are introducing the new special exhibition format, FuoriConcorso Open Museum. The event organizers have extended their show to Villa Olmo, a beautiful lakeside estate, where the renowned Museo Nazionale dell’ Automobile from Turin will display 25 to 30 iconic Italian cars, including this game-changing Ferrari 500 F2. We cannot wait for the show to begin.
Photos: Andrea Luzardi © 2022