When I bought my 996 last year, it was the Orient Red Metallic paint that initially grabbed my attention. It’s a fairly rare color, and it was only used for three model years: 2000, 2001, and 2002. When I initiated the conversation that ultimately lead to the purchase, I found out the car was part of the Porsche Exclusive program.
I’m not certain of the exact parameters of the Porsche Exclusive program, and they’ve probably changed since my car was originally built in 2001. However, the gist of the program is that Porsche simply custom builds cars to the exact specifications of the customer. In other words, the original owner wanted something unique about his car that Porsche didn’t offer with its standard options. Additionally, Porsche Exclusive cars are hand-crafted… at least today. Maybe not in 2001?
Now I have to know what, exactly, makes my 996 exclusive?
The car has a fairly long list of options, these can be found in a sticker affixed to the inside of the frunk lid. It’s just a list of codes which no mere mortal could possibly know! Fortunately there are a number of websites that can decipher these codes for you, and a few that work off your VIN. Here’s what my 996 has:
Paint / Interior Code – L8A3 / AD
09991: Manufacture from the exclusive-programme
C02 Equipped with catalytic converter
XSC Porsche crest embossed in headrests
139 Seat heating, left
236 Internal production code related to tyres
288 Headlamp washer
340 Seat heating, right
413 18″ 993 Turbo-look wheels (not hollow spoke)
424 CD compartment
436 3-spoke steering wheel
437 8-way electrical seat, left
438 8-way electrical seat, right
446 Wheel caps with colored Porsche crest
476 PSM Porsche Stability Management
490 Basic sound system
513 4-way electrically adjustable lumbar support, right seat
537 Seat memory, left
586 4-way electrically adjustable lumbar support, left seat
601 Litronic (xenon) headlamps
659 Board computer
696 CD-radio Becker Porsche CDR-220
936 Leather rear seats
981 Leather dashboard and door panels
983 Leather front seats
Despite extensive research, I was still baffled as to what makes my 996 “exclusive.” The options above are just that—options. The paint color, while relatively rare, was still a Porsche factory paint color. The embossed Porsche crest in the headrests was an option anyone could have ordered for their 996. The same goes for heated seats, 18” Turbo-look wheels, 3-spoke steering wheel, colored crest caps, PSM, leather, and literally every other option on the sticker.
In other words, you wouldn’t have needed to have gone through the Porsche Exclusive program to order this car. Simply going to any dealer and noting what options you wanted would have got you the same car. In fact, you can’t go through the Exclusive program if you’re not deviating from the norm. A custom ordered car is different from a custom built car. So, seriously, what makes my car exclusive?
I could spend a lot of time researching with the goal of locating the original owner and then just ask them what was exclusive about the car. That would take a lot of time, and I’d probably have to pay for some title searches. Even then, I’m not sure I would get accurate info, or even the personal contact info of previous owners anyway. I do have a CarFax report for my car, showing it was first titled on October 22, 2001 in Morristown, New Jersey. I suppose that’s a start.
Just a few weeks ago, I randomly heard from a Porsche enthusiast who was admiring my car that not only is the paint a rare color, but that color with the black interior was never a factory option. Whoa… could he be right? He went on to say that cars finished in Orient Red Metallic only came with a gray or tan interior. Personally, I’ve only seen two other 996 cars finished in Orient Red Metallic; one had a gray interior, the other had a tan interior. In all my many searches, I’ve never found one exactly like mine.
Is that it? Is that the exclusive option I’ve been searching for? How do I confirm this? So, I emailed Porsche and asked. I told them what I had heard, gave them my VIN, and asked if there was any way they could confirm two things: 1) Were gray and tan the only interior options for cars finished in Orient Red Metallic, and 2) Is the black interior on my car the exclusive option? Porsche respond promptly and very courteously, but here’s the pertinent part of their response:
“Porsche Cars North America is not in a position to provide production details or figures, as it is considered proprietary information. While we cannot confirm the exclusivity of the interior and exterior color combination, I can confirm that this vehicle was produced with a Porsche Exclusive deviation option.”
That doesn’t really confirm what I really wanted to know, more research will definitely be required to get solid confirmation. But, I can’t find anything else on my car that would be considered a deviation other than its striking color combination.