“When in Doubt, Wear Red” – This is probably the best-known quote by U.S. fashion designer Bill Blass. While at the time the context was rather to be coined for clothes, hats or nail polish, it is also a good motto for cars. Red underlines a car’s design language, such as the hip swing of a Porsche 911. It stands for life, for love, but depending on the shade also for aggression.
The palette of Porsche red is as broad as the emotions it can evoke in the human brain. It ranges from innocent pastel shades like the extremely rare Fraise (color code 024) to the rich Strawberry Red (524) to the very dark Zyclam Red Pearl Effect (LZ3T). Porsche itself liked to use red as a presentation color in the recent past. Come along on the search for five particularly beautiful Porsche red tones.
There are simply colors where you know immediately that they are Porsche colors. Anyone who knows the brand a little and hears the words “Porsche” and “red” inevitably thinks of Guards Red. No wonder, because Guards Red is probably the most popular Porsche Red of all time. Guards Red has been available from Porsche since the introduction of the 911 G for the 1974 model year. Even today, it is still one of the absolute best sellers.
Guards Red is a bright, rich red with a minimal hint of orange. Since it has been available for almost five decades now, its color codes have also changed a few times. Guards Red can therefore be found under 027, G1, 84A, 80K, M3A, LM3A and L80K. Especially in the 1980s, this Porsche Red was more popular than almost any other color. 911, 912, all transaxles and even the super sports car 959 were delivered in Guards Red in great numbers.
The name is a poem in itself – Velvet Red Metallic. Hardly any other Porsche Red offers as much depth as this one. Depending on the incidence of light, it changes from orange-red to violet. Velvet Red Metallic is tasteful, not obtrusive, but by no means boring. Porsche offered this color for only two years, however. From 1989 to 1990, Porsche delivered 911 Carrera 3.2, 964, 928 and 944 in Velvet Red Metallic.
The color, which can be found under the color codes 81L and LM3U, was actually quite popular with customers. In combination with black Fuchs rims and light-colored interiors, the late G-model in Velvet Red Metallic looks particularly good. By the way, velvet red was also available as a color for the carpets.
Cassis red metallic is rather on the lighter side of the red color spectrum. Heretical voices might even say: “That’s not red at all”. Close to pink and with a slight hint of purple, cassis red is incredibly polarizing. But let’s draw a picture – Florida in the early 1990s, a Porsche 964 Targa in Cassis Red is parked at night in front of a movie theater with bright neon lights. The people around it are wearing light-colored jackets with shoulder pads and rolled-up sleeves, pleated pants, and Madonna’s Like a Prayer is blaring from the radio.
Admittedly, very stereotypical. But isn’t cassis red one of those colors that stands for a certain zeitgeist like hardly any other? Which immediately evoke very special associations and perhaps also memories? That’s precisely why cassis red is one of the most interesting shades of red that Porsche has ever offered. Anyone who ordered their 911 Carrera 3.2, 964, 944 or 928 in color code 80D or 52 at the end of the 1980s was stylistically confident. Conventions and social acceptance played a subordinate role in the decision. Instead, individuality won out. Good thing.
Another color that can change its appearance extremely depending on the incidence of light. Sienna Metallic – an orange-red, almost copper-colored Porsche Red – appears bright, cheerful and light in direct sunlight. In the evening and at night, it sometimes appears brown and much more set. Sienna Metallic harmonizes excellently with the 911 G model’s silver Targa bar.
However, not all interior colors of its time necessarily fit Sienna Metallic. We have seen some very bold and unusual combinations. For example, a 1976 Porsche 930 with a green interior. Sure, if you like it… it’s certainly unusual. And it flatters the slim G-models as well as the shapes of the later 944 in equal measure. Besides, Sienna Metallic (color code 436) is one of the rarer colors of the time, which makes it doubly interesting.
For some time now, Porsche seems to have had a crush on Carmine Red. Since the presentation of the Porsche 981 Boxster and Cayman GTS, Carmine Red has once again become an integral part of Porsche’s color palette. Originally, it was only in the program for two years. Porsche offered the 911 G model in color code 80F/0L in its last model years in 1987 and 1988.
While most other Porsche Reds tend more towards orange, Carmine Red is a tad darker than Guards Red, for example. In somewhat dimmed ambient light, this color is magically attractive. It bristles with depth and class. This is another reason why the color is popular in the cosmetics industry – Carmine Red is a common color for lipstick. At present, every current Porsche can be configured in Carmine Red.
Bill Blass was right about one thing in any case. When in doubt, red is always a good choice. And that’s because it leaves no one cold. Everyone has certain associations with red, certain emotions. That’s why it’s so appropriate to paint a sports car red. Especially since Porsche has the right shade for everyone in its repertoire. Whether very dark like ripe cherries in summer, with a slight copper tint, or even almost pink, anything goes at Porsche.
At this point, we also have to praise the current Porsche configurator. Here you can not only view the standard color options directly on the Porsche sports car of your choice. The possible options from their Paint-to-Sample (PTS) program can also be previewed directly. Among them are pearls like Rubystone Red (Rubystar) or the brownish Peru Red. But beware! Once you’re immersed in the configurator, half an hour will pass like a flash when putting together your dream car. Don’t say we didn’t warn you…
© title image: RM Sotheby’s