Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Power of Color

To some degree, this is a confession.  

When someone wants to obtain a Porsche, especially an older one, or maybe this 'also' applies to older models, one of the first things that pops into many people's head is performance. Which the best handling? Which has the most power? What general condition is the older example in? Should I hot rod the thing, or not, or get a ready-made hot rod, either by Porsche itself or someone else? They are, after all, performance sports cars.  

People can say what they want, but drive it on the track, or drive it on public roads, they will have the snot driven out of them. OK, I say elsewhere on this blog that elderly Porsches are driven gently on sunny days in the summertime. The question is, what is 'gently' for a Porsche? Those who drive these cars while never exceeding 3000 rpm are in the wrong car, or are boulevard poseurs, whatever.  So, a performance car is asked to perform; duh, no wisdom there to stop the earth's rotation. Some people keep them as collectible tchotchkes, never mind.

But, speed, handling, that sound, et al, aren't the whole picture. A new Porsche costs an obscene amount of money. Some people have an obscene amount of money, so Porsche also charges an even more obscene premium for the options they hope you will lavish onto the car; they are very good at this. One of the costlier options is this - paint to sample. This means you can supply Porsche with a sample, and that means any kind of sample (a lock of your dog's hair, a fender from an old Studebaker, etc.), and they will paint your shiny new Porsche in that exact color. You can have your wonderful Porsche in any color that exists on the planet Earth.  So, color must be important in this whole equation.

Obviously, color has a variety of meanings and functions in different cultures. White means purity in a number of ways in our culture, while it is the color of death in Japan. I don't know how popular white cars are in Japan, but otherwise red is in the middle of the Japanese flag, and red is (around the world) commonly associated with danger, sacrifice, passion, fire, beauty, blood, anger, simplicity, purity, candor, and in China and many other cultures, with happiness. The fashion statement that your Porsche makes isn't fixed, except locally.

By the way, repainting your old Porsche, if a truly good job is done of it, can cost more than the frightful price Porsche would charge for a special color on a new car. Therefore, be sure to choose the color of your car carefully in the first place. 

Now here is a fun fact:  I took a look at the inventory of new cars at the largest Porsche dealership in Montreal, the nearest big city to my location. Get this - 100% of all new Porsches they had in stock have a black interior!! How about that for imagination? 100%? Can it really be true that potential Porsche owners in Montreal have zero individuality and they all want black? Whenever I have attended a gathering of Porsches, people swoon over interesting colors, especially interior colors. Maybe this is because nobody gets a chance to buy anything but black. . . Given a choice, I wouldn't be caught dead in a car with a black interior, unless it was a hearse with me as the only passenger. You can find all kinds of information about colors, and then pick and choose what you like. Here is the first thing I found about the color black, "Black is authoritative and powerful; because black can evoke strong emotions, too much can be overwhelming. Black represents a lack of color, the primordial void, emptiness. It is a classic color for clothing, possibly because it makes the wearer appear thinner and more sophisticated." Got that?

It's a cliché that women will see 100 different colors, while men will generalize those same hues into the primary or secondary colors - red, yellow, blue, etc., thereby reducing subtlety into brute irrelevance. Too bad for those men, but this isn't universally true. Sometimes you can reverse the genders, but generally speaking, some people are just not that visually oriented. There are male Porsche owners who are passionate about what color their car is, but on the whole they are in the minority. Otherwise why would there be so many boring cars out there? Porsches included.

Sorry, but I have strong color preferences, and some combinations really resonate for me more completely than others. Get yourself a small, cheap Korean car and it is a sure bet that the interior will be grey almost all of the time. There is a reason for that and it's called 'lowest common denominator', or similar words which mean that this is the most anonymous possible color that will offend the smallest number of people, or, put another way, make them all the same and they get cheaper.

Alright, forget all of that, ignore the cost, and repaint your old Porsche in a dynamic, individual, assertive, subtle, harmonious, contrasty, personal, bold, delicate exterior color and interior color combination as best you can, but think about it. You are driving a Porsche, after all, doesn't that make you a dynamic, assertive, etc., etc., person who thinks outside the box?

I said this post was a confession of sorts. I bought a grey Porsche. And above I spoke in a disrespectful way about grey interiors.  My car doesn't have a grey interior, it has an orange/tan interior and the exterior looks very much like the hard metal the car is made from, rather than 'grey'. To me this equals a warm, organic interior surrounded by a hard, impervious exterior. Just like me.

Not super orange, but leaning toward orangeness.
Orange means warmth, joy, heat, sunshine, success, encouragement, change, enthusiasm, determination, fun, stimulation, happiness, balance, sexuality, enjoyment, health, freedom, expression, and fascination. It is one of the healing colors and also strongly denotes creativity. Orange promotes a sense of general wellness and emotional energy that should be shared, such as passion, compassion, and amiability. Orange will help a person recover from disappointments, a grieving heart, or an affront to one's pride. While orange is made up of red and yellow, it carries less aggression and fierceness than the color red does because of its combination with the calming color yellow. Some research shows that the orange color can create physical effects such as increased hunger, heightened sense of activity, increased socialization, boost in aspiration, stimulated mental activity, increased oxygen supply to the brain, increased contentment, and enhanced assurance. Orange also helps aid decision making (should I shift gears now?), and enhances happiness, confidence, and understanding. Who would not want the inside of their car to be orange? It does everything for you.

My car's interior isn't all orange, but plenty of it is; enough, anyway. I gave it a lot of thought.

YIKES! Over the top. (It's a Cayenne.)
Don't just buy a car in any old color. Do yourself a favor and put some real effort into selecting the colors that your valiant Porsche will wear. After all, perception is reality, to some extent, and you will be seen driving around in a very special automobile. What do you want to say? 


nineelevenophilia said...

Fully agree. Here in Portugal is the same. Went to the 911 50years parade here and all modern 911's (996, 997, 991) were either black, white or grey with just one honorable (red) exception... Saddening.

J911 said...

Saddening, but then odd, too, isn't it?

A friend has a Cayman with a Carrera Red interior. Wonderful.