From the Porsche archives: Carmine Red and the Panamera GTS

Porsche has launched the most driver-focused Panamera yet with the LA Motor Show debut of the Panamera GTS. 

And, pleasingly, the firm has looked to the past for its name, bringing back the moniker used for the most special 928 built from 1989 to 1994. The 928 GTS was the meatiest of the original front-engined Porsche and, thanks to wider rear arches hiding 9-inch wheels, the best looking too (even though I still admire the purity of the gorgeous 1978 launch model too – and am not the only one…).

The Panamera is arguably the spiritual successor to the 928: while the original didn’t have rear doors, it was still intended to be a luxurious four-seat Porsche. Misguided engineering and the resultant dreadful space inefficiency was the only reason it emerged instead as a 2+2.

Reviving a name from the past isn’t the only blast from history, though. The newest Panamera’s colour has also been taken from the Porsche back catalogue. For the Panamera GTS only is the availability of an all-new hue for the luxury four-door range: Carmine Red.

Now, when I first saw it, for some reason my memory piped up ‘944’, and it seems this is partly right. OK, the Carmine Red isn’t actually from the 944 (the one I was thinking of is an amalgam of Maraschino Red and Velvet Red, for the record…), but it HAS been used on Porsches past.

Carmine Red Porsche 928 AND 911

Indeed, it was actually used on the 928 itself, for the 1988 model year. It was also, more significantly, available on the 911, again for a limited period between 1987-1988 (some reckon the number of 911s in this colour doesn’t even reach the hundreds…). Yes, original Carmine Red – L80F – is a very rare colour indeed.

So why has Porsche brought it back? Maybe a mooted reason for its introduction back in the 80s reveals why: on the 911 it was a less vivid, less garish alternative to the commonplace ‘guards red’ 3.2 Carrera of the era, which Porsche believed many people desired.

Colours reflect the times and the financiers that lusted after Porsches had suffered a tumultuous time on Black Monday. Cheeriness was thin on the ground: a jazzy Guards Red car parked outside Lloyds wasn’t really what the red brace crew wanted.

Evidently not all that popular, as it turned out, given its short time on the options list: the Yuppies ensured fortunes revived, briefly, so the brighter hue soon returned. This is why 911 fans actively search it out today: it’s extremely rare.

And why the apostrophes above for Guards Red? Because, according to Tony Corlett, Guards Red wasn’t actually used on the 3.2 Carrera, with ‘India Red’  (027) being Porsche’s preferred name, later changing to Indian Red (80K). Same colour, different names.

(The joy of being a Porsche fan, if you didn’t already know, is delving into details like this…)

Question is, does the Panamera GTS possess the same name but a different colour? It *seems* similar, but is it exactly the same as the 1980s original?

If you’re as insatiably geeky as me and thus interested, you’re in luck. I’m such a devourer of details, I’m going to try and find out…

+ My hit car colour of 2011

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+ August 2011: what is Porsche up to at the moment?