Our Autos Editor Spent $230,000 on His Dream Car — This Is It

I spent $230,000 on my dream car, an undeniably swaggy but tastefully understated Porsche 911 GT3 Touring that is absolutely dripping with choice extras. The only problem was I had no idea how my dream car would actually look until it was built, shipped to Canada, and parked in front of my own eyes, at which point, of course, it would be too late to change anything. (Cue snarky “first-world problems” quips.) It’s a good thing I’m not spending my own money then. Porsche Canada asked me to build a GT3 Touring for their PR fleet, so technically I spent $230,000 of their money on my dream car. Alas, that means once we’re done driving the living beans out of this 911, we’ll have to give the keys back.

“My” GT3 Touring was ordered in July 2021, after a long meeting with the extremely patient and boundlessly enthusiastic Elliot Martins, a sales executive at Pfaff Porsche in Vaughan, Ontario. The dealership is one of only three in Canada that specializes in Porsche’s Exclusive Manufaktur program, which offers customers an expanded menu of options for their cars. Martins was just as eager as I was to dive into all the options, from paint-to-sample colours, different headlights, wheels, various leathers, contrast stitching, and the near-infinite array of carbon-fibre bits.

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The dealership’s Exclusive Manufaktur room had samples of everything. The obvious analogy is to liken the process to having a suit made, but building a car is nothing like that. Cars are infinitely more complex, and more costly. (Whatever Porsche builds for me still needs to conform to all the usual automotive safety and regulatory standards, which comprise a tome thicker and more mundane than all of Knausgaard’s memoirs put together.)

Martins sagely advised that Alcantara steering wheels don’t always age as nicely as leather ones do, and that the $4,180 front-axle lift system would help spare the GT3’s ground-hugging splitter from the indignity of scraping across every parking garage ramp.

Naturally, I wanted a six-speed manual gearbox on my dream car. Porsche is one of the few companies that still sells sports cars with a stick shift and so we took full advantage. (More than half of GT3 buyers opt for the manual ‘box.)

Big Ticket Items

You can see the car’s full build sheet below, but there are a few big-ticket options worth highlighting.

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First and foremost is the spectacular Exclusive Manufaktur leather interior, which rings in at $17,510. It deletes the drab all-black interior and replaces it with a sumptuous two-tone leather-lined cabin in your choice of colours. We did Mojave Beige leather because it goes so gracefully with deep Gentian Blue exterior paint and silver wheels. If a Milanese businessman were a car, it would look something like this.

I also splurged on the $6,070 “Extended Exclusive Manufaktur Leather Interior,” which covers the top of the dashboard, lower door trim, and other small bits of the cabin in even more stitched leather. Even the owner’s manual is trimmed in matching hide. The idea was to get rid of as much black plastic as possible, which is also why the exterior mirrors are painted in body colour — a $750 option.

This is a low-carbon GT3, but only in that there’s almost no carbon-fibre trim. (It’s played out.) And I went with the surprisingly comfortable fixed-back racing buckets since A) they’re badass and B) they’re a constant reminder this is no ordinary 911. Just in case you forget though, custom door sills engraved with the words “STAY SHARP” serve as a reminder to keep your wits about you whilst driving this machine.

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Moment of Truth

Waiting for my dream car was hard, but the wait was made more bearable by the fact Porsche occasionally sent photos of “my” car as it worked its way through the factory in Zuffenhausen.

Then, this spring, I finally got the call. “My” GT3 Touring was ready. (I was lucky; if you place an order for a new 911 now, the wait is roughly two years.)

Parked in a cavernous empty room at Porsche Canada’s offices, I’m happy — and relieved — to see my GT3 looks even better than I’d dared hope. Looking at it up close, there are many little unexpected details that don’t appear even on Porsche’s impressive online configurator. For example, the upper edge of the car’s dash is covered in embossed leather with a subtle texture I’ve never seen on another 911. I also discovered that even the air vents are covered in Mojave Beige leather.

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Sitting in those deep carbon buckets and firing up the racing-spec 502 horsepower naturally-aspirated motor and roaring out onto the road, this car immediately just feels right. It doesn’t seem like a mass-produced industrialized product as all other cars do; this one is unique. Among all of the hundreds of other cars I’ve ever driven over the years, none have felt unique, not until now.

Porsche makes you pay dearly to feel unique, of course. All told, I spent $46,220 on options, on top of the GT3 Touring’s $180,300 suggested retail price. “On 911s, customers spend 20 to 40 per cent on top of MSRP [on options],” Martins said. I only spent 26 per cent of MSRP on options, which means, incredibly, that my build was relatively modest. Note to self: dream bigger.

The SHARP x Porsche GT3 Touring build sheet:

GT3 build sheet in post

Learn more about the Porsche 911 GT3 Touring here.