The First Gold-Plated Porsche in the World Is Visualis’ 22-Carat Boxster

The gold-plated Porsche Boxster, the first in the world, unveiled in 2006 5 photos
The gold-plated Porsche Boxster, the first in the world, unveiled in 2006The gold-plated Porsche Boxster, the first in the world, unveiled in 2006Alchemist boss Jacques Blanc shows off a gold-leafed roofA Bentley with a roof in beaten gold, done by London's Alchemist
A Porsche is automotive perfection in and of itself, any gearhead will tell you. To some, that may not be enough and, for them, a little company known as Visualis made the world’s first gold-plated Porsche.
These days, gold-plated stuff – whether it’s smartphones, grillz, massive jewelry pieces, babies' pacifiers, toilets or even cars – is no longer the novelty it was almost two decades ago. Today, we’ve moved past the opulent, with many of the world’s billionaires looking as regular as possible on purpose.

This car, a Guinness record holder, no less, was not made for them.

September is autoevolution’s Porsche Month and, in addition to interesting details from the carmaker’s storied existence and incredible finds, we’ll also be talking about less than standard Porsche cars and assorted stuff. This is the opposite of standard: a Porsche Boxster completely covered in gold. Perhaps the most intriguing part of the story is that, despite the initial media attention this car got, it almost immediately slipped off the radar and into total oblivion.

In 2005, Visualis, a little company from Pforzheim, Germany, announced a bold new project. Pforzheim is home to some of the most famous jewelry and watch-makers in the world, and it’s often referred to as “the city of gold.” In keeping with the city’s reputation, Visualis decided it would make a gold-plated Porsche. Not a Porsche covered in golden wrap, which is the more common take on this upgrade, but a new custom job using genuine gold.

The gold\-plated Porsche Boxster, the first in the world, unveiled in 2006
To that end, it commissioned goldsmith and artist Bernd Hoeger with the task of covering the car in beaten gold. One year later, the world’s first golden Porsche was revealed. It was covered in a thin layer of 22-carat gold from the rims to the steering wheel. According to reports at the time, everything about the car had been gilded: the steering wheel, the door knobs, the body throughout, and the alloy rims.

No price was ever disclosed for the project, presumably because it was too expensive. Visualis, on the other hand, didn’t believe the billionaires of the world would see it that way, so they announced plans to make another 9 such Porsches. In other words, they wanted to release a limited-edition of gold-plated Boxsters.

Petra Koehler of Visualis told Bloomberg at the time that “curious people are already anxious to know who are going to be the owners of these magnificent automobiles.” Neither she nor anyone else ever said anything more.

As of the moment of press, there is no trace of this Porsche, and neither are there any clues as to whether Visualis ever got to make the other nine. If they were made, they never even registered with mainstream and specialized media – and, let’s be real here, this isn’t the kind of news that gets lost in the daily cycle.

Alchemist boss Jacques Blanc shows off a gold\-leafed roof
That said, using beaten gold to give luxury cars a new and more personalized look isn’t new. At around the same time, London-based Alchemist was telling the New Atlas that this was the future in terms of car customization for the rich. Jacques Blanc, an art director who used to run the Alchemist (it’s no longer in operation, as far as we can tell), explained that the 3,000-year-old tradition of gilding objects was more like art than just a desire to show off.

The Alchemist did several cars, including Bentleys, Porsches and Aston Martins. Their services included just the roof or the entire body of the car, with clients offered the option to insert precious stones in the gold layer. Because nothing says class like the subtlety of a gilded car, fitted with sparkling gemstones.

Gold plating implies creating thin layers of gold, which are then applied to the just-polished surface. Another invisible layer goes on top of it, to ensure that the gold can’t be scratched off. The gilded surface isn’t affected by the elements and, with Visualis’ record-breaking project, didn’t affect the warranty of the Porsche.
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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