Singer Vehicle Design shows us its latest dramatic reimagining of the iconic Porsche 911

Land Rover’s Defender has Kahn Design, Jaguar’s E-Type has Eagle and Porsche’s 911 has Singer.

The US-based tuning house is synonymous with Porsche’s iconic sports car across the globe and even showcased its latest works at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed at the personal invitation of Lord March.

Though Singer works exclusively with the 964 911s, the company has recently branched out to start restoring Targa variants as well as traditional coupés. We arrive at a photographic studio in east London to see both cars in more detail, and Singer boss Rob Dickinson explains the idea behind the brand.

“I thought, 'Why not try and celebrate this incredible air-cooled era of the 911 with some kind of halo machine that embodied everything that was great about the car? Something that was a kind of greatest hits car,'” says Dickinson, a former Lotus engineer.

The first Singer model was restored by Dickinson himself, as he melded together a 1969 Porsche 911 chassis with a 1979 engine to create his own daily driver. “I was constantly being asked to sell it,” he says, “and I started to tell people that while they couldn’t buy it I could maybe build them something similar. That car was the genesis of Singer.”

Singer’s customers source their own 964s – described by Dickinson as “the sweet spot” of Porsche’s air-cooled 911 era - and then hand them over to the company for an extensive reimagining.

It’s important to note, as Singer does, that the company doesn’t manufacture its own cars, with its work instead being very much in the spirit of a tribute to Porsche – something which Dickinson says has enabled Singer to “tread gently” with the brand.

Though the original 964 came with a 3.6-litre flat six engine with 222bhp, Singer offers its customers either a Cosworth-tuned 3.8-litre flat six with 345bhp or a more powerful 4.0-litre flat six with a ‘conservative’ 385bhp.

To put those power outputs in context, a 4.0-litre Singer customer car recently lapped the Laguna Seca circuit just two seconds slower than McLaren’s P1, becoming the ninth fastest road car to ever drive the circuit.

Engines are linked to either a five or six-speed manual transmission, although Singer is already working on an automatic gearbox for a customer.

Sitting inside the cockpit of the coupé, you can easily see the attention to detail that Singer has lavished on the Porsche 911. It’s a classic interior but one which has been modernised to include luxuries such as air conditioning and satellite navigation. It’s all hidden, though, with the sat-nav screen only emerging when needed and the retro air-con button blending with the car’s original dashboard. Perhaps Singer’s most famous design trait, the rev-counter that goes all the way up to 11, is also present.

Dickinson hints that in the coming years the company will expand operations and bring out some surprises. “We intend to prove to the world in the next two years that we’re not one-trick ponies, but Singer will remain very Porsche-centric,” he says.

Singer has restored about 24 cars since starting operations in 2009, and despite its workforce expanding to 50, each car still takes around 10 months to produce at a cost of around 4000 man hours per vehicle. For Singer’s customers, however, the hand-built quality and exclusivity of the product is part of the appeal – as, arguably, is the price tag.

Singer’s services start at about £250,000, not including the cost of the donor car. With the various options and extras customers can specify, however, the average cost of a customer car can rise to around £285,000.

For Dickinson, though, the appeal of Singer is in experiencing what he believes is the pinnacle of Porsche’s heritage, and in taking “an icon like the 911 and polishing it up and re-presenting it to a new generation”.

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Comments
10

2 July 2015
Stunning.

2 July 2015
Had a good look over this at the Goodwood FoS, stunning.


2 July 2015
Wow! What a wagon! So much want for that.

By the way, Kahn are a collection of plastic fabricating shitehawks compared to Singer levels of engineering and attention to detail.


2 July 2015
Winston Churchill wrote:

By the way, Kahn are a collection of plastic fabricating shitehawks compared to Singer levels of engineering and attention to detail.

Agreed.

Singer are a million miles ahead of Kahn in their product refinement and respect for the base vehicle.

2 July 2015
EngageSportMode wrote:
Winston Churchill wrote:

By the way, Kahn are a collection of plastic fabricating shitehawks compared to Singer levels of engineering and attention to detail.

Agreed.

Singer are a million miles ahead of Kahn in their product refinement and respect for the base vehicle.

I third that!!

Cyborg

2 July 2015
How do they turn a profit? 250k over 4000 hours is £62.5 per hour. That's less than the hourly rate for a minor service for a boggo standard Golf round my neck of the woods.

2 July 2015
winniethewoo wrote:

How do they turn a profit? 250k over 4000 hours is £62.5 per hour. That's less than the hourly rate for a minor service for a boggo standard Golf round my neck of the woods.

probably because the poor 'technician' gets £9.50 an hour.

2 July 2015
might replace the Bristol with this....

2 July 2015
Super retro-chic styling and very classy! I haven't wanted a car this much since Eagle's gorgeous Speedster and Low Drag GT - both still the most beautiful cars in the world!

Cyborg

5 July 2015
I can't believe that Kahn is considered in here with Singer - what an insult, I know why don't you include Mansori in this list if all you mean is very expensive "bespoke". You have seen the 'Huntsman' version of the Defender? If not look it up and then have a rethink.

Overfinch or possibly Twisted for Land Rover - at least they had/have decent engineering of the base product and not just bejewelling something.

As to the article good pictures but needs more detail :-)

With a big Euromillions win I'd be visiting Singer as I can geek out on the engineering.

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