Singer 911: resurrection of a legend

Written by Kurt | Sunday, 19 September 2010 15:53

singer7Over the years many people have tried their hand at upgrading and beautifying old Porsche 911s, more often than not the outcome is pitiful. Ending up with 911s clad in huge plastic fenders, silly steering wheels and colours that appeared to have been chosen by Stevie Wonder. Thankfully some Porschephiles do know how to modernise a classic 911, american company 'Singer Vehicle Design' is one of them. Their recreaction of the legend from Stuttgart must be the most thorough example in the world.

Singer plans to build their version of the classic 911 in small numbers starting this year. Earlier this year their prototype car was unveiled at the Pebble Beach concours and made quite an impact. It didn't fail to wow even the most hardline 911 purist. That, of course has a reason; it shines most of all due to the attention to detail that went into making the car. It is so beautifully detailed, it is hard to imagine that it came from a country where bigger is better and hamburgers are preferred over quails eggs with celery salt. Singer likes to call it "A celebration of the golden air-cooled era of the world's most important sports car."

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Each 'reinvention' starts with a classic 911, any 911 built from 1969 to 1989 can be used, which is stripped to its bare shell. The chassis is restored where needed and prepared for the recreation of the car. Apart from the shell and fixing and mounting points almost no original component makes it into the finished car. Almost everthing is replaced with something better that helps recreating the perfect 911. Additional reinforcements are welded into the car on various places and an extra backbone is added as well as a carbon fibre 'second-skin' to keep the body from flexing all over the place. To add some lightweightness all the exterior panels, bar the doors, are replaced with carbon fibre examples to Singer's design very much resembling the old lightweight specials and race versions of the 1970s 911. Needless to say it looks rather tasty, the butch fenders, the little spoiler added to the front for high speed stability and the retractable rear spoiler make it a combination of all the best elements of 40 years of 911 design. The shouty orange colour of the prototype car fits the car perfectly, even without any engine noise it is as if it's shouting; "I'm here, i'm here to give you an exciting retro ride!".

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Looking at the engine it looks like a slightly blinged-up air-cooled engine, nothing special it seems. The 6 chromed trumpets look as if they could've come from Halfords with the addition of 6 tea sieves from Wedgewood welded on top. But, you'd be wrong, thankfully some serious changes were made to the internals of the engine as well. Titanium rods, aluminium cylinder heads and optimised pistons are added as well as independent throttle bodies and a Motec engine computer. All this (and more) make the engine spin up to 8000 RPM while it delivers an impressive 360 hp. In full-race trim though, the engine can go up to 425 hp. To cope with all the power a 6-speed Porsche G50 gearbox is added, to keep it on the road the car is given the rear suspension of the 80s 911SC, albeit with some upgrades and an additional rool-bar.

Inside the cockpit, it's very much Porsche; lots of black, more black and then a bit more black finished of with a beige headlining and a very untastful orange rev counter. The seats seem to be something special (rather large on first sight) but with the interesting addition of a few metal rings, which must have been inspired by any 60s racing machinery. It is finished of with a wonderful aluminium mirror which stings through the small door window and is adjustable, very clever! Now for a crucial question; would we have it? Well, yes, but then we like retro, you might not do so?

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Photos: All courtesy of James Lipman (jameslipman.com)!