Singer Vehicle Design – A lesson in small details.

Little more than a year ago, I got to see a Singer 911 firsthand. My experience that day was etched into memory and today, I’d like to share it with you. 

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I first heard about Singer Vehicle Design about two years ago. Passing my time on YouTube, I came across a video with Chris Harris very predictably taking a white Singer 911 sideways around a track. Harris proclaimed it to be ‘sensational’ and ‘in many ways the perfect car.’ Naturally, my interest was piqued.

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Goldfinger at the Singer launch.

Roll on to June 2015 and by an incredible stroke of luck, I happened to be helping out at the launch of Singer Vehicle Design in Dubai! An exclusive launch party was held for the car. Rob Dickinson, the man behind Singer, was on hand to talk about his creation and it was fascinating to see how a childhood dream had been turned into reality. While the event itself was a great success, I didn’t spend much time with the car itself, something I later regretted.

Six months later, I’m back in Dubai for the winter holidays. The motorsport season is in full swing around the Middle East and a late December Friday finds me at the Dubai Autodrome, for a Porsche Owners Club Track Day. Imagine my surprise when I find the very Singer from the launch at the Autodrome!

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As the mist clears and the sun makes its appearance, the paint on the car glistens, drawing onlookers to it like moths to a flame. About twenty minutes later, with the audience having refocused their attention towards the watercooled action on track, I moved closer to spend some quality time with ‘Goldfinger.’

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Make no mistake, this car is wide. Not Rocket Bunny wide, but wide by classic 911 standards. Fuchs wheels encased in Michelin Pilot Sport tires on all four corners ensure that grip is maintained whenever this car is driven in anger, which it inevitably will be. Suspension is set up by the good folk at Ohlins in order to toe the line between comfort and performance. The headlights are Hella projector units, in order to provide optimal visibility at all times, while adding that something extra to Porsche’s traditional ‘smiley’ face.

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Looking around the car, it’s not hard to notice the quality of the bodywork. Everything lines up perfectly, and there are numerous little touches here and there that only increase safety and practicality, while remaining subtle, so that only the keenest-eyed Porschephiles can spot them.

Lifting the hood reveals the signature belt driven fan typical of aircooled Porsche motors. A second glance reveals a highly polished intake plenum from the 991 GT3. The motor has been tuned by Cosworth to create a 4 litre flat-six, culminating in the perfect balance between performance and heritage.

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Next, I moved to the gorgeous interior. As I opened the door, I was greeted by the smell of new leather. Patterned Recaros took care of the seating arrangements in this car, while a stitched 350mm MOMO Prototipo adorned the driver’s side. Sound was provided by a modern Becker unit, designed to look period correct, another nice touch. The passenger is reminded of the vehicle they are in by a ‘Reimagined by Singer’ logo on the dashboard. My favourite detail, however, was the fact that the orange-backed tachometer (central in Porsche 911s) was redone to show 11,000 revs per minute. While the Singer redlines at 7,200 rpm or so, it was just another reminder of how everything in this car has been ‘turned up to 11’.

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Climbing out, I shut the door with a satisfying ‘thunk’. Another detail that hides in plain sight, the doors are the only parts of the body that retain their sheet metal in order to make that very sound, peculiar to Porsche 911s. Every other panel on the car is carbon fibre, in order to reduce weight as much as possible. The result is an agile machine that is equally comfortable doing daily driving duties, as it is on track giving modern Ferraris a run for their money.

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Stepping back to give the car a final look, it’s hard to believe that this thing started life as a 964. That previously mentioned attention to detail has transformed this otherwise ordinary Porsche into something truly unique. Details like the tachometer and the doors are concrete evidence that the men behind Singer are truly men of imagination.

After all, it takes a special type of Porschephile to ‘reimagine’ a very successful formula and turn it into something even better. I say, all the best to them!

IMG_9416Special thanks to Phil McGovern, without whom this story would not have been possible. 

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