► Porsche restorers enlist F1 expertise
► Expect even lighter, faster modified 911s
► Flat-six engine makes 493bhp without liquid-cooling
If you’ve an interest in older Porsche 911s you’ll be aware of the work of US obsessives Singer Vehicle Design. For some years the Californians have been taking in customers’ tired 964s and, over the course of some eight months and at a cost of more than half a million dollars, restoring and modifying the standard cars into pretty special machines that are the distilled essence of the air-cooled 911. We last drove one in early 2016 and we’re yet to come down from the high.
Needless to say, Singer’s processes are thorough in the extreme. Bodyshells are reinforced and seam-welded before being fitted with exquisite carbonfibre panels; engine cover, bonnet and wings. New glazing goes in, as do Singer’s own headlights and gorgeous nickel-plated detailing. The finished shape evokes both the ’70s RSR and ’60s 911R. Similarly, the infinitely customisable interiors reference 911s at least a decade older than the 964. The money-no-object modification continues with Öhlins suspension, a new wiring loom, a hand-built motor with a six-figure dollar value, Brembo 911 Turbo brakes and a race-style bag fuel tank.
Now Singer, founded by Englishman Rob Dickinson, has announced a couple of high-profile partnerships set to take its work to the next level. Three clients have commissioned special cars with still more extreme power and weight targets, and to meet them Singer has enlisted the services of Williams Advanced Engineering (the consultancy arm of the Grand Prix group) and famed Porsche engine designer Hans Mezger.
The first product of this elite super-group is a 4.0-litre naturally-aspirated motor developing 500hp (493bhp) and revving beyond 9000rpm. The unit, which starts out as a standard 1990 3.6, is worked over with four-valve heads, titanium con-rods, aluminium throttle bodies, carbon intake trumpets, a bespoke carbon airbox, fuel injection with twin injectors, a ram-air induction system fed by inlets at the rear side windows and a ludicrously lightweight exhaust system in Inconel and titanium.
For a relatively young firm, Singer already has a rich history of highly-regarded collaborators, including Cosworth, who restored engines in the early years, and LA-based composite wizards Aria. The Williams partnership operates outside of Singer’s standard commissions, and will help satisfy its most hardcore customers.
‘This has been a fantastic opportunity to showcase the core capabilities of Williams Advanced Engineering,’ says technical director Paul McNamara. ‘Having had the opportunity to consult with Hans Mezger about the development of the engine, our team was pleased to able to provide a solution to Singer’s requirements and, of course, to be a part of this iconic vehicle’s continued evolution.’
The bulk of Singer’s engine work will remain with Ed Pink Racing Engines, with most clients going for the 4.0-litre unit: 390bhp at 7300rpm and 315lb ft at 5900rpm. The 4.0-litre motor in the new 911 GT3 makes 493bhp – the same output as the unit modified by Singer and Wiliams – but the GT3 motor is of course liquid-cooled.
Inside Singer: read CAR's guided tour of the 911 fettlers' LA HQ