Say the word Singer to any car enthusiast and chances are, they won't be thinking about sewing machines or musicians. Instead, they'll probably begin drooling over products from Singer Vehicle Design, a firm that beautifully restores, reworks and 're-imagines' examples of the classic Porsche 911.
Though Porsche is a German company, Singer is a British enterprise, and its latest enterprise has been realised with the help of another well-known British brand – Williams Advanced Engineering, sister company to the Williams F1 team. They've teamed up to rework a 964-generation 911 and take it to the limit of what's possible.
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The engine is a classic Porsche design – an air-cooled flat-six, but it's been tuned up to an incredible 493bhp. It's mated to a lightweight, six-speed manual gearbox crafted from magnesium, and rear-wheel drive, which will make the car a handful for all but the most skilled of drivers.
Lightweight components are the order of the day, with magnesium wheels, carbon brakes and other components made from exotic materials bringing the car's dry weight to 990kg. Even the lightest modern 911 is over 1,500kg.
An aggressive aerodynamic package completes the exterior, and has been developed by Williams using its F1 know-how. It's designed to add extra downforce to the chassis, as well as channel plenty of air to the engine – essential for an air-cooled car.
To ensure the car is as good to drive as it is to look at, Singer has hired two consultants – racing driver Marino Franchitti and automotive journalist Chris Harris. Harris said: "I'm not an engineer by trade, but just look at the list of clever people around me and you'll see that's no great problem. I'm here for two reasons: to help define how the car drives, how it feels – how it will interact with each of the lucky owners."
The lucky buyer of this example, Scott Blattner, has chosen a unique 'Absinthe' shade for the car's exterior, mated to Blood Orange leather inside. However, every Singer restoration is bespoke, and customers will be able to tweak just about any part of the car to their own needs.
They'll need deep pockets, though. Top Gear says "a seven-figure price tag can't be ruled out" – with prices for 'ordinary' Singer cars regularly cresting £500,000. But with just 75 examples set to be restored to this standard, that's the price you pay for exclusivity.