SINGER COMES TO LONDON #2015 #Porsche-911-Singer
recently visited the UK, showcasing its cars at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and later exclusively in central London… Story: Simon Jackson /// Photography: #GF-Williams
Porsche restoration, tuning and modification specialist Singer Vehicle Design (SVD) is a name synonymous in Porsche circles with bespoke vehicles dripping with individuality and extraordinary quality. It’s also a brand heavily associated with the sun-kissed streets of California. However, back in July #SVD
founder and Briton, Rob Dickinson, accepted an invite to showcase the firm’s work at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. One of the #Porsche
cars you see here was exhibited, a striking restored #Porsche-911-Targa-964
, appeared on the exclusive Cartier Et Luxe lawn in front of Goodwood House. The second, a 3.8-litre Coupé, took to the famous hillclimb itself driven by Messrs Chris Harris and Marino Franchitti. By all accounts it was a successful trip overseas.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have been recognised by such regal dignitaries that have placed us on this coveted global stage,” commented Dickinson. “Our little company has been known to chase the best in all we do – and it’s a true honour that such a prestigious event acknowledges our passion and commitment, as well as our precise indulgences. I’m most proud of the reputation we’ve built – to us, the Singer brand stands for something special and it’s humbling to gain this type of recognition.”
Following the Goodwood weekend we were lucky enough to be invited to meet some of the faces behind Singer in a central London studio, and to gain a close-up view of the two very special customer cars it had brought over for the event. In person those behind the SVD brand regularly communicate terms such as ‘reimagined’ and ‘fully optimised’, but whichever language you may use to describe the Californian-based customiser, it’s clear that SVD is very good at what it does, and we can confirm that the results are breathtaking in the metal. The grey 964 is SVD’s first foray with Porsche’s iconic Targa design, transformed for a customer in Canada, and therefore referred to as the ‘Montreal’ car. This boasts a full restoration to SVD’s exacting standards, featuring a bespoke leather and suede interior, a 4.0-litre engine with sixspeed gearbox (developed for Singer by Ed Pink Racing Technology), Öhlins suspension, and Fuchs-style wheels. Rob is quick to praise the mechanicals of this car, saying: “The folks at Ed Pink have created a very docile engine that has been honed and improved upon, with a very sophisticated engine management system – one that is completely balanced from a weight ratio perspective, yet providing tremendous torque – truly an absolutely, wonderfully sweet engine.”
The yellow 964 Coupé belongs to a customer in the UK who kindly loaned it out for the purposes of the appearance at Goodwood, enabling the car to raise a few eyebrows on the hill. Powered by a 3.8-litre Cosworth engine built specifically for the customer in question, the car features a six-speed manual transmission, integrated roll-cage and one of Singer’s most popular trademark tweaks – Nickel-plated external fuel and oil filler caps.
Singer was admittedly born from humble beginnings, but its reputation continues to grow on a global scale. The company, and front man Rob himself, exudes a positively vibrant ambience, displaying sheer automotive artistry ensuring Singer’s work is viewed exclusively as a celebration of Porsche, and the iconic 911, with the utmost respect being paid to the brand’s original formula.
“When I moved to Los Angeles 15 years ago, I needed a car as a daily drive, so I bought a #1969
911 and did it up just the way I wanted,” Rob explained to us. “It was a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster, but people kept stopping me to ask whether they could get one too. Eventually, my answer became ‘maybe I could restore one for you’.”
There’s also a large emphasis on how the company is trying to ‘preserve’ and ‘personalise’ these cars, working collaboratively with their owners to make dreams a reality. It would seem that the only limits are a customer’s imagination. For these services clients pay handsomely, with prices starting at $395,000 (approximately £255,000) with most typically incurring costs in excess of $450,000 (£290,000). But, as Rob talks us around this particular pair of cars, the overriding messages we receive are the right ones. There’s a ‘no expense spared’ ethos and the firm’s meticulous standards and tough party line on absolute quality, driven by the man himself, are utterly remarkable. That’s part of the reason why there’s now a two-year waiting list for Singer’s services…