New, or old? The folks at Singer Vehicle Designs have made that question wholly obsolete for the very lucky few who are able to own their own Porsches that have been restored (and reimagined) by this world-class vehicle shop. Singer specializes in complete overhauls of the 964-era Porsche 911s, which were produced from 1989 to 1994. While the generation of Turbo before this, the 930 “Widomaker” might be more famous, many enthusiasts consider this generation to be the ultimate expression of the air-cooled Porsche sports cars. In the past, Singer has largely used the naturally aspirated, non-Turbo cars as the canvasses on which to paint their creations, but in the past few years has been hard at work on their “Turbo Study” cars – the end result being what they consider to be the ultimate expression of these automotive icons.
When a car is commissioned, Singer will strip the car down to the last nut and bolt of the body and motor, and perform a complete, rotisserie rebuild of the car. In addition to rebuilding and renewing all of the OEM components, Singer will also supply a bespoke interior, completely unique body panels and trim pieces, and any other accessory that is envisioned. It’s difficult to go into a low level of detail here when discussing exactly what Singer does to a car, because every commission is completely unique. Each car must be discussed and dissected in isolation. Suffice it to say, in the entire automotive industry and certainly in the Porsche world, Singer stands absolutely alone.
The Take on the Turbo
We mentioned the “widowmaker” Turbo above. 911 Turbos of this vintage are prized for their raw power and unadulterated driving experience, but with just a bit more refinement and controlability than their predecessors. As they’ve done with naturally-aspirated 911s, Singer sought to create the perfect marriage between the original charms and driving experience of the 964s as they left the factory, and the performance and aesthetic upgrades that can be brought about with today’s technology.
Earlier in 2022, Singer released a new vehicle in their Turbo Study line, and this time paired it with a “sports focus.” They’ve been able to turn the air-cooled 3.8L turbocharged motor up to 510 horsepower. The motor has been completely rebuilt, and supplied with bespoke intercoolers and improved cold air circulation to the engine bay (of critical importance in such a high-performance air cooled motor). In order to keep all of that power reigned in a little better than the originals, Singer has also provided carefully-tuned ABS and traction control systems, as well as beefier brakes. There’s also a stiffening cross-brace in the rear to mitigate chassis flex under all of that additional power. Notably, this car sports rear wheel drive, in contrast to the all-wheel drive of the factory Turbos. They’ve added cruise control to these old girls as well, sure to be greatly appreciated by any owner driving their new Singer home on the straight desert highways leading out of Los Angeles.
Classic German Aesthetics
Visually, the Turbo is stunning from the outside; a sumptuous wide body is perfectly proportionate, and the wheel wells are perfectly radiused to fit the new, wider tires. It’s a difficult task to pick apart just what is Singer and what is Porsche, so perfectly have they been blended together. One telltale touch is the center filling cap, as well as some very handsome carbon fiber elements on the front splitter and rear whale-tail spoiler. Under that spoiler, the delicate gold Singer badge provides the only real visual clue of the significance of the car to an average passerby. For a slightly modern look, new LED projector headlights have been installed that sport halo running lights, while the car itself is painted in a two-tone scheme inspired by vintage Porsche color palettes.
The interior is absolutely gorgeous, and might just be where Singer excels the most. The first thing you’ll notice upon climbing in the cabin is the retro houndstooth upholstery, woven between custom bucket seats and trimmed out in carbon fiber. They’ve also managed to shoehorn electronic adjustments and heating elements in these otherwise bare bones-looking race seats. It’s hard to say exactly what Singer has done with the dash… but the classic 911 gauge setup looks incredible, like a fine timepiece.
Continuation of a Legacy
Singer’s 964 Turbos are undoubtedly another brick in the wall of a rich legacy of unbeatable craftsmanship and vision for Singer. There’s nothing incredibly new or groundbreaking here, and that’s okay. Singer has built their entire reputation about subtle refinements to already-beautiful vehicles, sacrificing outlandish styling with subtle tweaks and masterful craftsmanship. Much like an oil painting that you’d find in a museum, Singers are meant to be studied and appreciated at length, each pass of the eyes revealing new details that would never be immediately obvious to even the most discerning enthusiast. For Porsche fans, let alone those who prefer the Turbo flavor, 911s don’t get any better than the Porsche Turbo Study cars.