Porsche 911 Turbo reimagined by Singer
The reimagined Singer Porsche 911 Turbo will hit the streets this year. With the release of the Turbo Study, we look at what puts it ahead of the pack.
Singer Vehicle Design is about to embark on a new journey. Until now, the 911 “reimagineers” in California have limited themselves to restoring and modding classic, naturally aspirated 911s. This is our first glimpse at the Turbo study, as well as Singer’s first redesign of a classic 911 Turbo.
The Turbo Study, like every other Singer Vehicle concept, was created by a team of dedicated engineers and, more importantly, true petrolheads, including founder Rob Dickinson.
Singer Vehicle Design’s latest focus is restorative reconditioning for forced induction 911s, and the Turbo Study is a Wolf Blue reinvention of a 964-generation 911 Turbo.
It’s mostly based on the 911 Turbo from the 964 generation, although, as we all know, that wasn’t the first turbocharged 911 – that was the 930. So let’s begin there. ‘There’s some logic to that,’ says Rob Dickinson, founder and executive chairman of Singer Group, ‘but there’s logic to taking this wonderful platform in the 964 – it’s a car we love dearly and understand very well, I think it would have been perverse for us to use anything different.’
All of the iconic characteristics remain present and correct, with some aspects refined or repurposed. For example, the shark-fin vents in the rear wheel arches are repurposed as air intakes. The distinctive whale tail of those Turbo cars is on display, with fat tyres wrapped around Fuchs-like alloy wheels. Aspects of the previous Porsche 930 Turbo cars are also integrated into the exterior design.
The Turbo Study takes Singer’s cockpit design to new, more opulent heights on the inside. This initial version is trimmed in Malibu Sand leather with Black Forest wood panelling, and has amenities like electrically adjustable and heated seats, air conditioning, and a phone holder — a far cry from the Dynamics and Lightweighting Study.
“It’s a massive opportunity to take things to the next level… we’re introducing wood and cork and – hold onto your hat – granite as a material inside; the Classic and DLS cars have a lightweight, road racing ethic while the Turbo is more sporting but it’s a celebration of refinement and luxury, too.” As a result, the materials are sourced from companies that collaborate with both Aston Martin and Bentley.
What is the performance like?
Well, we’re happy to let you know. Powered by a 3.8-litre ‘Mezger’ flat-six engine the Turbo Study produces 450bhp and is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. However, as with each commission, you have an option; drivers can request their own power outputs based on their individual needs. “The mission is to ensure the car is captivating at 40mph or 140mph,” adds Dickinson. “We aren’t particularly interested in the arms race around power.”
Speaking of lag, couldn’t early 911 Turbos be a bit, er… prickly?
‘The Turbo Study also features dual turbochargers with electric wastegates, as well as air-to-water intercooling to accommodate the higher power output,’ Dickinson adds. What about turbo lag, though? ‘It’s an iconic aspect of that automobile and might still be enticing; given that we’re still in development, keep an eye on it – the option to set two different mappings that could result in more or less turbo lag is an intriguing one.’
“Some people like prickly!” Dickinson said. Naturally, Singer Vehicle Design has thought about this. The bodywork is made of carbon fibre to help keep it light, and those commissioning all-wheel drive can specify a turbo repair – something the Singer team have been able to do since 2014. “The majority of Classic restorations are rear-wheel drive,’ Dickinson points out, ‘I’d guess we’ll see proportionally more requests for all-wheel drive with the Turbo – but we’ll see how that develops.”
The Turbo commissions, according to Dickinson, have a wider track than the Classic study, as well as ‘Turbo-specific braking,’ carbon ceramic brakes, and either Michelin Pilot Sport 4S or Cup 2 tyres.
Singer’s crew has provided alternatives to make a driver’s Turbo replica a real grand tourer, or something to destroy lap times, and it’s all about choice. The suspension on this Wolf Blue version is set up for grand touring.
Well, the crew is well aware that there are unwritten boundaries to how far they will go in terms of dynamics – in order to maintain the engineering’s purity. Dickinson says he and the team are “very captivated” by suspension damping, which they have pushed to new limits with the lightweight DLS cars, and they are looking into using electrical adaptive damping in future Turbo projects.
‘But there comes a point where you start to erode the very essence of what a 911 is, and we have to understand what our clients want from their cars: an authentic experience of something they can’t get now,’ he says. ‘If we start shovelling in overly modern ways of tempering the natural attitude of an air-cooled, rear-engine car it starts to become a law of diminishing returns.”
Will there be a Singer Porsche EV?
The short answer is no. At least not any time soon. “I’m fascinated by the electric motivation of cars, and we have a network that includes many pioneers electrifying their cars,” adds Dickinson, “but I’m less fascinated by motivating an old 911 with electricity. So, while that isn’t to say that the revelation that we’re clearly in the epicentre of isn’t fascinating to us, you won’t be seeing anything like that from us any time soon.”
Despite this, Singer is keeping its options open with development plans in the works. But, before we get there, let’s take a moment to appreciate the finer points and unwavering purity of the Californian team’s latest masterpiece.