Is this the Ultimate 911?


Throwing a 993 engine in a longhood 911 chassis sounds like a very, very good idea. The 1993—1998 version of the 911 represented the swan song of the air-cooled flat-6; and what a marvelous song it is. Many Porsche purists consider it the last real 911 before Porsche abandoned the air-cooled platform for the liquid cooled engine that has powered subsequent 911s. It’s a remarkable engine, and a remarkable car—one Porsche reseller told me that he could make a business of just brokering 993s and that their demand hasn’t diminished in the 12 years since the last one was built.

Even though Porsche was at the peak of the air-cooled 911 engineering curve, the 911 had been hamstrung by a design compromise made three decades earlier. When the 1974 911 was released, the newly required impact bumpers created an odd rubbery front end. The flexible bits necessitated shortening the hood by a few inches, forever dubbing pre-’74 cars “longhoods”. Ever since, there has been a cottage industry of backdating cars: taking a later model 911 and modifying the body panels and trim to make it look like a pre ’74 car—usually an RS or RSR.

Enter Singer Vehicle Design. Rather than taking a salvaged pre-’74 chassis and dropping in a 993 engine, they’ve started with the much less desirable ’87-’89 3.2 liter chassis. This is an example of the versatility of the 911’s lineage. That a 1987 chassis with a 1998 engine can look like a 1972 car. The consistency of construction and timelessness of the 911 makes it virtually the only car that can undergo such apparent time-shifting.

The Singer Design build is compelling for a number of reasons, and seems to combine the best of both worlds of classic design and modern(ish) power. I think it does so fairly successfully. There’s a lot I like about it, the lifting duck-tail is a great compromise between the classic ducktail and the later-model fin. The Raydot style mirror is a lovely race-y touch that evokes the competitive spirit of the marque, as does the center-hood fuel filler cap. The side mounted oil filler is a great throwback to the ’72-only location. The vintage style interior is fantastic, from the grommeted seats to the Momo Monza wheel. Why they chose that odd silhouetted screaming face as a ghosted background for the tachometer in an otherwise perfectly executed gauge cluster remains a mystery.

I don’t know pricing, but it’s certainly a remarkable looking machine, and a great way to have the best of Porsche’s various 911 models. More information on Singer’s site.

Update:
Hank hipped us to this video of the Singer team walking Adam Carolla through an example. Thanks Hank!

DISCUSS (7 Comments)

  1. Erik S.

    …”Why they chose that odd silhouetted screaming face as a ghosted background for the tachometer in an otherwise perfectly executed gauge cluster remains a mystery.”

    This is whose face that is… Rob Dickinson, the creator of the car. Wikipedia blurb follows…

    Rob Dickinson (born 23 July 1965) is a guitarist, singer, and songwriter previously of the band Catherine Wheel. He is now a solo artist. Dickinson was raised in Norfolk, England, and is the younger cousin of Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson.

    While a member of Catherine Wheel from 1990 to 2000, Dickinson proved himself as a talented songwriter and soulful vocalist. However, after the 2000 release of Catherine Wheel’s last album, Wishville, the group disbanded with little fanfare.

    Dickinson leads a relatively private life and little is known about his activities in the years following Catherine Wheel’s breakup. In recent interviews he confirmed that he designs custom automobiles, a known pursuit of Dickinson’s prior to his musical career.

  2. rich

    yummo

  3. motoringconbrio

    Is this the Ultimate 911?

    quite possibly. i also give you this, along similar lines:

  4. hank

    superb interview with Adam, here:

    http://www.adamcarolla.com/CarCastBlog/2010/09/24/rob-dickinson/

  5. motoringconbrio

    christ these cars are beautiful. here’s another good one:

    http://axisofoversteer.blogspot.com/2010/02/orange-crush.html

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