Sculpting the essence of an air-cooled 911 to a one-off piece of art

A 1991 Porsche 911 Reimagined by Singer 

There’s a saying that a man should accomplish three things in in life: build a house, plant a tree, become a father. I’d extend that bucket list to bringing a car back to life that one had cherished when we were young and fearless. When we dreamt of optimizingour cars but reality had us cashing in our stereo system to buy a new set of tires. I admit that I drove a couple of my cars to the graveyards. Maybe for that reason I have to give something back. Maybe that’s why I have this urge to restore one of them. And when I think about restoring a car, shouldn’t I improve it a bit? Doing all those things that I had to skip when I was young and skint?

Now, think about your last shrink who had asked questions like “in utopia, what would you really want to do?” That’s easy, I’d do it all. The fastest engine, the most beautiful rims, you get it. But that was before I saw this. Technically, it is an almost 30 years old Porsche 964. The VIN plate says so.

When Singer Vehicle Design from California restored this time-withered 964, they did more than go all crazy. They had an orgasm. The car is an eruption of carbon fiber. Why satisfice with repainted body panels, when there’s the option to replace them with carbon fiber panels? Some might struggle with the impressive width of the fender flares. The owner might have had to rebuild his garage after the restoration so that his 964 would still fit between the walls. But did you ever have the chance to witness Brazilian Carnival? Would you say that those luscious hips covered by nothing but those twinkling tiny costumes are too wide? The thing is, you stare. And you stare for a damn reason. In Brazil and at this restoration. The proportions are oh so right.

The Californian restorers had similar high-strung ambitions withthe performance side of the car too, but they stuck with the normally aspirated air-cooled principle. They didn’t go the easy way by squeezing a turbo or a compressor into the induction system. Instead, they  approachedthe powerplant the old school way. The 964 came stock with a 3.6 liter 250 hp air-cooled flat six. The displacement for this restoration rose to 4.0 liter (the badge on the engine grill makes me smile) and the output peaks somewhere in the 400 hp region.

And then there are those little details. The oil filler cap, machined from solid aluminum, always locking with the letters OIL standing in a level straight. The headlights are bespoke bi-xenonsand (and only fit with Singer’s carbon fiber bodywork). The Fuchs-rims turn out to only look like the traditional Fuchs—but gosh, do they look good—in fact they are three-piece rims tailored for Singer. The fuel filler cap in the middle. The exhaust pipes and the sound they blast out. And then there’s the engine grill. That grill is machined from solid aluminum. The horizontal bars aren’t clipped onto the three vertical struts—that complete thing is one single piece! This part is my favorite because it shows the dedication Rob Dickinson’s companyputs into its restorations.

The best thing is, you can drive this beauty of a beast daily. After all, it is not an ultra-rare 911R or a meticulously period-correct 73 museum-esque RS, it is only a tired964 that a crazy owner had given Rob Dickinson to restore and evolvea bit in due course. And since Rob has been in love with the 911 since he first saw it during a family vacation in France when he was a young boy, he has soaked up the essence the icon ever since.

The result of this 964-restoration is what I would have done, if I follow my shrink with his Utopian question. And it is that expensive too. Basically, this owner ended up with a non-period-correct 911 hotrod but at the same time it he received a piece of art, a carbon-fiber sculpture of a 911 S/T and he can drive it so very fast every day. Oh, how much I envy this owner. I think I need to see my shrink again.

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