A fun car, not a show car.
Singer’s latest Porsche restoration is a sensuous blur
Singer Vehicle Design is at it again. And in scope and scale, the southern California Porsche 911 custom shop may have outdone its previous reimagined Porsche projects.
Singer client Scott Blattner wanted to make his 1990 964-generation 911 lighter. He also wanted to make it faster. All that’s easier said than done, of course, so to help him achieve his goals, Singer teamed up with Williams Advanced Engineering, a part of Formula 1 mainstay Williams Grand Prix Engineering Group, based in Oxfordshire, England.
The result was a two-year Dynamics and Lightweighting Study (DLS), which examined all the componentry of the 964 Porsche, to determine where weight could and should be saved, how to make the car more slippery, and how to increase output in a manageable, dynamic way.
“The guys at Singer have always been receptive to the question ‘What if?’’ Blattner says. “So the question became…What if Singer worked on restoring and modifying my beloved 27-year old Porsche 964, with the assistance of an engineering concern born from the world of F1? How would such a car look and how would it perform?”
The answer, it should not surprise you, is “Bad ass.”
In addition to Singer and Williams, firms such as Brembo, Michelin, and BBS Motorsport got involved. Porsche engineering legends Norbert Singer and Hans Mezger each lent their own expertise to the project as well, while racer Marino Franchitti and automotive journalist Chris Harris served as development drivers alongside Williams’s own team.
Blattner’s 964 is finished in a shade of green dubbed Absinthe, which is fitting because the whole car blurs your senses. The steel body panels were replaced with carbon fiber and revised to accommodate extra track width, while magnesium and titanium materials populate many of the Porsche’s redone mechanicals. Williams employed computational fluid dynamics to optimize underbody and surface aerodynamics, and the entire suspension was revised using lightweight components, enhanced geometry, and improved adjustability.
Oh, the engine? Beneath the elegant ducktail, the Porsche 3.6-liter flat-six has been thoroughly massaged by Singer et al and is now bored to 4.0 liters, with four-valve heads, a carbon-fiber airbox, fan shroud and intake trumpets, ram-air induction via the rear side windows, and an exhaust system made of Inconel and titanium. The result is a nice round 500 horsepower.
All that power is sent to fat, bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires on 18-inch magnesium BBS center-lock wheels, while lightweight Brembo monobloc calipers and carbon composite rotors lurk behind them.
Captaining his 2,180-pound machine from a Blood Orange carbon-fiber driver’s seat, Scott Blattner will be chucking a magnesium Hewland six-speed transmission, stomping carbon and titanium pedals, and—it should be said—smiling his face off.
Singer Vehicle Design founder Rob Dickinson is rightly chuffed as well. “On a technical level,” he says, “the study has been fascinating and has resulted in an incredible restoration with the benefit of top drawer resources and modern science. Artistically it has been a second chance to connect with the machine on a new level.”
Singer plans to release the results of the Dynamics and Lightweighting Study to no more than 75 enthusiasts, and future 964 commissions will take place in the UK on the Williams campus at a new Singer facility.