There is a movement happening. Although somewhat frequent here in California, it isn’t the seismic waves of Earth’s lithosphere. This seismic activity is in the form of customizing iconic vehicle brands with enhanced performance and style. Bespoke vehicles that in their essence iconic to a point that changing the appearance and performance of such a vehicle is considered blasphemy.
Founded in 1931 by Adolpf Rosenberger, Anton Piëch and Ferdinand Porsche as “Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche GmbH” usually referred to as Porsche in Stuttgart Germany. One of their first assignments was to design a car for the people. What became known as the Volkswagen beetle. World War II hit and VW was turned to producing military vehicles. After the war, in December of 1945, Ferdinand Porsche was arrested for war crimes but never tried.
During his 20 month incarceration, Fredinand’s son Ferry Porsche decided to build his own car, based off the VW Beetle chassis. The Porsche 356 was built in a small sawmill in Gmünd, Austria with his sister Louise (who married Anton Piëch). Believed to be the first actual Porsche vehicle the 356 was the first car sold by the company in 1948.
The model went through several iterations as Volkswagen sourced parts were replaced by Porsche built parts such as the engine case in 1954. The body work designed by Erwin Komenda was also refined. They kept the rear mounted air-cooled engine which was rare for automobile makers of the time and proved to have exceptional weight balance.
In 1964 after a fair amount of success in racing, a re-design was in store. The Porsche 911 was launched with a 6-cylinder “boxer” engine. The iconic design continues today, and thus the elevated stature measures our initial claim that customizing such a vehicle is taboo.
Times are a changing. In this pluralist era, we see electric motors dropped into vintage trucks, Ford muscle Coyote motors stuck in an AMC Javelin and the like. So why not take a classic beauty such as the Porsche 911 and pump it up a bit. Enthusiasts like British Fashion icon Magnus Walker have a stable of personalized Porsche’s. He quoted the manifesto of ‘Urban Outlaw’: “If you don’t bother with convention, anything is possible.”
As a heritage based company, Porsche appears to celebrate the creativity and ingenuity customers have taken with their vehicles. Case in point is the - subtle at first glance and magnificent in detail - vehicles coming out of Singer Vehicle Design. To be clear, the cars from Singer are a product of their painstaking efforts of a Porsche 911 restored and reimagined by Singer. Always referred to as a Porsche 911, not a Singer Porsche or Singer 911.
Could it have been the 4.4 magnitude quake in Malibu, the 4.0 rocker in Orange County, or the 4.5 roller in San Bernardino, all in 2009 that inspired Ex English Rocker Rob Dickinson to shake up the automotive world and start Singer Vehicle Design in Los Angeles, California. None-the-less, his commissioned designs for the legendary marque are quite extraordinary.
Burns Stainless had designed the original exhaust on Rob's first mule car and all the exhausts on the "Classic" Model have been sourced by Burns Stainless.
We recently noticed that this Max Power Motors 4.0 Singer reimagined 1990 Porsche Targa hit the auction block at over $1.1 Million dollars. The “basket handle” model features a vibrant Rubystone Red skin over carbon-fiber body panels and custom Navy Blue leather interior. Ed Pink Racing engines upped the displacement of the boxer flat-six to 4.0 liters connected to a five-speed manual transaction with limited slip differential.
Each car by Singer is stripped down to the steel unibody and reinforced to be fitted with carbon-fiber panels including the fenders, bumpers, hood and rear decklid.
The air cooled carbureted flat-six engine is rated at 390 horsepower with 315 foot pounds of torque with custom crankshaft, pistons, cylinders, connecting rods, camshafts, cylinder heads, oil pump, and intake system. All that power is vented through a pair of custom ceramic-coated Burns Stainless 3:1 base collectors to dual mufflers and tailpipes. Burns Stainless also had the pleasure to road test this car with Rob on PCH until we achieved the perfect exhaust note at 6000 RPM.
The vehicle was sold via auction from Max Power Motors of Connecticut with a complete Carfax report and build sheet from Singer on BringATrailer.com. Congratulations to the new owner, it is certainly a one-of-a-kind vehicle sure to be a prize in any collection.
Photos provided by Max Power Motors/Bring A Trailer/Singer Vehicle Design