“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?” This was the question an enthusiastic Singer customer called Scott Blattner posed two years ago, and the Absinthe-coloured car up there is Singer’s typically emphatic response.
In a nutshell it’s one of Singer’s restored 911s turned up to 11, and the product of a collaborative project with Williams Advanced Engineering focused on reducing weight and turning up performance. Not content with working exclusively with an F1 outfit, Singer also drafted in some of the most celebrated engineers from Porsche’s past, a roster of celebrity test drivers and tasked its brakes, tyres, wheels, gearbox and suspension suppliers with upping their game accordingly.
The result is a suite of new, more extreme restoration options for customers who want to push their 964 donor car to the limit. Blattner’s car is the one you see here, the first to feature the upgrades, and one of only 75 examples that will be built not in California, but here at a new facility on the Williams campus in Oxforshire known as Singer at Grove. Whether they chose to strip their car bare like Blattner, or dress it for continent touring duties is entirely down to the customer.
We begin with the engine: a Porsche four-valve, four-camshaft, naturally aspirated, 368kW, air-cooled flat-six, revving to 9,000rpm and designed in collaboration with none other than Hans Mezger. Our hairs are standing to attention at just the thought of it. A lightweight six-speed manual developed by Hewland and left with a mesmerising exposed linkage, send all that power to the rear tyres – bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s.
You may have spotted a more aggressive aero package, well it’s not just for show. Developed using Willams’ CFD expertise it’s designed to meet the added cooling requirements of the engine, and downforce requirements of the chassis. Lighter suspension components with tweaked geometry and bespoke damping by EXE-TC up the cornering performance, while 18-inch forged magnesium BBS wheels and new carbon-composite Brembo brakes strip precious kilos, and look suitably pornographic. In fact the weight drops to as little as 990kg – a power to weight ratio approaching 372kW per tonne.
But components are components, it’s how they marry together on the move that makes the difference. That’s why dynamic development was left to hotshoe racing driver Marino Franchitti, and some bloke off the telly called Chris Harris. “I’m not an engineer by trade, but just look at the list of clever people around me and you’ll see that’s no great problem. I’m here for two reasons: to help define how the car drives, how it feels – how it will interact with each of the lucky owners,” said Harris, trying not to look smug.
And what of the price? In Singer’s words: “Costing of these restorations has been dependent on the client’s wishes and further details can be discussed with Singer.” Which is a nice way of saying: “a lot.” Given the companies ‘regular’ restorations regularly break the R5 mil barrier, go for all the new lightweighting and performance-enhancing possibilities and a bigger-figure tag here can’t be ruled out. Still, you can’t put a price on perfection.