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porsche hangout In Pursuit Of Perfection: The Story Of Singer Porsche

If you’re a luxury sports car enthusiast of any kind, you likely know a little about Singer Porsche. Singer Vehicle Design is a California-based company founded by arguably the biggest Porsche 911 loyalist of them all – Rob Dickinson.

In addition to the impressive reputation of Singer Porsche, there’s a rich history and an iconic story to tell. Discover more about this legendary automotive presence, its influence in the Porsche car-buying industry, and a story that might just amaze you.

What Is a Singer Porsche, Anyway?

If you’re unfamiliar with the Singer Porsche, the answer may be a bit nuanced. It’s one part restored Porsche 911. But it’s also part customized classic 911. It can also be a speed demon, pavement-chomping outlaw, and a completely unique model 911 altogether. And while those definitions are about as clear as motor oil, here’s what you really need to know about the Singer Porsche.

Singer Vehicle Designs actively restores air-cooled 964 Porsche 911 models, essentially transforming them into what many call “the ultimate 911.” A Singer Porsche is a Porsche 911 reimagined by Singer.

The models typically eligible for these restorations are 1984 through 1994 model 964s. Collectively, Porsche produced around 60,000 911 models in that time span. So, there are plenty of Porsche 911s out there. However, it’s the restoration that significantly boosted the 911 to its high value and wild popularity.

What Makes a Singer Porsche So Desirable?

The Singer treatment is more than just a restoration. The 964 Porsche 911 is the perfect fit for these air-cooled improvements already because of its air-cooled flat-six engine configuration. It has classic air-cooled proportions and modern technology, too.

Singer takes these 964s and breathes new life into them, paying special attention to every detail. Every amenity is optimized, reinvigorating the original soul of the Porsche 911. When you see a Singer Porsche, know everything’s been replaced, improved, or streamlined, including:

  • The engine
  • The drivetrain
  • The suspension
  • The bodywork
  • The interior touchpoints

It’s estimated that more than 4,000 hours go into each restoration. And each car takes roughly nine months to complete.

How Singer Porsche Began

So, where did this Porsche 911 restoration phenomenon begin? It was the vision of Rob Dickenson that kicked off the Singer Porsche. He was an ex-car designer, a rock and roll musician, and the globe’s foremost aficionado on the essence of the air-cooled Porsche.

Dickenson’s passion started in the 70s on an autoroute in France. The UK-born Porsche enthusiast had been on vacation with his family as a kid. It was on that French autoroute that his father pointed out an oncoming (and fast-approaching) Porsche 911 Targa. A spark ignited in him that would change the landscape of Porsche in the years to come.

Driven By a Love for the Porsche 911

Dickenson pursued his love of the Porsche in college, where he studied automotive design at Coventry University. He graduated and began working with Peter Stevens, the Mclaren F1 designer, and Julian Thompson over at Lotus.

After a few years in the car-designing industry, Dickenson took a break to follow his other passion – rock and roll. He had been inspired by his cousin, Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickenson to pick up the guitar. Rob Dickenson went on to pursue a famed music career spanning a decade, with his band Catherine’s Wheel, with tremendous success as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist. The band’s last album was released in 2000 and disbanded that same year.

Dickenson headed to L.A. in 2003 to explore a potential solo career in music. But he never quite let go of his passion for Porsche. And he set out to build his absolute dream model 911.

‘The Best Looking, The Best Driving, The Best Spec, Built Like A Rolex’

In an interview, Dickenson said he was hoping to build out an “ultimate hybrid” of all his beloved racing Porsche 911s into a “mashed-up, café racer hot rod.” And that’s what he did. His legendary “Brown Bomber” caught attention everywhere he went, as well as plenty of offers to buy it. It was a 1969 Porsche 911 that he used as his daily driver. And all that interest got him thinking…

“Why can’t we take an old 911 and present it as the definitive air-cooled 911? The best-looking, the best driving, the best spec, built like a Rolex…”

He founded Singer Vehicle Design in 2009, and the company is still headquartered in L.A. He had a new creative outlet to explore the restoration and modification of his beloved 964s. The company name, in case you were wondering, is an honorable nod to Norbert Singer, renowned for his work as a Porsche engineer. And “singer” also held a more playful wink to Dickenson’s own “singing” career in rock.

The Motto, ‘Everything Is Important’

The Singer Porsche took off in a big way, in part because California always tends to welcome brilliant innovation and entrepreneurs trying to change the world. But it also has earned a reputation for being the highest quality workmanship and detail. After all, as the company says, “Everything is important.”

The company has established a base of reputable suppliers all over the state and enjoys global partnerships. It’s a far cry from that crude workshop Dickenson used to build the Brown Bomber. And if you want to buy one of these reimagined Singer Porsche models, it’s going to come with a hefty price tag.

Singer Porsche restorations have a starting price of $365,000, in addition to the donor car. But most paying customers are hitting investments well over $600,000 for the completed 911. The most expensive is the Williams and Singer collaboration car, which comes with 500-hp and sells for $1.8 million with unique and wildly customized details for each of the 75 or so models out there.

The Singer Porsche has quite the story to tell. And it continues to win the hearts of 911 enthusiasts everywhere and earned its high-valued place in some celebrity garages, too. But now that you know the iconic story behind Rob Dickenson and Singer Vehicle Design, the only question is – are you going to buy one?

If you’re not quite ready to buy, you can always find all the best tips, insights, and automotive histories right here at Porsche Hangout.

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