Grove, UK - Remember the 1990s band, Catherine Wheel? Probably not, right? The lead singer and guitarist of the band, Rob Dickinson always had a passion for cars, and he actually studied vehicle design at university. A few years ago, he decided to put down the guitar and microphone to found a little start-up in California called, aptly, Singer Vehicle Design.
Dickinson says he’s living a dream, but he’s also building dreams in the form of lusted-after 911s. Singer Vehicle Design is a boutique business that specialises in breathing new life into tired Porsche 911s. The company’s earliest attempts at this included the restoration of Porsches from the early 1990s – turning them into more retro-looking vehicles, some with ducktail spoilers, and some with Fuchs-inspired wheels.
But, Singer isn’t just building cars for American Porsche fans; they’re supplying cars to enthusiasts and collectors around the world.
Latest creation chases dynamics
At the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK this weekend, Singer Vehicle Design shows off its latest creation – a very special (one-of-a-kind) Porsche 911 for one very lucky customer. Named DLS (for Design Lightweight Study), this car is said to be the most-advanced air-cooled Porsche 911 in the world. Singer in fact collaborated with Williams Advanced Engineering and a host of high-end automotive suppliers to build it.
In November last year, the project began when Singer client and Porsche enthusiast Scott Blattner, asked the company to build a lightweight (high-performance) 1990 Porsche 964 for him. So, to meet the goals defined in collaboration with Scott, Singer engaged with Williams to lighten up the car and give it a more dynamic edge.
The most advanced air-cooled Porsche in the world
You might be wondering what goes into the world’s most-advanced air-cooled 911, as Singer claims this car to be. Let’s take a look at some of the juicy bits:
Williams Advanced Engineering provided Singer with technical advice and guidance. They also ensured that every surface on the original 911 was re-assessed through computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis to achieve maximum aero-efficiency.
Singer says they’ve pretty much eliminated front axle lift on this model through redesigning the front oil-cooler intake and venting, together with adding a new front-splitter. Optimisation of one of the most iconic aerodynamic devices of the twentieth century – the ducktail spoiler – also took place. And, up on the roof, you’ll see a channel or groove to achieve optimised airflow. It ensures the ducktail and diffuser generate down force at the rear.
Williams Advanced Engineering & RLE also worked on reducing the weight of the car. They even went as far as ‘mass relocation’ for optimised chassis balance. How? They did it by moving the car’s engine forward, and some the components to the front trunk area. Full carbon-fibre bodywork, every panel unique to DLS, also adds to the lightness.
An engine that sings and sizzles
Porsche fanatics rejoice. The DLS is fitted with a normally-aspirated, air-cooled Porsche flat-six, developed by Williams Advanced Engineering with technical advice and consultancy from Hans Mezger.
Like the latest Porsche 911 GT3 RS (991), the Singer DLS boasts a 4.0-litre displacement, titanium valves, 4 per cylinder, dual overhead cams. What’s the power like? It makes 373kW at 9000rpm.
Extensive use of magnesium and lightweight materials reduce mass, lightweight throttle bodies with F1-inspired upper and lower injectors enhance performance and drivability, and a unique and optimised oil-cooling system improve lubrication and lifespan. Power is sent to the rear-wheels via a trusty six speed manual gearbox.
Singer is putting on quite a show at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, with an array of cars from its stable on display. However, this car, the DLS, will arguably remain the technical tour de force that Porsche fans will be drooling over.
Pictures: Courtesy Singer Vehicle Design, California