Here’s How A 911 Restored By Singer Is Re-Imagined Down To The Last Detail
“The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board: eleven, eleven, eleven…” says guitarist Nigel Tufnel in the movie This is Spinal Tap—describing the way his band’s amplifiers past the usual ‘10’.
The unforgettable pop culture reference reminds us that anything can be taken to the limit…and on occasion, even surpassed. That’s definitely the case with the 911s that slowly emerge from the workshops of Singer Vehicle Design. Symbolizing the inherent extra potential not found on the stock model, the tachometers on Singer’s modified Porsches reach a lofty 11, representing 11,000 rpm.
It’s an idea also perfectly incorporated into the title of this new book about the company: One More than 10: Singer and the Porsche 911. Within its 275 pages, founder Rob Dickinson and automotive journalist Michael Harley offer the reader unsurpassed access to Singer’s workshops to tell the story of a company that over a short amount of time has captured both the imagination and accolades of Porsche aficionados the world over. It’s a story of how the former car designer and rocker (he was a singer—get it?) rediscovered automotive nirvana after some time away, what inspired him to attempt to improve on the original designs from Stuttgart—and how the company’s reimagined and bespoke 911’s come together.
Within the Singer workshop, Dickinson once spray painted, “Everything is Important” on a wall. It’s not just an inspirational saying, it’s more akin to a mantra, and over the pages of One More than 10, the authors let you see that vision slowly unfold and take shape. While it is a little difficult to tell on first glance, underneath the thoroughly massaged, but still period-looking “long-hood” body of a 911 optimized by Singer lurks a 964-model Porsche 911 of the 1989–1994 vintages.
While enthusiasts may have their own favorite 911, this particular model is the perfect foundation for Dickinson’s particular brand of work, as simultaneously the body retains the classic silhouette dating back to the ’60s, while actually possessing little in common with its predecessors. In almost all areas, including chassis and technological developments, the car was claimed by the factory to be 85% new, making the 964 the perfect point in the 911 timeline for Dickinson to rebuild, restore, and at the same time “reimagine” as his vision.
Give two chefs the same ingredients and you would likely get two different cakes. To wit, Dickinson gives his clientele a myriad of tailored ingredients to choose from, but then “bakes” them himself. No component is left untouched, while the basic recipe is a carbon-fiber body evoking an early ’70s car, a flat-six engine punched out to either 3.8 or 4.0-liters, and perhaps a thousand other little details over a near-4,000 hour build time.
Naturally, there are chapters on bodywork, interior, engine, and transmission, but where Singer is seemingly in a league of its own are the “little” details: electrical harness, headlights, wheels, oil, instruments, and fuel caps for instance. That there are actual chapters solely devoted to these items, and what some might see as the minutia of a car restoration is part of what sets Singer (and this book) apart from the rest.
The mere fact that Dickinson allows you to be able to see everything above or beneath the skin of his creations is both an opportunity and a privilege very few will have the opportunity of doing. To set foot in the Singer shop, or twist the ignition key is a step just beyond the book: almost every page of this book contains some achingly beautiful picture, all taken by some of the automotive world’s foremost photographers. A whole car, a component, it does not matter: they are all equally inspiring, not to mention drool-worthy.
Backing this up is a formidable, but accessible text, and there are additional perspectives from (lucky) owners of these extraordinary 911s as well as contributions and impressions from motoring personalities including Chad McQueen, Jay Leno, Chris Harris, and Matt Stone. My only critique? While the $85 sticker is eminently reasonable for so much eye candy, this book should perhaps come with a prescription of antidepressants for those who won’t be able to experience the real thing.