This Is The All-terrain Competition Study, The Latest Transcendent 911 Reimagined By Singer Vehicle Designs
This is the Singer Vehicle Design All-terrain Competition Study (ACS), a highly modified 1990 Porsche 911 with two turbos, a carbon-fiber shell, and eight shock absorbers. If you spliced the genetics of Porsche’s Dakar-winning 959 with a dune buggy and a Swiss watch, you’d probably end up with something similar.
Designed at the behest of a longtime Singer client for endurance rally competition and off-road exploration, the ACS marks something of a departure from Singer’s road and track-based projects and restorations, but the novelty, artistry, and quality of construction present in the ACS are all too familiar. Like all of Singer’s reimagined 911s, it looks too perfect to cover in dirt and rock chips, but too fun not to.
Because the customer who commissioned the ACS—actually, two of them; the white car being geared towards long-distance off-road raids and rallies, while the red is suited for the more grip-intensive tarmac events—intends to enter the cars in competition, Singer partnered with Richard Tuthill, collaborating with the longtime expert in off-road P-cars to build the ACS at his company’s facilities in Oxfordshire. Tuthill has achieved a consistent level of success with 911s in the East African Safari Classic as well as in the Paris-Dakar and modern WRC R-GT class, and the company’s rallying history also includes a collaboration with Prodrive in the 1980s, preparing the body shells of the Porsche 911 SC/RS rally cars.
Drawing inspiration from the manufacturer’s off-road efforts of the 1980s in particular—the SC/RS, the 953, and the Dakar 959—Singer’s vision manages to blend the ethos of that era with a modernized (and FIA-compliant) package that seemingly manages to avoid any compromises. The proportions of the ACS are closer to a trophy truck than the 964 it started life as, but there’s nothing goofy or contrived here. The flourishes of aesthetic styling and fit-and-finish showpieces that Singer built its name on are still front and center, but they’ve been adapted for the purposes of this car, not merely ported over from their back catalog of brushed metals and billet sculptures.
It’s not just a treat to look at, and although some of them will surely be socked away in collections, the ACS has real off-road credentials. The 3.6L twin-turbo flat-six produces 450hp and 420lb-ft of torque in its base specification (it can be tuned for higher outputs), the chassis has been reinforced, the cockpit is fully caged, and the car churns the earth with all four knobby tires thanks to a permanent all-wheel drive system controlled by three mechanical limited-slip diffs. The gearbox is a five-speed dog box unit with the shift lever neighboring up to a hydraulic handbrake lever in the spartan but beautifully appointed cockpit, which also features navigation and rehydration systems built in. The body is a unique design constructed in carbon fiber, and the whole package sits on beautifully designed 16” forged wheels covering four-pot calipers and wearing chunky BF Goodrich rubber, connected to a bespoke long-travel suspension setup with two five-way adjustable dampers per corner. In other words, it won’t complain if you want to jump it.
But you’d be forgiven for wanting to keep it totally mint—few cars built for abuse look this well finished and aesthetically considered. There’s an air of Apple-esque minimalism when looking at certain elements and angles, but there’s more than enough fun stuff sprinkled on top to stave off the innate sterility of a pristine white car with perfect panel gaps. The guards protruding from the high nose recall East African Safari-spec cars of the 1970s and ’80s; the mesh-covered taillight bar speaks to pure purpose yet somehow doesn’t clash with the styled center-exit exhaust outlets cozied up in the single-piece aluminum bumper. The would-be contradictions continue inside, with the utilitarianism of the strapped down spare wheel (mirrored by a second spare in the frunk) managing to complement the spritzes of vibrant red and artfully beveled driver equipment, rather than making the design flourishes seem needlessly extravagant. The whole car is a remarkable feat in this sense, and unlike any Singer-modified 911 to come before it. You can get away with all sorts of bling in a glossy street car, but to translate Singer’s knack for automotive jewelry into something as pure-function as a rally car demonstrates a much stronger aptitude for design.
While most of the “Safari” 911 builds these days are relegated to being compromised conversation pieces at Cars and Coffee, this thing looks fit to survey the moon at high speed. If you want to compete with one here on earth, Singer will be taking commissions to modify more customer 964s in accordance with the All-terrain Competition Study at Tuthill’s facilities, with Tuthill also providing event and competition service and maintenance as well. There’s no word on official pricing, but if you have to ask…