FIRST LOOK: This Is The Carbon Fiber Widebody ‘Turbo Study,’ The Latest Porsche 911 Reimagined By Singer
Images copyright Singer
We have featured many of Singer’s reimagined Porsche 911s over the years, from the company’s bread and butter 964-based builds to the true cost-no-object projects like the Dynamics and Lightweighting Study (DLS) and All-terrain Competition Study (ACS), but this might be our favorite yet. Inspired by the original Porsche 930, this is a 450-plus-horsepower carbon-fiber-bodied redefinition of “modern classic” that can be specced with a luxury interior, AWD, and matching luggage, or with lightweight seats, more power, rear-wheel drive—or anywhere in between. Singer simply refers to it as the Turbo Study.
The creation of Singer’s latest ultra-high-end restomod bears some personal significance for company founder Rob Dickinson, as his earliest Porsche memory is being an 11-year-old going out for a ride in a black 930 Turbo with red tartan seats. “Forty-five years on from that life-changing moment, I’m excited to present the results of our study that aims to capture the awesome thrill of Porsche’s first ‘supercar’ while reimagining its performance and refinement and collaborating with owners to take both to new heights. I believe it’s a fitting tribute to a car that changed my life and many others,” Dickinson elaborates.
Back in the 1970s, Porsche was at the forefront of the then still-nascent science of automotive forced induction. One of their earliest turbocharged endeavors involved the legendary 917’s Can-Am versions, the 917/10 and 917/30, which in qualifying spec could produce an insane 1850hp, proving the technology’s potential—and Porsche’s ability to harness it. A couple of years later, more history was made when the 911-based 2.1 Turbo became the first turbocharged car to race at Le Mans. The forced induction systems pioneered by these spectacular cars found their way into Porsche’s road cars later in the decade in the form of the original Turbo Carrera (930). Nearly half a century later, Singer has reimagined this iconic car with their breath-taking Turbo-Study.
Outwardly, in reimagining the Porsche 911, Singer’s modified restorations carry the classic cars’ hallmark styling elements, but under the timeless shape of the exteriors they are brimming with modern technology that is applied thoughtfully, as to not utterly change the car’s innate qualities. From carbon fiber body panels, interiors full of carefully selected and crafted materials, and power plants designed and built by the best engineers the world over, Singer’s touches add up to a comprehensive reimagining, and the Turbo Study is no different.
It is obviously very reminiscent of a 930, but while the recognizable proportions have been maintained (the base car is the 964-generation 911, as is Singer’s forte at this point), the dimensions are subtly changed for the Turbo Study, with wider fenders and more voluminous wheel arches needed to house the 18” forged aluminum wheels. Tires are Michelin PS4S, with 245/35/R18s on the front and 295/30/R18 in the rear, if you’re wondering.
We’ll get to the perfectly chunky interior design soon, because obviously the most interesting upgrades on the Turbo Study are found in the engine compartment—which is, typically, beautiful. In 1975, Porsche’s solution for dragging more cooling air into the engine bay for the radiators and intercoolers was to add intakes and ventilation in the rear wing that sat above the lid. The original pre-intercooler “whale tail” rear wing is a stylistic hallmark of the Turbo, which Singer has updated to feed the new, intercooled motor. Additional oxygen will enter via the cleverly designed “shark fin” intakes that draw in air just ahead of the rear wheel arches. On the original 930, these fins were glorified stickers to protect the paint of the widened rear fenders, but Singer has increased the functionality of this trademark Turbo styling feature.
The well-loved Hans Mezger-designed air-cooled flat-six in the Turbo Study making use of all this air is based on a 3.8L block and is inducted by twin turbochargers with electronically actuated waste gates. Cold air is provided by bespoke air-to-water intercoolers mounted inside the intake manifolds, and while Singer says the power level starts at 450hp, that number can be significantly increased if the customer desires it—details on these figures are left at that for now. The specific motor options will be revealed in further detail later on, we figure.
From the outset of the Singer story, when people were asking Rob to make them their own version of his famous “Brown Bomber,” a 1969 911E, significant attention was given to power plants. The engines in the back of Singer restorations have been assembled by hot rod icon Ed Pink, developed by the legendary engine builders at Cosworth, and the company also collaborated with Williams Advanced Engineering for the mills in its Dynamics and Lightweighting Study. For the new Turbo Study, Singer has teamed up with Porsche itself, who will assemble the motors through Porsche Motorsport North America.
We are big fans of this project, and we’d love to hear what you think, too. To get some insight from the source, Singer founder Rob Dickinson gave Petrolicious an exclusive interview to shed more light on the company’s approach to the Turbo Study.
What’s new on this car, what hasn’t been seen before on other Singer-customized Porsches?
Obviously there’s turbochargers, intercoolers, and the appearance of the car with the whale tail, short-hood, and revised front end. Turbocharging of course means that the performance of the car has a distinct character compared to our naturally aspirated studies.
There’s also a Turbo Study-specific exhaust system, suspension componentry, and brakes, together with track width that is increased compared with the Classic Study cars.
The interior is also an important evolution for us. There are new seats that we’ve designed, a new instrument set, and new materials and finishes—like wood—to consider. We’ve also worked to incorporate technology in a way that’s genuinely useful without being distracting. So, there’s inductive phone charging, upgraded audio, and luxury touches like heated and powered seats.
How does this latest work incorporate Singer’s accumulated design and engineering experience with reimagined Porsches?
We’ve built up more than a decade of experience working with the air-cooled 911 now, so the Turbo Study naturally benefits from that.
We’ve been working with advanced materials like carbon fiber and carbon ceramics throughout the Classic Study, and then with the Dynamics and Lightweighting Study (DLS), so we can use that knowledge now as well. We developed knowledge of AWD systems beginning back in 2014, so we’re able to bring that to bear for Turbo Study.
We’ve developed 3.8L, 4.0L, two-valve and four-valve engines, and the man behind the DLS engine development program now works at Singer and is behind the engine for the Turbo Study, so we have this expertise to call on.
We’ve driven many thousands of miles in development, on road, track, in Arctic temperatures, hot climate tests, durability tests, non-stop Nürburgring running; all of that gives us deep insight into all areas of development, not least high-performance ride and handling.
We’ve also grown significantly since the first days of Singer. We have more than 200 people working on both sides of the Atlantic now, so our strength across design, engineering, supply chain, and operations supports these new endeavors.
What was the impetus for this car? Does it stem from an internal decision or client request?
Well, we’re always plugged into what our clients are interested in, and turbocharging is something that came up a number of occasions. At the same time, for us to get excited about going down the rabbit hole of a new project, it has to be something that we’d be desperate to own ourselves.
The 930 Turbo got under my skin as a kid, so there’s an emotional connection there. Turbocharging is obviously a core part of the 911’s DNA, so celebrating that, expanding Singer’s circle of capability, and responding to the interests of our clients are all in the mix behind the Turbo Study.
Are there any cool details that someone might miss upon first glance?
The first 930 Turbos were not intercooled and featured the Whale Tail rear spoiler with these downturned edges and slim profile. Later cars incorporated intercooling, which led to a different wing profile, with a sort of box under the wing. This was sometimes known as the Tea Tray. We wanted to celebrate the purity of the earlier whale tail approach while incorporating intercooling, which we’ve been able to do.
The shark fin on the rear fenders has also been reimagined as an intake. At the front of the car, the front bumpers incorporate louvres that reference the accordion design of the 1970s car. It’s also a short hood design, as opposed to the long hood found on the Classic Study and the Dynamics and Lightweighting Study.
How does the Turbo Study build on the company’s past success to move Singer toward its future?
We think about Singer as a philosophy and we sometimes use this phrase, ‘A Relentless Pursuit of Excellence,’ to describe that. The Turbo Study is part of this pursuit. We first applied our philosophy to the air-cooled 911 in naturally aspirated form with the Classic Study and the Dynamics and Lightweighting Study.
Away from automotive, we used the same approach to consider watches, and that led to the Track 1 chronograph.
Now, with the Turbo Study, we’re applying this approach to reimagine and celebrate the turbocharged, air-cooled 911. All of this work is part of a growing collection—our definitive vision. They all increase the choice available to our clients and that choice is part of what defines luxury, together with exquisite execution. So, the Turbo Study is part of an ongoing story of Singer.
What is the philosophy behind this car, what is it built to do?
Range of capability is important. The turbocharged 911 has been a hero on the racetrack, a master of the Autobahn, and the perfect partner for intercontinental touring. That Swiss Army knife character is part of the car’s purpose.
The nature of turbocharging, with lots of torque, lends itself to high-speed, long-distance driving. We’re able to set up the suspension for refinement and comfort if desired and the interior can be specified with a focus on luxury. That inspiration is what you see in the images.
All-wheel drive is possible for those who want to emphasize all-season capability, maybe traveling to ski via alpine roads for example.
On the other hand, we know that some owners will want to pursue a more overtly sporting focus, so if they want to consider rear-wheel drive, lightweight seats, visual carbon fiber with a high output engine, that’s possible too. We know some owners are thinking in this direction already.
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Despite labelling their new releases ‘“studies,” far from tipping a toe in the water to see if customers would be interested, the Turbo Study is already a sales success. Even before its official launch, over seventy customers had put deposits. Since Singer’s inception 13 years ago, close to two hundred reimagined 911s have left the workshop. The $2-million Dynamics and Lightweighting Study is sold out, and order books for company’s Classic Study are full for the next few years. Build it and they will come.