Journal: Which Cars Would You Apply The 'Singer Treatment' To If The Money Was No Object?

Which Cars Would You Apply The ‘Singer Treatment’ To If The Money Was No Object?

Alex Sobran By Alex Sobran
April 30, 2018
77 comments

What Singer creates when they restore and modify 964s isn’t really original in terms of the base idea—backdated 911s with engine swaps and bigger wheels have been around for quite some time now, and in terms of outright performance RUF sort of, you know, exists—but the work is elevated to a unique space because of the company’s meticulous attention to detail; the importance they place on a door handle for instance: which material to use, how to finish it, how it should feel to the touch and how it reflects the sunset. They build the pieces that would otherwise be borrowed, they place an equal degree of importance on the car’s aesthetic presence as its mechanical aptitude, and really, they touch everything to ensure that the amalgamation of all those covetable little details results in a car that people call by name and not by mod-list.

There seems to be a mandate of thoroughness in the Singer philosophy that allows each component to stand alone as a reflection of the entire machine, but in a sense, Singer-modified 911s can be boiled down to very well done resto-mods commissioned by people with open checkbooks and built by people who really know what they’re doing. I like Porsches as much and probably more than the next guy wishing one were in his garage, but it would also be nice to see car enthusiasts clamoring for a different top-shelf resto-mod, for lack of a better term.

I’m sure you can point me to numerous examples of shops making something in line with that, but let’s play in the hypothetical space where life’s more fun and we all have multi-bay garages stuffed full of toys that repel dust and never run out of fuel. So, if money were no object, which car would you give the “Singer treatment” to? What’s your base car? What’s going under the hood? How would you modify the body? What does the cockpit look and feel like?

A BMW E24 with Group 2-inspired bodywork and a hot S54 under the hood might get my vote, but what do you think? How about a Ferrari 355 with one of their recent turbocharged transverse eights nestled in an enlarged bay? Maybe a Nissan 240Z with a G-nose, GTR running gear, and an interior full of Alcantara and perforated leather? A first-gen fastback Mustang would be pretty sweet with a flat-plane V8 and a Trans-Am look with none of the roughness. It’s more than just engine swaps that we’re concerned with, so if you already have your dream car fully trimmed, by all means go into the details—they’re topical here.

Image sources: 
635csi: 1-3
240Z: 1-2
240ZG: 1, 2, 3
355: 1, 2

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ARB
ARB

If Mechatronik hasn’t done it yet, I’d go with a 300 SEL w109 chassis with a late ’80s 5.6 liter V8 engine in it. Maybe even an AMG 6.0. I’d then add the hydro-pneumatic suspension from the 450 SEL 6.9 and a modern motronic system from a 560 SEL . Perfect sleeper.

nitramsdgmail-com
nitramsdgmail-com

a 280SE body fitted to a C63AMG chassis, engine, interior.

CJ_Madson
CJ_Madson

From somewhere in left field, I’ll suggest an Opel Manta or GT. Both are great shapes, lightweight, and a lot of zoom and elegance could be included without Singer-level pricing. Plus there’s plenty of room in the Manta’s nose for creative power upgrades.

Sigfus B Sverrisson
Sigfus B Sverrisson

Keep it in the family ! Porsche 924, 944 & 928 would all fit nicely into the Singer fold ! A good supply of fairly cheap models and plenty of room for mods and improvement ! They also need to do a Singer 914 !

Iain Groom
Iain Groom

What Singer are great at, is taking a car that as a 70’s model isn’t that great and as an 80’s model is a bit dated in a not very kind way, and making it something truly amazing and desirable. I’d like to see that done to a Saab 900 Turbo please.

Allen Dumler
Allen Dumler

The BMW 2002 would be it for me.

Peter O'Gorman
Peter O'Gorman

Alpine A610. Any old BMW, of course. Lancias, Alfas also.

Lenny Landgrebe

I dream of a modified 190 E, maybe with a M 104 6 cyl, maybe a V8. A nice AMG or Evo 1 bodykit, a completely revised interior with nice alcantara and leather. Would be my ultimate restomod! I hope I will get to it in next couple of years…

Lepo
Lepo

In my mind, I would like to see Fiat 750 GT Zagato, Aston Martin V8 and maybe nicely done Volvo 1800.

pope400
pope400

The Singer treatment? Let me take you some place special…. A place where every detail is noted and imagination needn’t work any harder to satisfy the senses. I bring you to a Lancia Delta Integrale Evo…

pope400
pope400

Sorry, the answer to this question is clearly Mazda Cosmo.

Jasiek Wlazłowicz
Jasiek Wlazłowicz

Removing the original 355 engine in favour of a turbo V8? ARE YOU MAD?

ARB
ARB

I agree. Also, the recent Ferrari V8’s are longitudinal. The last transferse V8 was the 328.

Brent
Brent

I’m think of a similar theme but in a different direction. How about a singerfied Lincoln MK V? Instead of making it fast as possible, make it comfy as possible. I would still put a more modern engine in it, something powerful enough to move to highway speeds at a modern pace, but also have auto start stop and cylinder deactivation, replace the original suspension with the Magnetorheological suspension that Cadillac makes, and yes I understand the hypocrisy in this but, it’s an amazing suspension. And the interior, give it the softest comfiest bench seats you can, so you can… Read more »

James Payne
James Payne

A DeLorean that’s actually fast and good, if possible would be a treat.

MHarr
MHarr

Check out the LS’d one on Regular Car Reviews

Gas Project
Gas Project

I’m going to admit first-up a vested interest, but i’m nominating a Lancia Fulvia. Well engineered, in 1300 form underpowered, classic lines, available at a good price (ie undervalued IMO) with, I believe, plenty of untapped potential. After that, a Datsun 240z.

francisco_neto
francisco_neto

THE BMW M1.

Oh yeah!

Gavin Langier
Gavin Langier

To run with the idea of a serious driver’s car that deserves some quality engineering upgrades I’d go with early Lotus – something like the Europa with a carbon monocoque, fizzing engine and updated ride/handling would be a rare treat. I’d also fancy a Stratos but rather than using an original as a donor you’d have to pretty much start from scratch – a bit like Hawk did but to a far higher, more reliable standard.

Kasper Nielsen

Here is the short list:
– Karmann Ghia Coupe
– Ford Capri 69′
– Ford Escort RS Cosworth

If anyone is curious to why I picked these cars, I have described below.

Kasper Nielsen

As suggested by Mister Hughes. a Karmann Ghia Coupe would make a great base for Singer as they have aged so well and are beautiful even this day. The Ghia wouldn’t require major bodywork, just minor touch-ups. Just imagining a two tone in “pampas green” with the chrome switched to brushed steel, makes me want to take a loan and sell a kidney, to actualise it. A 1969 Ford Capri. The car never received the performance that the design deserved, so I think the engine from a Mustang GT350 would fit nicely, as it is a flat-plane-crank V8 and thereby… Read more »

TXUK
TXUK

A Mk1 Escort with the Zakspeed style bodywork or similar, a Millington Diamond Series II engine, and double wishbone all round (we don’t need to stay in the Stone Age). The interior would be minimal leather for seating, but with Alcantara for remaining trim and A/C, so not totally stripped out. Kind of a Ford equivalent to the Alfaholics GTA-R 290, but better.

Darel Matthews
Darel Matthews

Triumph TR6. So much potential already. Lots of them out there, so resto-modding a few doesn’t take good cars off the road.

Second choice: All TVRs.

pope400
pope400

I almost chose this. 🙂

badwater
badwater

Audi ur-Quattro.

Great drive, amazing history. Despite their appeal, the Audi I owned from that era had some serious engineering issues and areas where build quality was light at best. Restoring to factory original condition wouldn’t interest me. Restoring with a few upgrades would be incredibly interesting.

Nicolas Gudefin
Nicolas Gudefin

I think some cool things can be done to the Matra Bagheera/ Murena.

Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson

I missed the story about Dries’ Capri the first time. The story does remind me that a Capri with the Singer treatment would be awesome. A sophisticated, road going tribute to the RS3000 touring car racer. Ecboost V-6?

Soufiane
Soufiane

I’d go for a 348, with full running gear from a F430, ith a manual, and uprated chassis, and give it the looks of a Evoluzione Michelotto.

Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson

The Singer idea was to take an undervalued car with huge potential and make it special. Miatas, E30s, and Volvo 240s are good examples of relatively inexpensive, well engineered cars that are still plentiful, have parts availability, and can be blank canvases for creativity. The Datsun 510 has been the poster child of this idea for years. Singer just applied an ungodly amount of anal retention to the concept.

Greg Paules
Greg Paules

1963 Corvette
-dry sump 427 cu. in. LS with individual throttle body injection disguised with Delmo’s dress up kit to look like an old 327 SBC
-rear 6 spd transaxle from C6 corvette
-interior redone to the same standard as current Singer
-factory exterior in Daytona Blue
-Van Steel/Wilwood “big brakes” behind original 15 “turbine knock off wheels with Avon CR6ZZ tires
-aftermarket frame with C6 corvette suspension

Bertram Wooster
Bertram Wooster

Alfa GTV6

I’ve had one since ’93 and love it, but… man, there’s a lot they could to make it realize its full potential.

Heath
Heath

246 Dino GT
Jaguar Mk2 3.8
MGB GT
63 split screen ‘vette

Ring brothers have the american muscle scene sorted for 60;s american cars, but the vette deserve some subtle love

Magnus
Magnus

don’t know about the gt, but a british company named Frontline Developments make what they call an “MG Abingdon edition” of the convertible. It’s got a 2,5l I4 Mazda engine and a Mazda 6 speed transmission, a different suspesion setup and different brakes. The restoration of the base car itself is about as thorough as possible, so i would say it’s at least in the same category as a singer. They would probably make a similar one with the GT, as it is more or less is the same car.

P-Nut
P-Nut

BMW 2002. A driver’s car that would be ideal candidate. Also, another option take a tired unloved sedan from 60s or 70s and turn it into something special.

Dan Dolan
Dan Dolan

I’ve always hoped Singer would consider “backdating” a Cayman. Make a Cayman look like a restored 1968 Cayman, with lots of painted sheet metal in the interior, nickel plated trim all over the place, old-fashioned alloy wheels, very little plastic, and a Singer oomph in the engine compartment. Give a great car a heritage it never had. It could be brilliant.

zlive
zlive

I think the more obvious choices are covered: Mustangs, BMW 2002s, Early Z cars. Going with something that is already exotic, like a Ferrari, misses the point a bit – despite the overheated aircooled P-car market, these were never meant to be high-flying exotics, but rather driver’s cars for serious drivers who appreciate originality and details, without drowning in flash. Ferraris, Dinos, and DeTomasos don’t fit that mold. The closest thing – and I’m very biased- would actually be the humble Miata. It’s fairly well-known that with simple modifications the Miata goes from a fun weekend car to a very… Read more »

Jean-Noël Fermaud

I loved the De Tomaso slight mods discussed somewhere else here, but I would say here that a singerification of a pre-war car would be just perfection. Maybe an old Bentley, or a Talbot Lago. The idea being that these cars are exquisitely crafted, but flawed due to their age, even restored, and so modern technology could make them more usable and enjoyable. A Morgan, basically…

Mister Hughes.

Karmann Ghia Coupe : Maybe Singer could crack some of these out, not so very different from a 911

Ferrari 400/412 : A meticulously resto-modded Ferrari GT plz

Volvo Amazon : Can’t beat a nicely turned out retro wagon (I’d also be okay with a VW Type 3 Squareback)

Austin Healey frog-eye Sprite : Just because.

Sbeauchier
Sbeauchier

Hi Alex There is irony that the first gen mustang mentioned, trans am look etc. As I own a 66 mustang I see a lot of resto mod mustangs which dilute the classic nature of the car for modern touches – it’s a tough balance and the feel becomes as you stated “rough.” What Singer do is lift the standard of 911 engineering, performance and generally a build quality that supports the bespoke nature of the car whilst not losing the classic feel and appearance. I have not seen that balance achieved with multiple production with a mustang as yet… Read more »

RVAE38
RVAE38

Alex,

It’s Brandon with the BMW E38 M7. Glad to see the 240z mentioned. If you aren’t familiar, check out MZR Roadsports in the UK. They are building the closest thing you can get to a “Singer” 240z. I know the owner and would be happy to put you in touch for a feature on them. I promise it would be worth it! Their work is magnificent and the attention to detail is outstanding!

Brandon

Yasir
Yasir

Or a 560 SEC widebody (the hammer) with GTR layout underneath

Yasir
Yasir

190e DTM with full C63s layout underneath

Mike Miessler
Mike Miessler

I”m down with the Singerfied Z’s. Other fun one would be:
Old Beetles (Probably more of the Emory Outlaws treatment tbh)
MG Midgets’/ MGBs (modern brakes and a Fiesta Turbo 4)
Austin Mini’s (Modern JCW everything in the original body)
E30 M3’s
and…

NOw that 914’s are all hot and bothered in the market now, a Singer-fied 914-6 would be cool as hell!

Yeah, those would be fun to see.

Steve Scarpato
Steve Scarpato

MGB GT with a small turbo 4 cylinder, modern brakes and electronics!

Derelict
Derelict

Go to Frontline Developments. This already exists

FH944
FH944

328 gtb/gts.
Delorean
R107 SL

Trevor Douglas
Trevor Douglas

Mk1 Ford Escort. There are plenty out there in period rally trim, but I think it would be great with an interior trim and level of all over detail as done by Singer.

Guss De Blöd
Guss De Blöd

I don’t know why , I always wanted to do that to an Alpine A310.

Olivier Modard

Me too ! Based on a 4 cylinders body and interior with a Nissan 370Z engine, Gotti wheels, SADEV gearbox… one day maybe…

Chad C.
Chad C.

My candidate is the third to mention the Lancia marquis. The still reasonable purchase price of a driver quality a Lancia Scorpion/Montecarlo leaves a lot of budget for some fantastic upgrades like Alfa Busso V6/Integrale/Thema 8:32 power, a leather interior that’s actually impressive, air-con that actually works, and all manner of other refinements.

It’s an achingly pretty 70’s Pininfarina design that deserves more than it got in terms of power, refinements and overall level of finish. I’d love to chase down a Renault Alpine in a Singer Montecarlo!

Finnegan McGrath
Finnegan McGrath

Ive always thought that the Lamborghini Countach is a great candidate. The “don’t meet your hero” quote often used when describing driving the countach has been well documented, and it would be awesome if it was updated to becoming more usable without losing its essence.

Son of stig
Son of stig

my w126 500sel

Paolo Dacanay
Paolo Dacanay

The E30 M3 for European, Toyota Supra for Japanese, and a Viper for American cars

brent woods
brent woods

My other option would be a Volvo P1800. Use all Volvo parts to update the drivetrain, suspension and brakes. Picking the best of what Volvo has to offer, in the same philosophy as what Singer has done with the 964

brent woods
brent woods

Detomaso Pantera would be my choice to “singer”. Most need a full rebuild, unless they were well taken care of. You have a bunch of drivetrain and performance part options to choose from. And they are just damn good looking cars

DANIEL JONES
DANIEL JONES

Take a look at the Ringbrothers Pantera https://ringbrothers.com/1971_pantera_adrnln

ring-brothers-adrnln-08.jpg
Afshin Behnia
Afshin Behnia

Two cars I’d love to see Singer-ized:

1. Alfa Romeo GTV / GTA
2. BMW 3.0 CS

And a bonus: BMW E28

StephanP
StephanP

Alfa has been done by Alfaholics. Look up Alfaholics GTA-r 290

Afshin Behnia
Afshin Behnia

Stephan, I have much respect for what the gents at Alfaholics do, but it’s no where near a “Singerization”.

joshgtv
joshgtv

Afshan what would you have Alfaholics do differently in order to Singerise a 105 coupe?

Jacque Richardson
Jacque Richardson

Jag XKE!

Jack B
Jack B

Eagle in the U.K. is doing this on a Singer level.

Steve Scarpato
Steve Scarpato

It’s already available in the UK. The Eagle Speedster!

ScoutingForZen
ScoutingForZen

A Lancia Delta Integrale Evo II, updated with modern engine tech, suspension, and interior. The AWD system most likely wouldn’t need an update–to keep that pure mechanical goodness–but I would love the thought of a modern rally homologation special