By on November 12, 2015

singer-911-silver-15-1100x732

A few years ago, I wrote an opinion piece about Porsche vandal tuner RWB and the ethical aspects of damaging historically valuable air-cooled 911s. Some of you agreed, some of you disagreed, some of you took it very personally.

This past week the article gained some traction again via a wave of FB shares, which happens often enough that the RWB article is in the all-time top 25 most popular TTAC posts. This time, however, a few of the B&B had a new question to ask: What do you think about the “Porsche 911 Re-Imagined By Singer”?

Good question. As you’d suspect, I have an opinion on the subject. But the most fascinating thing about the Singer cars isn’t what they say about the company or its approach to rebuilding air-cooled Porsches; it’s what the Singer phenomenon says about Porsche itself.

singer-911-racing-blue-521

If you don’t know what a Singer Porsche is then look at the Internet. If you don’t have the Internet but instead are one of the truly devout Jack Baruth fans who pay to have everything I write transcribed by monks onto foolscap and carried via mule or pigeon to your mountain retreat or private island, I’ll give you a brief description. Singer is a company that takes 964-generation Porsche 911s and rebuilds them to look like classic “longhood” 911s from the pre-impact-bumper era of 1965-1973. This, in and of itself, is not a new or unique idea. There were shops in the UK doing it a decade ago — although at the time it was the humble 911SC that most often came in for the cod-vintage treatment.

singer-911-gray-64

Singer’s innovations in this field are twofold. To begin with, they make most of the interior and exterior parts themselves, often to a standard that far exceeds that of the original. Singers are chock-full of CNC-machined vents and buttery leather and bespoke-woven cloth and billet-aluminum knobs and the like. No Porsche ever left the factory with this level of tactile and visual appeal. The second, and equally important, innovation was in the realm of pricing. Most of the fake-longhood cars from the UK cost less than a new 911, often significantly so, but a Singer costs anywhere from a quarter-million to half a million dollars. If you think that such a pricing strategy inclines Singer’s customers to take even more pride and pleasure in the company’s fastidious workmanship and unique componentry, then pat yourself on the back for understanding human psychology.

singerbook

In this Instagram-driven era, Singer has acquired quite a bit of name recognition simply because the cars photograph so well. The company has also made a remarkable effort reaching out to the business and lifestyle press with drive opportunities. (Not to include TTAC, alas.) Most “car people” know all about Singer by now. There’s now a book on the Singer “philosophy”, priced at a brand-appropriate eighty-five bucks and written by well-liked press-release-word-rearranger Michael Harley, for all the people who would like to own one of the cars but have no clear plan to put their hands on $300,000 in the foreseeable future.

So that’s what Singer is. What do I think about the company? Well… I’ll start with this. I think the cars are stunning. There’s no way in hell I would ever buy one; given $300K in liquid cash I’d buy a Viper ACR and spend the rest of the money on a season with a Grand-Am Continental series team. However, I have a particular bias for action that I don’t expect everyone to share and which doesn’t extend to my entire life. I’ve deliberately chosen to own four PRS Private Stock guitars instead of quitting my job and touring the country in a van playing my original music at coffeehouses on a $200 plywood Yamaha acoustic. I have no contempt or even disapproval for Singer’s customers. The cars are stunning objects that, to a large degree, speak for themselves with the excellence of their execution.

8-1100x825

How does Singer differ from RWB? Well, Singer starts with normally aspirated 964 coupe and Targa shells. There are about 40,000 of those in the world, and many of them are thrashed beyond usability. By contrast, Brian Scotto’s RWB fender-flaring started with a pristine 965 Turbo, of which there are probably two thousand left. To me, there’s a big difference between rescuing relatively common cars that would otherwise be destined for junkyards and taking a welding torch to a pristine Turbo. That matters more than the precise nature of the “restoration” or “upgrades” performed.

I’ve said it before, but I will say it again: air-cooled Porsches in original specification are starting to become rare enough to be worth preserving whenever possible. I grew up surrounded by 2.7-liter cars and 911SCs with crumpled bumpers, but that was thirty years ago and here in the Midwest it’s not uncommon for me to go a week or two between sightings of an proper 911, particularly in the cold months. If we want the next generation to have any chance of experiencing these very special automobiles properly, it is up to each one of us to look after the cars we have left.

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The Singer cars, ironically, would be much harder to bring back to original spec than anything “Nakata-san” has ever done. You can rip a bodykit off and restore the galvanized shell of a 911 in the space of a week, without the use of a rotisserie. Un-Singer-izing a 964 will pose a much stronger challenge, particularly given the fact that interior parts for those cars are already hard to find. Some Singer customers are giving the company their own solid-condition 964s for modification; I hope the original parts are either retained or sold onto the market for people who are interested in maintaining their cars to factory spec.

Still, the bottom line is that there is a genuine ethical difference between resurrecting relatively common naturally aspirated 911s from the least-loved era of the vehicle and tack-welding Turbos. You might not agree, but I have two Porsches in my garage and you don’t so my opinion counts more than yours in this matter. Sorry about that. I wouldn’t let RWB touch my 993 and I hope that most of my fellow owners feel the same way. If, on the other hand, I had a 200k-mile 964 sitting around and some IPO money burning a hole in my pocket, I wouldn’t have any moral qualms about sending the car for the full-woven-linen-door-card treatment.

To sum up, therefore, I don’t get agitated about Singer the way I do about RWB. My friends at Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, however, should be more than a little concerned, because the fundamental core of Singer’s appeal, the conceit that underpins the entire enterprise, is this: Even a facsimile of a normal everyday Porsche 911 from 1969 is vastly more desirable and valuable than a modern top-of-the-line, 500-plus-horsepower, PDK-and-wings-and-flared-fenders GT3RS. Listen. We’ve all accepted the idea that some vintage cars have tremendous value. When you see how much a Ferrari 250 GTO goes for at auction, it simply reinforces the notion that the GTO was a very special automobile. The same is true for Corvette Grand Sports and legitimate Cobras and various COPO Chevrolets and the like.

Now ask yourself how much you would pay for a Singer-ized 1977 Accord, or indeed for a 1977 Accord of any condition. Is the answer “Four times the MSRP of a new Accord V6”? Of course not. While the ’77 Accord was a great car and I still fondly remember the few times I drove one back in the Eighties, the current Accord is indisputably superior in virtually every category. The same is true for nearly any car you can imagine. Do you think a well-restored ’69 Mustang is worth four times as much as a new GT350R, assuming it doesn’t have the Shelby logo on the side and a big-block under the hood?

The Singer Porsches aren’t 1973 Carrera RS replicas. They’re simply 964s that look like old cars. The idea that such a thing is worth vastly more than any new-production 911 speaks to one uncomfortable fact: the cars built by Porsche before the water-cooled/SUV/Tiptronic/AWD-cabriolet era are considered by the cognoscenti to be indisputably superior to the current lineup. There are people who would rather have one old 964 than three new GT3RSes. Were I in charge of Porsche, that fact would keep me up at night.

It’s reasonable to point out that Singer’s total sales volume wouldn’t keep a single rural Porsche dealership busy and that plenty of people still want new cars like the Cayman GT4. It’s still worrisome. The good news is that Porsche could fix the problem, were they inclined. If you think that some dudes in a shed with a CNC machine can do anything that Porsche itself cannot, you’re kidding yourself. The only thing keeping the mother company from turning out a 911 that puts Singer to shame is the fact that the current platforms are a bit wide-body, a bit anodyne. But that’s not a permanent situation. Give me a car that has the spirit and the proportions and the visual appeal of the old 911s, but make it fast and emissions-legal. I’ll take out my wallet for that one. At the very least, such a car would give Singer something to do forty years from now, right? ‘Cause somehow I can’t see a “Porsche Macan S Re-Imagined By Singer” moving anybody’s needle, least of all mine.

[Photo credit: Singer Vehicle Design]

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95 Comments on “No Fixed Abode: Singer Song of Sixpence...”


  • avatar
    philadlj

    Transforming a Cayenne or Macan into a VW Type 2 would be pretty cool, but it’s more likely Singer would convert a 986 into a re-imagined 914, as the dimensions are far more comparable.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “But that’s not a permanent situation. Give me a car that has the spirit and the proportions and the visual appeal of the old 911s, but make it fast and emissions-legal.”

    They did this, with that 911 Greatest Hits Collection special edition (five years ago approx), whatever it was called – TG covered it. They made 500 at some ridiculous price, and sold all 500 immediately, naturally.

    EDIT: The Sport Classic! And it was 250 units.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    There are two flaws in your logic. First, you’re assuming that, because it’s priced higher, a Singer-ized 964 is more valuable to ALL cognoscenti than a 991 GT3 RS. But the sales numbers suggest otherwise. Second, you’re assuming that people’s wishes are binary — that they want one thing and not another — when lots of them probably want both.

    Way, way more new GT3 RS are sold than Singers. Lots (in fact, I’d bet most) of 991 GT3 RS buyers have plenty of money to buy any car they want, even for a price much higher than that of the GT3 RS. It’s a car that goes into wealthy, multi-car households — buyers who can afford a top-line 911 but only as a driver choose a 911 Turbo S instead.

    The buyers choose the new GT3 RS because they love it, just like the Singer buyers.

    Having said that, I don’t think this is a phenomenon unique to Porsche. People get nostalgic, and they like things how they were during their formative years, usually teens and 20s. I’m in the process of buying an old Acura Legend, made the year after I graduated high school, purely for nostalgia’s sake. It won’t be my driver — I’ve got two modern cars for that. And I would choose the modern car if I could only afford one car. But it’s still worthwhile to me. I’m paying $2700 for it, because I’m not rich. If I had “IPO money,” I might be willing to spend the cost of a new TLX to buy the best ’95 GS I could find and make it completely perfect. That doesn’t mean I don’t like my newer cars too. And I bet you’ll find that a lot of Singer owners also have a contemporary Porsche in the garage.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      If you had IPO money, you’d be buying a Mechatronik Mercedes W111.

      http://www.mechatronik.de/en/engineering/the-m-coupe-m-cabrio/

      Sweet Jesus…

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Cripes that’s elegant. Light blue is the perfect color.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        You know I was typing out, “I could do so much more with said money” and then I saw it.

        I would feel like a third world dictator, it would be glorious. Maybe I could change my name to Castro and apply for the job down there? I think the position is going to be opening up pretty soon.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Yeah, the truth is you’re right. I focus on the Japanese cars I love because they’re down-to-earth. If I didn’t have to be down to earth, I’d pick one of those up. I love me some old Benzes, but they’re not cheap mistresses.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          But that Mechatronik restomod is glorious. Plus, it comes with the previous generation AMG 5.4L V8.

          • 0 avatar
            olddavid

            Even that beautiful piece of machinery would need a serious rear suspension upgrade, because that particular Mercedes also had swing axle design if I recall correctly. But the end product exudes a class and dignity that Porsche aspires to, but cannot even approach in real life. I cannot figure how one German house has it spot on and the other has just convinced the public they’ve got it?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Really its all about the budget. If your budget is reasonable and your taste “good” as it were, it steers you away from specialty automobiles such as Mercedes to say Lexus. If your budget is larger, then you can afford the excessive ownership costs of things like a classic Mercedes.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            When you’re into THAT kind of money, for professionally restored and upgraded – I’d probably just go old Rolls or Bentley.

            Lots of maintenance will happen with any of these three options anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            bball, I’d stab you, but to steal it.

            Imagine one of the square Contis with a modern 6.2 in the engine room and serious body/suspension upgrades. Or a 3.5 EcoBoost. The 5.0 is too peaky.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Rolls/Bentley didn’t make an SL like model.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Would someone stab me for restomoding a 1960s Conti? I think I want that…

            Maybe a Mark III instead?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Corniche won’t do you wrong for convertible funs.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            dal-

            I think the 6.2L Boss and 6R transmission is the right answer for a restomod of a classic Conti. Power everywhere.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        That is one sublimely sweet machine, @bball40dtw. My hat is off to you. That would be THE car to own if you are in the IPO money range. Instantly sets you apart from all the yet-another Lambos, Porsches, Ferraris. Not that they aren’t fine cars, but it seems like just about everyone who wins the IPO lottery heads in that direction.

        That car is in a class by itself. Just looking at it is a pleasure.

    • 0 avatar
      Shivatron

      For what it’s worth, the Singer is also /not/ more expensive than a modern GT3 RS. As noted above, a Singer starts at about $300k. While a zero-option 991 GT3 RS has a $180k MSRP, examples are selling well north of $300k right now. As for the previous generation, while the most desirable 997 GT3 RS 3.8s are “only” commanding $250k, the 997 GT3 RS 4.0s are closing on $500k.

    • 0 avatar
      BiturboS4

      Singer sales are limited by production: each is hand-made by a small team, and the waiting list is years-long. Sales volume is a poor comparison. Moreover, a good portion of GT3 sales are NOT going to the “cognoscenti,” which is itself a nebulous and subjective category of buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      “First, you’re assuming that, because it’s priced higher, a Singer-ized 964 is more valuable to ALL cognoscenti than a 991 GT3 RS. But the sales numbers suggest otherwise.”

      If price doesn’t support your opinion, change the definition of the world valuable from “price” to “quantity” and then proceed.

  • avatar
    carguy

    The fact that Singer Porsches are selling for more than a new GT3 doesn’t mean that Rob Dickinson understands Porsche purists better then Porsche – it just means that he is really good at delivering what that niche values.

    Porsche also understands the purists really well but they have business development managers that have run the numbers and have decided that there is more money to made catering to other tastes.

    While Porsche’s margins are as high as they are and while their special edition models still sell at ridiculous process, I doubt anyone in Zuffenhausen will lose much sleep.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “good at delivering what that niche values.” Exactly! And they appreciate in value over time as well.

      ” I doubt anyone in Zuffenhausen will lose much sleep.” And why should they? They sell every one they make and still have a lot of unsatisfied demand unfulfilled.

      I’m not a Porsche fan, but I can appreciate what the Porsche-fanbase sees and feels about their passion.

      Lots of old retired military guys in my area that are Porsche lovers and brought back their Porsche-passion from a military tour in Germany decades ago.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      I dislike the ‘historically-important’ notation on nearly 40K vehicles. They are historically significant which is something to be said but I’m sure between various auto museums and Porsche AG they have probably close to 100 at a minimum in preservation/museum status condition. Arguably all of the sports cars from Porsche are atleast saved in some form, so there is very little worry. But Singer is portraying vehicles in the mind’s eye of owners that never really existed per se in Porsche’s vision. Which is why I find it a bit convoluted. Regardless, at 300K that’s as much exclusivity pricing as value.

      You price it high to keep it high and keep production low. But I also would just as much enjoy owning a maxed out GT3 and blowing the door off the Singers in any race they decided to enter with me. I would also enjoy owning one of those mechatronik’s W 188 in brown…

      http://www.mechatronik.de/en/trade/vehicles-on-offer/300-sc-roadster/?fahrzeug-img=Front_2_398_typo_03.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        ” But Singer is portraying vehicles in the mind’s eye of owners that never really existed per se in Porsche’s vision.”

        What Singer claims to have done is take the best parts and/or vision from all generations of 911 and combine them into 1 “super 911”. It’s not a representation of any one 911.

        “But I also would just as much enjoy owning a maxed out GT3 and blowing the door off the Singers in any race they decided to enter with me.”

        Singer is an artful road car, it’s never been about racing. See those guys in WI for that.

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          I’m fully aware of their position, Chris. But for 300K I would be looking at an inter-war or post-war Milie Miglia, Sebring, or LeMans racers (I know some of the racers are well into 8-digits but I’m not saying a winner. :) )

          The value in these cars is in the mind’s eye for sure and I don’t care since it’s not my money or going to be my car.

  • avatar
    cretinx

    I don’t have two Porsches in my garage right now, but I’ve had 9 of them and there was a time when I had THREE in my garage at one time . . . . anyways.

    You failed to mention the part where they not only restore the body, but they add in modern running gear – so the cars have modern performance in the classic wrapper.

    People still want that level of performance. You’ve driven the old air cooled cars. They drive like tractors.

    • 0 avatar
      olddavid

      That was the descriptive term I was looking for – tractors. Even Ferrucio’s tractors were better than a 1960’s 911.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      A base Singer for $390,000 comes with the same 270 hp engine tune that it left the Porsche factory with in 1991. They put in nice shocks and current tire sizes, but the cars are practically stock mechanically in some cases.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Tractors have way more soul than appliances…..

      A certain mechanicalness, and aliveness, of air cooled engines simply are not preserved in liquid cooled ones. They are much more like a living thing. Starting off a bit cold, cranky and stiff, yet can be coaxed into their element by a bit of warming up… The CB1100 Honda is currently selling (fewer than they ought to, but still), is just such a lovable engine. Nothing with a water jacket will ever manage to be quite that multidimensional.

      It’s a bit like old analog synthesizers, whose tone would change throughout the night, with changes in temperature, humidity etc. Most air cooled car engines, while charming, are just too far behind modern day expectations of objective performance to make much sense. But the 911, as well as many bikes (not to mention marine diesels), are not. So you get to drive a car with all the charm of vehicles from a bygone era, while still not being meaningfully held back in day to day driving. Aside from the cost and hassle of keeping them running (not an issue for the Singerati, obviously), that’s pretty close to at least one conception of the holy grail of motoring.

  • avatar
    ummagumma

    HELL YEAH

    Porsche could/should make a “vintage” line of 911’s available. either as-they-were, or with some upgrades.

    Bring back the true spirit of the 911

    Jaguar could do the same with the E type IMO

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Eagle Speedster sells some glorious looking things. Both original E-Types and restomods.

      http://www.eaglegb.com/pages/jaguar-etypes-for-sale#.VkTQg02FPcs

      That’s almost NSFW.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      Jaguar could also do so with the Mk II sedans and/or the XK140 drophead.

      Nothing out there like either one today. Or if there is, I don’t know about it, but would appreciate anyone letting me know.

      I had the former, had a friend who was restoring one of the latter. Both classic designs.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    Well, I have owned two of your so-called holy grail, and found both wanting in every category. A ’69 911S that tried to kill me, and a 1974 (bought new) that managed to hospitalize me. Cold, brutal, requiring perpetual maintenance – you tell me why solid lifters need setting hot – touchy as a maiden schoolmarm, and ridiculously expensive. I cannot believe that anyone save Bob Wollek really knew how to drive one properly. Now they are just jewelry for people more concerned with how they look while driving one to the valet at the country club. For every one of you, Jack, there are 1000 of them.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    “on a season with a Grand-Am Continental series team”

    Better budget for one of those Delorean time machines as well, Grand Am is no more. (It’s IMSA now)

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    The attraction of these cars is that they are an OCD dream. Everything is perfectly done exactly the way Singer wants and only then is the price determined. Porsche has to have a different mindset. In nautical terms, Singer is like the purveyor of the best wooden sailing yachts ever made while Porsche is like that manufacturer who bashes out technologically modern power boats only as close to unaffordable as they can guesstimate when designing/building. Do you want heritage and excellence or do you want affordable convenience and performance? Not that the Singers are slouches in the performance realm.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I agree with you analogy. Singer is like Grand-Craft, a Michigan company that makes mahogany boats modeled from 1930s Chris-Craft designs. If I had the cash, it’s the boat I would buy.

      http://www.grandcraft.com/index.html

      • 0 avatar

        Or like Hinckley
        http://www.hinckleyyachts.com/
        vs
        old school yards
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_B._Nevins,_Incorporated

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Hinckley is next level $hit. They produce some unbelievable stuff. I spend most of my boat time with a 16 foot fiberglass catamaran. I can’t even imagine sailing a 70 foot Hinckley around. I’ll never have enough money to sail around the world after I retire, so I’ll have to just confine myself to the Great lakes.

          • 0 avatar

            I have 19′ mariner and sail my dads 30′ ericson and just got a 12′ kingfisher so lots of time on cheap boats. I work for a supplier for Hinckley never driven one but I’ve been thru their factory many times and out on the water in a couple of them. Pretty much some of the best production boats ever built. But some of the custom builders are even more nuts.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            My “fleet” is made up of a Hobie 16, an 18′ Four Winns, and two wave runners.

            Hinckley sailboats are the things of dreams to me. I’ve been sailing since I was a kid. I learned on Lasers when I was in elementary school. I’ve seen Hinckleys in some of the high end yacht clubs of SE Michigan. Never sailed on one though. I helped finance a few back when I worked at a bank that did indirect financing for boat, RV, and auto dealerships. The Hinckley dealer in Harbor Springs, MI, sure had some Detroit and Chicago money buying yachts up there.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I crewed a 42′ Sou’wester in my mid-20s. It had just completed a circumnavigation when I joined it. I think my longest passage was nine days. That was plenty. I’ve been a daysailor ever since. In college I used to hang out on a 75′ Little Harbor. When I agreed to join the Hinckley, my accommodation expectations were based on a boat with a walk in pantry, three state rooms, and a deck house. The price of the beauty of seeing a Hinckley sailboat from the shore or the dock is that it has a fraction of the room of a production line boat from Catalina or Beneteau. The people at the yard in Maine were awesome though.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            I grew up sailing my dad’s Hobie, plus lightnings and lasers. I was captain of my college sailing (drinking) team (lightnings). I know almost nothing about real yachts, except that I saw an ad for a Morris M36 one time and it’s the most beautiful frickin’ boat I ever saw, and I will buy one right after my Maui beach house the day after I win Powerball.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I’m overhauling my Hobie 16 this winter. It needs a new trampoline, some new lines, some minor fiberglass work, and putting in a new Harken mainsheet system. It’s a very early 16 that needs some updates. Luckily the fiberglass is in above average shape. I wish I had my dad’s 1978 H16 Orange Crusher. I miss the bright orange sail.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m restoring my Mariner but not sure when I’ll be done because I never have free time.

            Morris seems to have most of the traditional New England Moneyed sailing market now. Hinckley has been mostly power boats for the last 10 years but they did introduce a modern 50′ this summer which will probably be popular.
            http://www.hinckleyyachts.com/Sailboats/B50/b50.php

            CJ,
            Have to agree on the interior space it’s amazing how different the modern boats are from the old ones and faster thou it could be argued the older designs were more seaworthy. The hood yachts were designed more as liveaboards vs smaller sou’wester and Bermuda’s which were designed with cruising and racing in mind.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Restoring a Mariner would be significantly more work that updating my Hobie. I can’t imagine finding the time to do it. I can do everything on the Hobie in a weekend. The most time consuming portion, besides the fiberglass repair, is replacing the rear crossbar, because my boat doesn’t have the Traveler Car/Track system that connects into the mainsheet. Instead, I have a system with rope that I have to cleat in to adjust the mainsheet position. It’s currently a PITA.

  • avatar

    EXcellent piece. And I was with you on yesterday’s, as well.

  • avatar
    probert

    You can dress it up any way you want but it comes down to class and taste: the singer appeals to an upper/upper middle class sense of what a luxury gt should be, and the RWB reeks of what the English would call “naff”. They’re doing the same thing – you like one, you don’t like the other one. No need for moral/ethical arguments.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    Funny, I was waiting for this exact article to pop up once I read yesterdays comments.

    Are there really 40,000 964’s out there? For some reason I always though they were a little more rare than some of the other generations because of their relatively lack of popularity.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “Are there really 40,000 964’s out there?”

      Probably right. It was over 5 years (90-94, plus a few C4s in 89) so that’s only 8k cars/yr. Not unrealistic. But a lot are cabs and targas, which are traditionally worth less than the coupes.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I always thought people loved the targa and would pay more for it! Why’s it worth less, weight disadvantage?

        http://performancedrive.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/1989-Porsche-911-Targa-Holland-police-car-rear.jpg

        Targa!

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Flexy structure, leaks, less attractive styling than the traditional 911 roofline, reputation as the “poseur” version, etc. Some people prefer it, but the coupe has always been the most desirable for most people.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The flexing especially makes sense, given chassis rigidity importance on something like a 911 for handling reasons.

            I liked the 90’s 911 with Targa especially, and I like the new super expensive Targa one. Guess I’m into drug dealer styling when it comes to the 911.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Guess I’m into drug dealer styling when it comes to the 911.”

            Wrong stereotype; the targa has always been associated with an old geezer driving slowly to the country club versus someone who might take a 911 on a spirited back road or track day.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Even better! Less likely to get dented at the country club than at drug deal.

          • 0 avatar
            Nostrathomas

            While it can look a little awkward on other generations, I think the Targa looks quite nice on the 964 especially (perhaps because they feel relatively rare to the earlier gens).

            The more time passes, the more I want a Targa. Although I quite like the C2 that I do have!

  • avatar
    chaparral

    I don’t think a 4x MSRP Singer Accord would sell, but another Honda that the company hasn’t followed up well might.

    Is the world ready for a fifty grand CRX? Fully developed B20 block/B16 head, super-clean period correct body mods, Volk TE37s with real tires, leather Sparco seats…

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    I just wish they’d chosen a signature other than those silly headlights. There aren’t many external cues to modify on a 911 without changing the appearance, but it still looks really cheap compared to everything else they do.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    “Give me a car that has the spirit and the proportions and the visual appeal of the old 911s, but make it fast and emissions-legal. ”

    They already make it. It’s called a base Cayman.

    And let’s just face facts. The main draw of air-cooled 911s comes down to that old playground taunt. “Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah my Porsche is air cooled and you can’t have one”. You can get the heavy door thunk and old German interior smell from an E28 535i and the light nose and flat 6 growl from a 996 for probably half the price of a clapped out 964 Tiptronic. Air cooled Porsche owners relish in the ability to hold their cars above everyone else. Singerizing them just takes that to the extreme. It has nothing to do with the actual cars themselves. Just a cheap money fueled refrain of the old “everything used to be sooooooooooooooo muuuuuuuuuuchhhhhh better” cliche.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      I think every sporting manufacturer has their die hard fans who want an original series 1 e-type or a 64.5 mustang or a bmw e30 m3.

      But Porsche arent really in the ‘911 business’ any more. They make 911s so they can sell 66% by numbers their SUVs.

      Porsche is really in the SUV business.

      Porsche cant really sell to the people who want an aircooled old school 911, partly because they’re too deep into Cayenne Macan money.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        The 911 is to P what climbing and technical gear is to North Face, Marmot, Arcteryx and the rest of them: Something to make them seem more “credible,” while pursuing their real business of selling fashion apparel at high markups.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I think you have it quite backwards. Porsche sells SUVs so they can continue to sell 911s, Boxters, and Caymans. In the modern era, there is no sustainable business model selling nothing but sportscars that fairly ordinary people can aspire to buy. Unless you are Morgan. And they save a ton on money by never having bothered to make their own engines, and by largely ignoring modernity in general. And they sell nothing with four wheels as cheap as a Cayman at that.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          And North Face sells fashion apparel so they can afford to continue to sell expedition gear, if you choose to look at it that way…..

          The sports cars are not losing the company money. Very narrowly accounted for in isolation they may be, but selling gaudy looking Tuaregs for $100K wouldn’t be nearly as easy if it was not for the credibility bestowed by the marque’s sports car lineup.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    This class of 911 will come to represent an era. An era sometime after the 300SL and the GT40 and before the Ferrari 288 GTO.

    I think they are sacred.

  • avatar
    Speedygreg7

    I love the Singer 911 style and would change nothing. However, for a $400,000 Porsche, one could choose a 2005 Carrera GT. Something to think about,

    For me though………Imagine a Singer or Mekatronic FC RX-7. That would be my ultimate dream car.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Singer is special because of the messaging. They go to great lengths to make sure everyone knows their obsession with details and nuance. Customers respond accordingly. The engineering and craftsmanship are outstanding, but their marketing and branding is even better.

    Your point about Porsche is well made. It is a bit interesting that they are willing to let Singer or any company enjoy the fruits of modifying Porsches, a task the factory could certainly do even better if they put their mind to it. Sure, we understand the notion of opportunity costs, and perhaps Porsche make more money by investing their limited resources in more mass-market fluff, but it’s still remarkable that the crown jewel of Porsche consumer products is not actually made by the Stuttgart factory. I bet it does keep the Porsche people up at night. Porsche must also be frustrated that the value of thoughtful minimalism is created by the overwrought pollution pumped out by the main factory.

    BTW, I wonder if Norbert gets a royalty for every car Singer sells?

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Not sure about a.singerized 77 Accord, but I’d pay big bucks for a Singerized 88 Bronco II or Brick Vic.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    A Singerized 67 Camaro or 70 ‘Cuda… these are already being restomoded for preposterous $$, but not “Singer Bucks” tm. As Jack said, if a shop was making a nicer restomoded air cooled Porker for half the price, it would be half as desirable to the target market.

    If someone were doing this to Daytona’s or Super Birds I’d have to call some serious lightening bolts down on them though, so I certainly understand where Jack is coming from.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Neat, someone likes to Resto-Mod Porsches and apparently some folks like to pay handsomely for said work. All custom work like this call for serious cash, as I am sure Mr. Singer pays his craftsman well and knocks back a nice healthily gross profit per sold unit. I would be willing to bet his profit per unit is enough make even the fine fellas at Porsche headquarters blush.

    But, this type of work goes on everyday in America and elsewhere I am sure. The guy I use will stuff a modern drivetrain along with all of the other modern acutriments into ANYTHING as long as you pay weekly.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Sorry to pick nits, but the principal of Singer Vehicle Design is named Rob Dickinson. The term “Singer” comes from his career as a vocalist with The Catherine Wheel, and apparently also as a tribute to Porsche engineer Norbert Singer.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I’d rather have a fully restored DeLorean done by the modern day DMC. Though the stock motor would have to go…but that’s what LS FTW is for.

    LS376 powered DeLorean, hell yeah!

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    I’m surprised no one has said this yet, but Singer is to Porsche as ICON is to old Broncos and FJ40 Landcruisers.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Jack, I usually agree with your opinions, but you’re wrong here.

    Having read your other article, I have to ask: Why should the purists be the arbiters of what is or is not acceptable modifications to any car, never mind a rare one?

    Purists are fanatics. They argue over paint sheen and shade, for God’s sake. They behave as if all they care about is the car’s monetary value to (probably) non-enthusiast collectors. Why should they get the final say?

    Look, if the purists want to preserve these cars in stock form, let them buy the cars and hide them away from the rest of the world in memorabilia-filled heated garages, taking them out only rarely for Cars & Coffee events and NEVER, EVER driving them hard for fear of damaging their precious “investments.”

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      I do believe that some of those out-there RWBs are absolutely hideous… but there is something fascinating about taking an old sportscar, ripping it apart and rebuilding it… then taking it racing.

      They’re goofy, they’re silly, but they actually get flogged. Which is more than you can say of a Singer, which will most likely get driven somewhat briskly every other week then parked in a climate-controlled garage.

      I can respect that. A factory car is just a factory car… one of a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand… etcetera. But a personally customized racer, complete with battle-scars and bruises, well, that’s one-of-a-kind.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    You might not agree, but I have two Porsches in my garage and you don’t so my opinion counts more than yours in this matter

    I may not have two, but the one I do have is a long hood. Also, I mostly agree with what you wrote.

  • avatar
    outback_ute

    Interesting discussion. The comparison with Icons or Eagle E-types is spot on, to a lesser extent you might also compare them to high-end Eleanor Mustangs which would cost multiples of a modern GT.

    I don’t think Porsche will be threatened by their own back catalogue. I do wonder if Porsche has considered setting up a factory resto-shop as Aston Martin has, it would be worth it for the image-building similar to the race team to enhance the purity of the brand in the face of the SUV predominance.

    You could argue that RWB cars help Porsche preservation overall by increasing the interest in the cars (by more than the number of people who will go on to build their own RWB). Not to mention that Porsches have always been modified and the 993 is going through the phase before it is widely appreciated as a classic outside of the Porsche faithful, and I would bet we will see RWB Turbos converted back to stock in 20 years time.

    All cars go through the same cycle, it is nothing new. Ferrari 330 GTCs used to get cut up into GTO replicas which nobody would dream of doing now.

    As a final question, is it wrong for someone to put flares on a long-hood era 911 too?

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