22 Jun Singer Williams 500 HP lightweight Porsche 911 revealed
Singer Williams 500 HP lightweight Porsche 911 revealed
When two giants meet big things happen. Singer and Williams have joined forces to build the ultimate reimagined Porsche 911 on a philosophy of featherweight and a bucketful of horsepower.
Imagine for a second that you could restore and modify the best possible classic Porsche 911 imaginable. Skills and money would be no hindrance. If you could dream it, you could have it. Now snap out of it. Because it is exactly what happened to very lucky Singer customer Scott Blattner.
He handed his 27 year old Porsche 964 over to Singer Vehicle Design and told them to reimagine it into the ultimate Porsche restomod. What came out 2 years later was nothing short of a new benchmark: A 500 HP Williams Advanced Engineering powered lightweight car with a list of firsts and features that will take your breath away. Just look at this thing!
The Porsche Singer shop of dreams
Unless you have been living on the far side of the moon, you will have heard about Singer Vehicle Design by now. Starting in 2009 they have stunned the Porsche classic world with their extraordinary restomods that have set new standards in craftsmanship, build quality and the inevitable price tag.
If you know your Porsche history, you will be forgiven for thinking that name is connected with Norbert Singer; the German Porsche engineer who was instrumental behind the race success of the 917 and 911. But no, it’s all just a nod to the owner’s previous career as well as an homage to Porsche’s race engineer.
When Rob Dickinson, the lead singer for ‘90s British rock band Catherine Wheel, moved to Hollywood in the 00s, he brought his 1969 brown Porsche 911 with him. It was a car he had restored himself into a lightweight daily driver, and it turned quite some heads.
All of this interest convinced Rob Dickinson that there was a market Porsche 911 restorations taken to another level. And that became the birth of Singer Vehicle Design. A company that reimagines Porsche 964 donor cars into bespoke works of art costing anything from 350,000 EUR and upwards. They have continued to up their game throughout the 9 years of existence. And now they have done it again with the 500 HP Williams Advanced Engineering motored lightweight restomod revealed here.
Powered by Formula One know-how
Who better to design and build the ultimate Porsche 911 than a dream team of the engine’s original designer, Hans Mezger, and Williams, one of the most successful motorsports teams in the world? While German automotive engineer Hans Mezger acted as technical advisor, it was up to Williams Advanced Engineering to bring all their technology and know-how to work.
The donor car’s original flat-six M64 used 3.6 litres to churn 247 horsepower in 1990, but now it has been upgraded to 4.0 litres and a list of specs that reads more like something designed for F1. It uses four-valve cylinder heads, a dual oil circuits, titanium connecting rods, aluminium throttle bodies, carbon fibre intake trumpets, and a carbon fibre air box. There’s also ram-air intakes built into the 911’s rear quarter windows, and a titanium and Inconel exhaust.
Say again? If you never heard about Inconel, it’s simply because like most people you don’t commute in the sort of fighter jet or space rocket, where you need it. Because Inconel is a superalloy for extreme temperature applications. It copes with heat far better than stainless steel, and it is even lighter than titanium. No wonder Williams use it in their Formula One cars. And no wonder it is in Singer’s most outstanding Porsche yet.
The end result? Well, 500 naturally aspirated horsepower and an engine that, according to Singer, will rev happily beyond 9000 rpm. You can listen to it here.
The “Dynamic and Lightweighting Study”
Besides that screaming six, Williams also worked with Singer on massive weight reduction and a full aerodynamics package. The resulting body and underbody have been optimized through the use of computational fluid dynamics for a blend of aesthetic and performance considerations. Right from the rear diffuser to the trick roof and rear window sculpting, the surface area has been comprehensively altered to allow for better air flow over and under it. This includes the ducktail spoiler, rear window inlets (which act as a ram-air system to feed the big air-cooled flat-six), oil cooler ducting in the front bumper, and the flared arches accommodating the 911’s widened track.
With a knack for marketing, Singer and Williams call this their “Dynamic and Lightweighting Study”. In this particular car it has led to a curb weight of just 990 kg and a power-to-weight ratio of close to 500 hp per ton thanks to extensive use of magnesium, titanium and carbon fibre. In the future it can be ticked off on the options list for any Singer customer who wants their Porsche 964 lighter and with even better handling than the standard restomod from Singer – as if there is such a thing.
A list of parts that will make you drool
Of course the work did not stop with a beast of an engine and weight loss and aerodynamics, the likes of which no Porsche 964 has ever seen. Singer and Williams continued to work tirelessly on every element of the car, constantly seeking new ways to shed weight and improve performance in close cooperation with the suppliers of choice parts.
Mazen Fawaz, Managing Director, Dynamics and Lightweighting, explains: “As is often the case at Singer Vehicle Design, we picked up the phone to companies whose reputation precedes them and explained the challenge. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. We found a group of petrolheads, full of enthusiasm to help us with state-of-the-art design and materials. This restoration showcases some truly incredible engineering from around the world.”
Hewland designed and delivered the gearbox. Unless you are a race engineers, you will probably never have heard about them. And if you are, that name will have made you raise your eyebrows. Because since 1957 Hewland has built absolutely state-of-the-art gearboxes for a wide range of motorsports classes ranging from GT Sports cars to Formula 1. So who better to supply the magnesium case six-speed H-pattern gearbox that sends of 500 horsepower to the rear wheels?
18-inch forged magnesium BBS centre-lock wheels clad in bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s make sure that all that power gets translated into grip and traction. They are planted solidly on the ground by lighter suspension components, tweaked geometry and bespoke damping by EXE-TC. That’s another relatively unknown company, but also one with an impressive motorsports history despite its young age. After all, they provided the suspension in the cars that won Sebastian Loeb every World Rally Championship form 2003 to 2010. That should do you a restored Porsche as well, right?
The brakes are supplied by yet another great name in motorsports, namely Brembo. Their Monobloc callipers and carbon composite rotors look like something that ought to be rated XXX.
Quality Assurance by Chris Harris
All of this development work obviously required extensive test driving. The lucky guys selected for this were Marino Franchitti and Chris Harris.
Franchitti is a British racing driver who has won the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2014 and has competed at Le Mans several times in LMP and GT classes. He said about the experience: “To be part of this effort with the resources and partners we have is the stuff of dreams, especially for an air-cooled fan like me. Everyone is working so hard to bring that Singer magic to these restorations and what I’ve seen and experienced behind the wheel has me very excited.”
Chris Harris should be familiar to anyone who is slightly interested in cars, has an internet connection and knows how to type y-o-u-t-u-b-e. Between his busy schedule as Top Gear host and racing driver he has somehow found the time to make sure that this Porsche 911 restored by Singer and Williams delivers on the promises of its look.
But who better to judge that than the customer. Final words go to Scott Blattner: “The results as applied to my car are extraordinary and we felt compelled to share with other enthusiasts exactly what this company is capable of when given the funds and the partners to excel at the highest level – we are all excited to be part of what we hope is a strong group of believers in this effort.”
Here are some more pictures for you.
What’s next for Singer?
It will be interesting to see how Singer can continue to improve after this massive feat. What do you think will be in store for them next?