THE MOD SQUAD
Singer builds the world’s most perfect Porsche
In 2003, Rob Dickinson refit his 1969 911E in an effort to stand out in the legendary R Gruppe, the exclusive Porsche club dedicated to luxury super-cars. He followed it up with a series of rebuilds — an RSR, an RS, an S2 — that stopped traffic in LA, where industry honchos with a taste for rolling art would ask him if his rig was for sale. It wasn’t, but Dickinson could build another one just like it, if they were really interested. He turned that pent-up demand into Singer Vehicle Design.
The machines he reimagines at Singer walk a fine line, mixing the delicate curves of an early 911 roadster with the track-ready brawn of a racing Porsche. It’s a sexy middle ground, and it doesn’t happen by chance. Dickinson has been obsessing over this balance for most of his adult life.
Testing the waters in 2009 at the Monterey Historics at Laguna Seca, he showed the world an air-cooled Porsche cranked up to eleven. It took a year and a half to build, but it proved that the technical specs and aesthetics Dickinson held so dear had resonance beyond his crew of gearheads.
The lucky few with pockets deep enough to have their Porsches transformed at Singer have some serious decisions to make. For Dickinson, who is also a musician and the former frontman of British rock band Catherine Wheel, the process is not unlike recording an album, though the attention to detail required is even more exacting. It takes up to eight months for the full transformation of every car, and more than 150 vendors and thirty-five craftsmen are involved. Taking stylistic cues from the 1964–1973 era, each customer’s vehicle is customized until it becomes, in Dickinson’s eyes, what a 911 should really be.
“We’re not redesigning. We’re celebrating all the wonderful details in Porsche history,” he says. If there is something that can be simplified, made faster or more beautiful, it gets tweaked. But nothing is touched just for the sake of touching. Dickinson is a fervent believer in form following function. But at $350,000 a pop and up, he’d be happy to provide you with both.