This is the best $1.8m you’ll ever spend

Singer and Wil­liams cre­ate the ul­ti­mate air-cooled 911... maybe the ul­ti­mate car, full stop

Top Gear (Malaysia) - - The Ten -

Rob Dick­in­son, for­mer mu­si­cian and ge­nius be­hind Singer Ve­hi­cle De­sign, is walk­ing to­wards me in an enor­mous, empty ware­house, spark­ing a fag. He’s wear­ing khaki shorts and cap, a wrin­kled white T-shirt and dog-eared train­ers. He stretches out his right hand, we ex­change pleas­antries, then it’s straight to it, dis­cussing the car that he’s been ob­sess­ing over for the last four years, and the pas­sion starts flow­ing out of him.

We’ve man­aged to in­ter­cept both Rob and the first ex­am­ple of his most am­bi­tious pro­ject to date, on their way to Good­wood. The car you’re cur­rently gaw­ping at is the prod­uct of a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Wil­liams Ad­vanced En­gi­neer­ing to de­velop the ul­ti­mate, no-ex­pense-spared, air-cooled 911 – re­sult­ing from the duo’s snap­pily named Dy­nam­ics and Lightweight­ing Study. Ren­der­ings were re­leased months ago, but this is the first time any­one out­side the com­pany has seen the fin­ished prod­uct. Rob him­self only clapped eyes on it two days ago at Wil­liams’ fa­cil­ity in Ox­ford­shire, where no more than 75 ex­am­ples will be reimag­ined.

“I’m very very pleased,” says Rob, tak­ing a con­tem­pla­tive drag. “It looks like the draw­ings, which is al­ways help­ful.”

I take him back to the start, to the dream that sparked all this off. “‘What would a clas­sic Porsche 911 look like if we touched it with an F1 team?’ That was the Hol­ly­wood pitch. To be­stow upon what we think is the most im­por­tant sports car in the world, the golden ben­e­fits of the mod­ern age. Do it prop­erly with a proper bud­get and proper sup­port.”

But ideas of this mag­ni­tude are noth­ing with­out au­then­tic­ity, which is why Rob knew if he wanted the right names at­tached to the pro­gramme he had to act fast. “The ques­tion was how could we present the most ad­vanced, light­weight, air-cooled 911 that

the world will ever see? And cru­cially, while there were still peo­ple who had touched the orig­i­nal back in the Six­ties – prin­ci­pally Hans Mezger and Nor­bert Singer. They were con­sul­tants, they kept an eye on us and kept us hon­est.”

Wil­liams Ad­vanced En­gi­neer­ing has been Singer’s ma­jor part­ner in all this, en­tirely re­design­ing the front and rear sus­pen­sion (but keep­ing the tra­di­tional trail­ing arm set-up at the rear), the brake sys­tem (in­cor­po­rat­ing Brembo CCM-R discs, the same com­pound you’ll find on a Bu­gatti Ch­i­ron), con­duct­ing a full aero study to op­ti­mise ev­ery square inch of the car’s sur­face, build­ing the world’s finest air-cooled en­gine (more on that in a bit), and putting the car through an in­ten­sive de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme, some­thing not en­tirely fa­mil­iar to Rob.

“Whereas we’re quite rock and roll back in Cal­i­for­nia, here in Eng­land there’s a bit of a cul­ture dif­fer­ence, and that’s been a learn­ing curve for us. It’s good, though, the dis­ci­pline of go­ing through proper de­vel­op­ment cy­cles.” And once Rob was work­ing closely with Wil­liams, he start­ing pick­ing up the phone to a list of ‘hero’ com­pa­nies that were syn­ony­mous with the 911 over the last 50 years.

Miche­lin agreed to make a be­spoke 295 Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyre, stretched a lit­tle for an 11.75 rim to give the per­fect curve on the side wall, some­thing Rob’s fa­mously ob­sessed with. “It’s where the rub­ber hits the road, it’s where it all starts. If you can get this right, you’re off to a good start.” Brembo were on board for the brakes, Momo were happy to make a sen­sa­tional be­spoke car­bon-fi­bre steer­ing wheel, EXE-TC pro­duced the ad­justable dampers, Hew­land worked on the six-speed man­ual, Re­caro de­liv­ered on the seats, and BBS crafted per­haps the most strik­ing fea­ture of all, those deep-dish 18-inch wheels.

Momo steer­ing wheel a thing of in­tri­cate beauty, balsa wood in­sert in the car­bon-fi­bre gear­lever a nod to the917 rac­ing car, rev counter in­spired by Singer’s watch

Car­bon fi­bre: strong, light­weight, easy to wipe the dog hair off

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