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Watch This Singer Have An Incredibly Close Call

CODE BROWN! I’m going to need a change of shorts over here, please.

When navigating the infamous Tail of the Dragon, one must exercise a little caution. Blind bends and off-camber turns dot the eleven-mile stretch of country road in Deals Gap, North Carolina, and too much gusto can lead to a very costly incident.

Even more the case if the car one’s driving is the pinnacle of Porsche customization. Fortunately, this Singer driver’s bit of lockup only leads to a trip onto the shoulder, but you can imagine his nerves as the plumes of grey smoke spat from the wheel wells and that hillside approached. Had it been worse, he would’ve been kicking himself in a best-case scenario, especially since the typical cost of a Singer is around the $500,000-mark.

Locking the brakes so near the shoulder on a tightening bend, this man’s day could’ve ended far worse than this.

Despite the brief excursion into the gravel,the man continues boldly on his jaunt. Clearly, these cars stir something primal in a driver and get them to charge in a way that a sober man wouldn’t—especially one not interested in parking a half-million dollars in a ravine.

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Open-top classics: 964 Targa v Cabriolet

These days the 964 is an almost universally popular generation of 911. Endeared to the hearts of many for its near-perfect blend of modernity and classic purity, most would stick a 964 in their five-car 911 garage – though that 964 would likely be a Coupe.

However, with 964 Coupe prices – particularly for the Carrera 2 – now off the scale, and in an air-cooled Porsche marketplace that’s slightly unpredictable, for anyone wishing to get behind the wheel of a 964 at a reasonable price point perhaps the Targa and Cabriolet versions of 964 are worth considering?

I admit I am with you with a preference for the Coupe. A 964 Carrera 2 Coupe is always the perfect choice, so would you really consider the two runts of the litter: a pair of Carrera 4 964s, one a Cabriolet and the other a Targa? Well, there’s only one way to find out.

Drive both across the bumpy, undulating B roads of the North Yorkshire Moors in the bitter cold of March, on a week when the UK is being battered by winter gale-force winds. Sounds perfect.

If we’re going to do this, we had better do it properly. That means no sheltering underneath the canvas; topless is the plan. It’s actually a bright,
sunny day despite the gale-force winds, and as photographer Chris says: “You won’t see the howling wind in the pictures.”

Removing the roof of both cars differs significantly. The Cabriolet is simple: sit in the driver’s seat, and push and hold the button. Wait 20 seconds or so. Done. Okay, so it’s not quite as snappy as a modern convertible Porsche, though it’s perfectly acceptable. For me, convertible cars of any make should be driven top-down whenever possible.

I always offer a disapproving frown to anyone I see driving anything with the hood up in the sunshine, so making the process as simple as possible is a vital element for me. 

The Targa is different. First off you’ll need to rummage in the glovebox for the two levers needed to release the latch above the windscreen, then faff about inserting them before swinging them through 90 degrees. That releases the front edge.

Now you have to climb out and figure out how to lift the entire roof section clear, with the catches at the front combining with two steel pins at the rear to secure the section. If you’re like me and have a giraffe-like physique, you can use your leverage and self confidence to lift it clear, a small voice in your head saying, ‘don’t drop it, don’t drop it…’. Humans with lesser leverage may need assistance.

Once you’ve lifted the top clear, what do you do with it? The stubborn male in me refuses to do the obvious thing and read the manual. After a few more moments of fiddling I discover the over-centre crank that gives the Targa section its shape and rigidity and allows the whole assembly to fold down, suitable for storage in the front luggage area. Assuming you haven’t already filled it with luggage. 

Fast and easy it is not. However, as I stand and look at the two cars, there’s no doubt in my mind which one is the better looking with the
roof configured for sunshine. The Targa is the more attractive of the two. I have always loved the rollover hoop section and, while the rear screen isn’t the classic Coupe shape, I do actually like the wrap-around curvaceousness of the one-piece rear glass.

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Genève 2019 – Singer DLS – Une réinterprétation ultime de la Porsche 911

Pour son grand retour au salon automobile de Genève 2019, Michelin a invité Singer afin d’exposer une voiture performante afin de mettre en avant ses nouveaux produits. Le stand Michelin a attiré de très nombreux visiteurs, notamment via la Singer DLS mise en avant, une Porsche 911 ré-imaginée par Singer développant 500 ch via son …

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Richard Attwood drives a 964 3.8 R restomod

road car. A race car. An engineer’s car. The 911, more than any other car, is a product of continual automotive evolution. Porsche’s enhancements have kept it relevant for the road, competitive on the track and have cemented its reputation as the enthusiast’s car of choice. That evolution isn’t just limited to Porsche itself; an entire industry out there takes 911s backwards and forwards in time, improving, re-imagining, personalising. The 911 is an eminently adaptable basis upon which owners can build the car they want from it.

With this 964, that’s exactly what RPM Technik has done for its owner Ian Humphris. The idea was for a fast road car that could be track driven, adding contemporary performance while being respectful to the classic feel and engagement a 964 brings. Using a Carrera 2 as its basis, the build process has been meticulous, seeking improvements in every area, this now a 964 that can run with its more recent GT department relations, yet offers a driving bandwidth that enables it to be enjoyed on the road, too.

Of all the many branches of 911 evolution and sub-species, this visceral, exciting 964 arguably represents the most appealing opportunity for perfecting and personalising, taking a tired Carrera and reviving it as a car that can be enjoyed. Its performance absolutely eclipses a 964 RS that you’d be too scared to drive. What RPM and Humphris have created is the perfect riposte to a zeitgeist where vehicular value takes president over the value of driving itself.

PART ONE: ON TRACK

It’s a sunny day at Bedford Autodrome, our track time exclusively reserved for RPM Technik’s 964 3.8. Owner Humphris likes his cars too: there’s a 997 GT3 RS in his garage, alongside some other special machinery, but it’s the 964 he’s animated about.

It’s obviously not standard, but to the uninformed could just be a neat, small, red Porsche 911. Its lowered stance could be missed, its split-rim BBS alloys less so. Humphris admits that they’re his road wheels, having a set of Cup 17-inch wheels with some cut slicks for serious track work. There are subtle hints to its revisions visually then, the black-rimmed headlight surrounds an RSR nod, the small lip splitter a neat addition under the front bumper.

There’s no surprises seeing the brake intakes on the front bumper, though they’re framed by darker indicator lenses. These, like those headlight surrounds, contrast perfectly with the red bodywork. Around the back the build follows the same understated enhancement route, this 964 retaining a single exhaust pipe, though the engine cover suggests that single pipe is attached to something a little bit different from the norm. The sticker, not badge, says 3.8 R, a model that’s entirely of its owner’s making, and justifiably so. Specification or naming purists be damned, this is a car that defines purity, a car built for an individual, with their – and only their – ambition and goals for it driving the entire project.

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forward-dated 911 SC: back to the future

The road ahead is deserted, its twisting Tarmac totally bereft of traffic. A thick wall of trees lines the roadside, their density willing us to keep moving our 991 towards the setting sun.

A look in the rear-view mirror reveals much the same story behind us. The highway is empty, save for two hazy yellow lights in the far distance. However, as the minutes tick by, those lights become more prominent. Glancing briefly at the road ahead, my eyes return to the 991’s rear-view mirror, fixated on those yellow lights coming quickly towards us. There’s a red hue visible between them now. A bonnet. A roof. A windscreen. It’s a car.

The rate at which this car is closing in on us is astonishing. It surges up the stretch of road behind us, revealing more detail with each passing second as its features become ever larger in our mirrors. A 964, I think to myself, catching its chunky front PU with integrated side lights. Then, roaring up behind us, the 964 pulls out and shoots past, gliding back in line and charging up the road ahead. Now the confusion sets in: replete with one-piece bumper, full-width rear reflector with clear ‘Porsche’ script, a distinctive tea tray spoiler and wheels with the lip and profile of Cup-spec alloys, the visual cues give this car away as a 964 3.3 Turbo. However, the mechanical howl of that flat six as it shot past certainly wasn’t akin to the noise of a 911 with an exhaust turbocharger bolted on. So, what on earth has just overtaken us on this rural stretch of Swedish asphalt?

Luckily, we don’t have to wait too long to find out. Not 20 minutes later we pull into a gas station and there, sitting by the pumps in front, is our mystery Porsche 911, being fuelled by its joint owner, Andreas. Originally a 1982 SC, the car was converted to a 964-look of sorts before Andreas and co-owner Lennart bought the car, though closer inspection of that one-piece Strosek front PU shows it to be more 944 than 911. We’re also told the rear bumper mimics that of a 3.0 RS. A peek inside reveals the car’s true age, its Pasha interior an obvious giveaway. Not that this car is trying to hide anything: Andreas and Lennart have even left the ‘SC’ lettering on the car’s decklid.

In our contemporary world where backdating a 911 is all the rage, the idea of a forward-dated 911 makes for an odd concept, but one which, in a bygone era, was a popular conversion. Due to the large spectrum of interchangeable parts on air-cooled 911s, many found favour with the idea of swapping a few panels to make an older model look just like one which had only just rolled off the production line at Zuffenhausen. Much like backdating, how convincing the car looked depended largely on how far you were willing to go, or how much you were willing to spend. So what of the car we’ve caught up with?

Andreas tells me he and Lennart bought the car in its current guise, complete with ‘teardrop’ wing mirrors commonly found on later 964s. “We found favour with how different it was compared to other SCs, and especially liked how it drove,” Andreas tells me as he replaces the fuel hose and tightens the 911’s filler cap. So did Andreas and Lennart ever consider converting the car back to standard, or backdating it – as is currently in vogue – to a longhood, pre-impact bumper 911? “No, because a lot of work had gone into converting it to 964 spec. For example, the rear reflector on a 964 sits at a slightly different angle to the G-series cars, so getting this to fit required the previous owner to make some modifications to the rear wings. We believe this is part of the history of the car and shouldn’t be changed,” comes Andreas’ reply.

For the full feature on forward-dated 911s, including a how-to guide from specialists, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 171 in shops now. You can also order your copy here for delivery to your door anywhere in the world, or download to an Apple or Android device of your choice. 

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