It’s argued among philosophers that nothing can be a work of art if it is created to serve any functional purpose beyond its art form. For example, a painting or a sculpture serves purely as art, so such creativity qualifies. However, well-crafted antique furniture or intricately engineered watches can’t be art because they serve other daily human needs — even if we might find such craftsmanship beautiful.
Car lovers would reject such notions. All gearheads know the physical and emotional impact a gorgeous car packs — the tingling chills, the sudden intake of breath, the echoing thoughts of gratitude to the faceless designers and engineers who built it. It’s the same physical response any art lover might feel when they first behold a Rembrandt, a Monet or a Calder.
At he massive Goodwood Festival of Speed, Europe’s premiere performance automotive event held on the grounds of the Goodwood House in West Sussex, UK, admirers of auto aesthetics and ingenuity can witness a mix of classic restorations and the latest supercars from around the world. Here, we highlight a restored classic: the Porsche 911.
Singer Vehicle Design is a California-based car restoration operation founded by Englishman Rob Dickinson, and it boasts a special relationship with Goodwood and Porsche. This year, Singer brought the very first “customer-owned,” fully optimized Porsche 911 Targa and — our star for this month — a newly redesigned and restored Porsche 911 with a 3.8 liter Cosworth engine.
The 911 is an iconic European performance car and a ride that generates intense passion for its fans. To call up a sports analogy, the 911 is NHL Hockey. It isn’t for everybody, and it’s a little bit of its own niche. But, those who love Hockey celebrate it with absolutely passion and dedication.
For 911 enthusiasts, the Porsche is the only sports car they’ll embrace. To put it simply, a 911 man is a 911 man for life.
Since the Goodwood Festival of Speed remains Europe’s preeminent celebration of performance automobiles, Porsche’s and its signature creation were well represented. When Singer brings a fresh 911 from its reservation works, the fans flock its way.
This restored 911 made its first public appearance at Goodwood theweek before heading to its owner in right-hand drive friendly Canada. The exact name of the Canadian owner remains confidential, but the thousands of envious enthusiasts that filed between the ropes at Goodwood got a look at the latest Singer special project.
According to Singer’s own spec reports, the restoration house used lightweight construction to blend with comfort, durability and high performance. For the latter, Singer chose a 3.8 liter Cosworth engine, made specifically for Singer’s mystery customer. That engine snuggles up to a six speed manual transmission, an integrated roll bar, Ohlins suspension, external fuel and oil cap lids, track seats, a big racing brake package and a stereo upgrade.
The exterior sports a fresh yellow exterior marked by classic racing stripes. Inside, it’s an all black leather weave interior marked by metal ring accents.
Elite custom builds are always about the details, and the Singer builders dotted the car with special flares only the true gearhead will enjoy. There’s nickel-plating on the fuel and oil caps, special side mirrors and the signature Targa bar strip — the traditional badging using a harvest gold finish.
This custom 911 played an active role at Goodwill, taking on a time trial along the world famous 1.16-mile Hillclimb route. The Hillclimb is the Festival of Speed’s main event, taking place repeatedly throughout the event with different star cars making a run for history.
The 1.16-mile course starts at a quaint, woodsy corner of the festival estate before taking off up the hill. A tree-lined run through the southern corner of the Goodwood Estate which then turns to sweep past the front of stately Goodwood House. Using a dedicated road on the estate, the hill wraps up in what would’ve been a horse field before the motorcar came into existence.
The Hillclimb course rises more than 300 ft. from the start to finish, providing a tricky run for even professional race drivers. According to Goodwood stats, as many as 300 beeches take a shot at the Hillclimb every day of the festival.
The record time for the hill run was by Nick Heidfeld in a McLaren MP4-13 in 1999. While the Singer 911 might not have knocked down that achievement, it’s still irresistible to lovers of iconic German sports cars.
Autolust is monthly column that explores cars that, through the passion and dedication of stylists and customizers, have arguably been elevated to the status of Art. Each month we’ll chase down a custom or limited edition ride that we all can appreciate with that special mix of admiration, desire, and a touch of envy.