It has been said before that there have probably been more books written on the Porsche 911, than almost any car model. In this case though, it is no ordinary 911 that is being unpacked and revealed between the covers of this book. Rather, it is in strict 911 lore and from a purist’s point of view, a book about the systematic hot-rodding of a 911, actually, several 911s. Shock, horror, and gasps of disbelief I can hear coming from the ranks of the lovers of the original 911, and I count myself in that number. But be patient, and I will explain, that what goes on behind the doors of Singer Vehicle Design (SVD) is really art on wheels, and the sympathetic updating and modernisation of a very specific group of 911s. With this book, you should be prepared to be amazed!
What started out as a passion for cars, vehicle design, and life in general for the aspiring and successful musician Rob Dickinson, ended with the unexpected realisation of a dream. Music always played a central role in the young Dickinson’s life, but then so did Porsche cars and in the end, it was the 911 that won the day. Rob Dickinson’s eye for style, design and stance led him to commence the formal study of vehicle design, something that although he didn’t complete, would come to play a pivotal role in his dreams.
When finances permitted, Dickinson acquired a 911 sans engine, persuading the seller to keep it as he had plans to transplant a more powerful engine in the car. This car, known as the Brown Bomber attracted great interest at various motoring events, and this led to Rob Dickinson looking for investors and interested parties to come on-board, in order to give his business project wheels. And here starts the story of SVD, which if you buy the book, will keep you entertained for many a good hour. The book, published by Stance & Speed, received the Gold Medal at the 2015 International Automotive Media Registry awards, which should give you a good idea of its quality.
This account begins with Dickinson’s early years, and what inspired him to such levels of fascination with cars. The story takes you through the years of frustration while the author searched for his ideal vocation, which leaves one with little doubt as to what he should be doing with his life. One then journeys with the author through the years of formulating exactly what he wanted his modified 911 to look like, the quality not only of the car’s stance, but the quality too of the car’s fit and finish. What makes his journey right up to the current day so interesting, is that it is not just one continuous narrative from beginning to end. Instead, the author has invited, although in reality not much persuasion was needed, a number of some of the best automotive journalists in the world, to contribute a section on what specifically they liked about the finished car. This move in itself has introduced not only a varied account of the ‘re-imagined’ 911, but having this number of highly qualified writers contributing to the book, in a significant way, gives SVD’s restored 911s much credence.
The book ends with a catalogue of those cars which have been individually restored and prepared for each of SVD’s clients. Throughout the book, one is left in no doubt about the admiration that Dickinson and his team have for the 911 and its original creators. With this in mind, the Singer ‘re-imagined’ 911 is not a hot rod that one might at first think, but the purpose behind Dickinson’s dream was to modernise the classic 911 with current technology, and not just a little bit more power. Significant effort goes into keeping the car true to its roots, with all the clever bits being well concealed, but with the overall finished product taking on an understated and tantalising appeal. The car does not shout at all passers-by, it instead relies on the quality of the finish, and yes that word again ‘stance’ to speak volumes.
Before reading the book, I was somewhat sceptical about megaphoning the attributes of a modified, hot-rodded 911. But having read the book, I am left admiring what Dickinson and his team have achieved. Not only have they saved a bunch of tired old 911s that have lost some of their former lustre from a very ordinary existence, but they have taken those cars and elevated them to a level where they are admired, and lusted after, perhaps even gloated over.
The book will surprise you, it is well written, with plenty of fantastic photographs of both the gleaming finished product as well as the mucky, stripped and unpainted bodies. I think many readers will identify with where Rob Dickinson started his journey, and a good number will become Singer converts. Don’t miss this entertaining read!
Title: One More Than 10: Singer and the Porsche 911
Authors: Michael Harley & Rob Dickinson
Foreword: Chad McQueen
Publisher: Stance & Speed
Dimensions: 12 x 10 inches, hardcover
Pages: 276 Pages
Price US: US$85.00 (plus $10.00 S&H = $95.00)
Price International: US$85.00 (plus $65.00 S&H = $150.00)
The book can be purchased from (first edition sold out, second edition now in stock):
Stance & Speed website: https://bit.ly/2hEMwtY
…or the Singer Vehicle Design website: https://bit.ly/2h9e63v
…or on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ho79HU
Written by: Glen Smale
Images supplied by: One More Than 10: Singer and the Porsche 911