world exclusive: Singer’s all-terrain competition study revealed
“What’s quite remarkable about 911s is they suit off-road use. It’s part of their genius,” so says 911 rally and motorsport specialist Richard Tuthill, while giving the Parallax white Porsche in front of us a final checkover pre-photography.
As is well known, for as long as the 911 has been driven for the purpose of recreation, it has also done so for racing – be it road or rally. We’ve documented the 911’s rich history in rallying many times in this magazine, which was borne out of Peter Falk (more on him on page 50) and Herbert Linge’s thrilling assault on the 1965 Monte Carlo rally in a near-stock 911S, winning their class and finishing 5th overall.
Porsche’s decorated legacy over rough terrain in the 45 years since includes notable dominance at the Dakar and, latterly, thanks to Mr Tuthill, safari success in East Africa, simply one of the world’s toughest endurance races. By default you might think that the 911 was built to go racing – on tarmac – but rallying over rough terrain has also been at the core of its DNA, which brings us to the latest work from Singer.
Regular readers (and indeed anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock these last ten years) will know of Singer’s brilliant work in restoring Porsche 911s, unleashing in them a new lease of life that enhances Ben Dimson’s original design. Its work has captured the imaginations of enthusiasts around the world, and Singer’s operations have also gone global, the home of its forthcoming DLS restorations making the jump over the Atlantic to the United Kingdom.
But you knew all that. What you won’t know, though, is that Singer is, for the first time, presenting a restoration which demonstrates extensive all-terrain exploration capabilities, including for the purposes of motorsport. It’s the result of what Singer calls the All-terrain Competition Study, and was developed in partnership with Richard Tuthill.
The project covers entirely new ground for Singer, quite literally, and began back in 2018. “Around two years ago we had a client approach us and say, ‘Can you build me two rally cars’? I said, ‘We don’t know how to do that… but we’ve heard of a guy’,” says Mazen ‘Maz’ Fawaz, CEO at Singer. “Richard and I had never met at that point but our mutual friend Chris Harris put us in touch, so I went out to England and met him. I arrived at Tuthill’s and within eight minutes I was in a racing car with dog ‘box, blasting down what is the wrong side of the road for me! I’d never driven a dog ‘box and I didn’t know this guy, and yet there we were, running around the countryside. We then got to the WRC 997 R-GT and by that point, I was pretty sure Richard was the guy we needed to work with. We became fast friends.”
Tuthill, who would go on to assist with testing and development of the DLS restorations, is well known for his historic motorsport preparation of classic Porsche 911s. His company’s reputation in this field extends right around the world, mainly because a Tuthill car has excelled in competition in every corner of it. His expertise and experience would be fundamental in Singer diversifying into restorations tailored for off-road motorsport.
Maz explains: “One of the reactions that Rob and I shared was this trend of ‘lifted’ 911s. It’s been going on for a few years so there’s a lot of tall 911s, rather than actual racing cars developed over decades, with legitimate rallying adventures – the way Richard has built his reputation. Singer is not trendy, so it didn’t sit with us to do something trendy like a ‘lifted’ car. We were never comfortable with the whole thing and weren’t in love with doing anything to begin with. When Richard started to introduce what happened mechanically, everything changed.”
To read our full, world exclusive reveal of Singer’s All-terrain Competition Study, pick up Total 911’s milestone 200th issue in store today, which is guest edited by Rob Dickinson, founder of Singer Vehicle Design. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device now.