Singer’s 700hp DLS Turbo pays homage to 934/5

With a 700hp twin-turbo flat six and bodywork aping the victorious Porsche 934/5, it's a 'hell yes' from us…

By John Howell / Tuesday, 27 June 2023

There are many iconic racing cars from the 1970s, and for Porsche fans, the Porsche 934/5 is undoubtedly one of the key ones. And if you are one of those fans, and you’re struggling to find a 934/5 for sale at the moment that’s understandable – Porsche made only 10 of them. Then there’s the problem of price. The last time one came onto the open market in 2017, it sold for a cool $1.4m. Help is at hand, though. Singer has just announced a reimagined 934/5. It’s called the DLS Turbo, and boy does it look a bit tasty.

For some background we have to venture back to 1976. That was when Porsche decided to produce this tiny batch of cars using the 934 with 935 Group 5 parts, including a turbocharged 3.0-litre flat six delivering around 500hp. It was built to go racing in the Trans-Am and IMSA GTO series, and the 934/5, as it was designated, dominated. It won six of the eight Trans-Am races and collared the top five positions in the championship – giving the Corvette C3s and the Group 44 Jaguar XJS bloody noses in the process.

The 934/5 clearly had an effect on Rob Dickinson, who’s the Executive Chairman and Founder, Singer Group. “I was 12 when my father’s friend showed us his Super 8 film of the 1977 Watkins Glen 6 Hours. As the familiar face of a Porsche 911 morphed into impossibly boxed hips, gaping intakes, and a giant double-planed rear wing, I can still remember the shock and the realization that this was the other life of the 911 – the racing car. Since Singer began, I’ve wanted to return to that moment, collaborate with our clients and celebrate that car – the 934/5.” And now, true to his word, he has, using a development of the engine used in the Turbo Study it produced last year.

Once again, it’s 964-based. Are there enough 964s in the world to produce the numbers of reimagined 911s that are being doled out today? Well, it may not seem like it, but when you think Singer capped production of its Classic at 450, and it’s one of the biggest and most prolific names in the game, the numbers of 964s being gobbled up are actually quite small. Dickenson has said previously that there are still tens of thousands of 964s and many ‘ratty ones’ that he doesn’t feel ‘too bad about reimagining’.

The process begins when an owner’s 964 arrives at Singer’s new-ish premises in Torrance, California. The facility now houses all Singer’s production requirements under one roof. First task is to strip the 964 to nothing but a body shell. That’s then ‘painstakingly assessed, cleaned, strengthened, and prepared so that it is in optimal condition for the next stages of the restoration,’ which begins by adding the 934/5-inspired carbon fibre body panels that trim weight and add strength. And by the way, yes, the shape of that bodywork mirrors the original, but it’s been honed using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to perfect its aerodynamic performance and the car’s prodigious cooling requirements.

That brings us onto the original 964 engine. That’s in another room going through a similar strip-down-and-assessment programme. It’s rebuilt with an increased displacement of 3.8-litres, double the valves (to 24) and not one but two turbochargers. The turbos pull in air from large openings built into the rear windows and use air-to-water cooling with electric wastegates. The output is pretty astonishing. The Singer version produces over 200hp more than the original ’70s racing cars – in excess of 700hp at 9,000rpm. That runs through a six-speed manual gearbox, but best of all, check out the side-exiting exhausts behind the rear wheels. Whoof, whoof indeed.

Obviously, we’re talking about a little more performance than a standard 964 Carrera would’ve had, then, so to give the driver some hope of taming its newfound boisterousness, the Singer DLS Turbo has carbon ceramic brakes with monoblock calipers and forged magnesium centre-locking wheels (19-inch front, 20-inch rear) wrapped in either Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 or Cup 2R tyres. The uprated suspension includes bespoke dampers with what’s described as ‘remote’ adjustment.

The style direction each owner takes is up to them. The Blood Orange car you see in the pictures has been produced for an owner who wanted to focus on the track element of the 934/5. That’s why it has a high-downforce rear wing – the upper element of which is adjustable – and large front splitter jutting out. The other car – the one finished in Moet Blanc – is at the opposite end of the two extremes. Its owner wanted something in a more road-focused touring spec, which is why it comes with a speed-bump-friendlier front end and smaller ducktail spoiler at the back. And if you just can’t decide which direction to take, then Singer will build you a car that be switched between the two configurations. Naturally, there’s also a huge array of options beyond the basic aero philosophy – in terms of paintwork, interior leather and trims – to create something entirely bespoke.

How much will this cost and how many will be built? Singer says that: ‘each restoration is unique’ and that the ‘prices for Singer’s restoration services are dependent on the requests by each car’s owner’. It also stated that ‘a limited number of restorations will be commissioned’. So we don’t know, basically, but if you’ve not read between the lines and concluded it’s going to cost quite a lot then your name must surely be Pollyanna. We can tell you how much it’ll cost to see one of the Singer DLS Turbos in the flesh. It’s the price of a Goodwood Festival of Speed ticket, where it’ll be on display. 

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