A Porsche Reimagined with Matt Euson
Matt Euson first fell for vintage cars via his mother’s affinity for a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS. From there, the love grew so strong that Matt embarked on the time and patience consuming process of restoring a Porsche 911, with the help of LA-based Singer Vehicle Design. Turns out, the process was very much worth it, and after talking with Matt, we have our own visions of cruising down the road with a second cup of coffee in the cup holder, and just escaping for a bit.
When and how did you first get interested in vintage cars?
When I was a kid my mother would often talk about her first car and how much she missed it. It was a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS. She would recount her favorite stories from driving the car on country backroads. Once I had become successful enough to afford the car, I set out to find a similar example and purchased it for her. The search for that car led me to start appreciating vintage cars and I was hooked. I did eventually find her car, in California, flew there, purchased it and gave it to her for her 62nd birthday. We still have it.
What in particular attracted you to Porsches? What is the story behind your model in particular?
Porsche and in particular the 911, is an iconic brand and aesthetic. The versatility of the 911 is well known, an everyday sports car. Growing up in the 80s, the 930 Turbo with its "whaletail" was on every kid's wall, including mine. My father loved that model and would point it out everytime one passed us on the highway. I own one now and it's a blast to drive. That being said, I was also attracted to the simplicity of the late 60s, early 70s models. I enjoy the classiness of those designs, but I don't enjoy the reliability issues that come with vintage cars. So, around 2012, I started looking for someone that would 'back date" a newer 911 for me. That led to many conversations including with Jeff Gamroth (Rothsport Road and Race) to whom I explained what I was trying to accomplish. He explained to me that a small customizer in LA was already doing what I envisioned. He gave me contact information for Rob at Singer Vehicle Design and it was that introduction that led me to Singer. I was thinking about starting with the 964 model. and that was exactly what Singer Vehicle Design was already doing, so we were pretty much on the same page from the start.
Can you tell us more about Singer Vehicle Design and what they do?
Singer Vehicle Design reimagines the 911 as if there were no boundaries to the quality of the materials, the uniqueness of the design, and the engineering that goes into a jewel-like commission. What they do, checks all the boxes for me. I get the original iconic look, the flair of the 70s RSR, and the reliability of a modern sports car. And....it’s analog. Thousands of hours go into a completely reborn 911. Every component is important. Everything about the car is turned up to eleven.
What does the process of working together with Singer to reimagine a vintage Porsche look like?
First, you place a deposit to secure your place in line. I placed mine in December of 2012. Second, you either provide them a donor car, or they source one for you. I had a 1991 964 C2 that I shipped them. I sent my car in April of 2013. and they went about stripping it down to chassis and firewall. From there we selected the specifications including engine type, transmission, suspension, brakes, exterior color, interior color and components, etc. Eventually, they provided me multiple different renderings so that I could make my decision. I selected Blood Blue as the color because the Navy never goes out of style, and dark colors reflect the curves of this car well.
What were some of the key components you worked together with Singer on to change and add to your Porsche? What stayed the same?
With a Singer hardly anything remains the same. The original chassis/firewall is used as well as the original engine block. Every other part is replaced with components that have been reengineered with form and function in mind. While each commission is bespoke, Singer has a template of items that you choose from for engine, transmission, brakes, suspension, etc. These items don't offer much variation. Where you can really customize is interior color, patterns, paint, and wheels.
How do you feel when you are behind the wheel of your car?
Every single time I'm behind the wheel I am struck by how special the car is. The quality of the build comes right through the steering wheel. I also love the simplicity of the dash, with its analog gauges and clock. The transmission is a delight, the handling is sublime, and the throttle response is so good. It leaves me smiling every time. The perfect car to escape in.
What advice would you give to someone interested in embarking on their own vintage car redesign project?
I've restored and "resto modded" several cars. Every time , except with Singer, I have been disappointed in the final product. While taking a crate motor and transmission, and dropping it into a vintage car is made to look easy on TV, it just isn't. Problems start to emerge with drive shaft and rear gear wear, fit and finish problems, leaks, and handling issues because the suspension can't match the new horsepower, and the list goes on and on. The thing I am so impressed about Singer Vehicle Design is the thoroughness of the engineering and design. Everything works together. I'm at 8,000 miles and six years without issue. Never has the old saying "you get what you pay for" been more apropos than in vintage car restoration.
Before you hop in your car for an invigorating morning drive, what does your coffee routine look like?
Always two cups. Ratio coffee machines make the best coffee, and the design reminds me of my Singer; simple and beautiful. The first cup is enjoyed while the first glint of light is breaking on the horizon. The second cup is poured into my Yeti and is usually enjoyed behind the wheel. The spirited driving happens after the second cup is finished!
Do you plan to undertake any other rebuild adventures?
You have to have a pretty strong constitution to undergo a rebuild of a vintage car. Take your budget and double it, take your timeline and triple it. I'm not sure that I want to experience the waiting again. Besides, I already own the foremost restomod on the planet. I have one more car on my list, a bone stock F40. I think that would be the best 1-2 punch garage; a Singer and a F40.
Learn more about Matt’s restoration project here.