Singer Vehicle Design introduced its first-ever off-road project, dubbed the All-terrain Competition Study, or ACS, last week. Inspired by historic off-road racing Porsche 911 sports cars, the ACS gets a number of fun and functional details that make it better suited to doing off-road stuff. None of them are more visually distinctive than the large mud guards sticking out of the front bumper. As threatening as they might look to a pedestrian, they’re also shockingly effective at, well, guarding against mud.
The company usually makes heavily customized, high-horsepower 911 road cars. But thanks to a long-time customer’s request and a lot of cash, Singer was inspired to go off-roading. The designers looked to the 911 rally cars already competing in events like the East African Safari Classic Rally, and Porsche’s previous rally efforts, for hints on how to best equip their flat-six off-roader design.
To get the technical stuff right, Singer Vehicle Design teamed up on the project with Richard Tuthill of Tuthill Porsche, whose 911 rally cars have won the East African Safari Classic Rally four times, most recently in 2019. That’s where the mud flaps come from.
“The splash guards are a feature often used on the ‘Safari’ 911s that we prepare to compete in events like the East African Safari Classic Rally, so their use is well understood,” Tuthill explained to Jalopnik in an email. “Rob and the Singer design team loved the feature, as did our client, so they were incorporated into the car and can be easily removed when not required (as you can see in some of the images).”
Here’s an example of the mud flaps on an actual Tuthill rally car, which you can see lack the slick design of the Singer parts because, well, it’s a race car very likely to end up in a ditch. It’s attached with zip ties.
Not just a design choice, the removable flaps on the ACS do allegedly function the same as those on the rally car. “The guards are part of the overall desire to equip ACS with broad capabilities across a wide range of terrain, incorporating learnings from real competition,” Tuthill explained.
“Essentially, when a car enters water at speed, the water gets pushed forwards and up and then tends to wash back over the front of the car and up over the windshield. The guards are designed to stop this by pushing the water back down and to the side of the car (where half-height doors help to prevent water entering the cabin).”
As you can clearly see in the image above, the windshield is keeping fairly clear of that mud spray, and critically, so is the headlight. I bet that’s a huge benefit when trying to see at night, too.
All four wheels are driven by an air-cooled 3.6-liter twin-turbo flat-six making 450 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a five-speed sequential. There are three locking differentials, and five-way adjustable dampers fine-tune the handling. Wheels are 16x8-inch aluminum units shod with BFGoodrich tires, and there’s room for a spare both in the front and rear of the car.
Inside, there’s an FIA-certified roll cage and FIA-certified custom red-splattered seats, large driver-focused display and control screens on the dashboard, and a hydration system for the driver and navigator. That’s all enclosed in a carbon fiber body.
As for the body, the Singer ACS is most heavily inspired by the Porsche 911 SC/RS and Porsche 959 rally cars, which is really obvious in the rear design treatment here
Looking at the ACS, I see plenty of modern rally car inspiration, and enough of the 959 to be very happy. I’m not sure I see enough 911 SC/RS. I wonder if Singer is already working on a massive light pod for the hood, too? There’s plenty of space to fit one between the mud flaps. I’ll ask.