When Rob Dickinson, the lead singer for ’90s British rock band Catherine Wheel, moved to Hollywood in the early aughts, he drove a 1969 Porsche 911 that he lovingly dubbed the “Brown Bomber”—a classic car he restored to serve as a lightweight daily driver. Before long he was approached all over town—not for his autograph—rather to field questions about and receive offers for his car. One especially appreciative motorist even handed him a glass of Champagne at a stoplight.
“Hollywood is a pretty tough audience to impress, and it just proved to me that the fascination that I had for the 911 went deeper than just nerds like me,” Dickinson, 52, recalls from a glass-paneled conference room at his Sun Valley, Calif., office. “What I did appealed to other people—not just Porsche people but average laypeople who have a personal interest in cars.”
Now his eight-year-old company, Singer Vehicle Design (a nod to his previous career, as well as an homage to famed Porsche engineer Norbert Singer), is charging up to seven figures to restore models from the nameplate’s air-cooled golden period of the late 1980s to early 1990s and turn them into the “ultimate 911.”