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NO WONDER I never got any studying done in study hall: There were always cars like the Le Mans Singer to read about, dream about, and sketch.
It helped to have one’s Road and Track hidden in a wrapping-paper cover, just like we did to preserve textbooks. I wonder, do kids still do this? Textbook preservation, that is.
Part 1 today will discuss this British automaker. Tomorrow in Part 2, we’ll see why the Le Mans Replica moniker is fully warranted.
Bicycles, Three-wheelers, Then Cars. Like other pioneer automakers, George Singer began with bicycles, in Coventry, England, in 1874. Singer built his first car in 1901. The Tri-Voiturette was offered in two models, the No. 1 with the passenger facing backward, the No. 2 with the passenger facing forward.
The company’s first four-wheel car came in 1905. The Singer Ten, its name referring to its taxable horsepower, was introduced in 1912. With a pause during World War I, the Ten remained in production until 1923.
A racing Ten set a Brooklands lap record of 74.42 mph in 1921. By 1928, Singer was the third largest British automaker, after Austin and Morris.
The Singer Nine. By 1931, the company’s full range of Junior, Six, and Super Six was joined by the Nine Sports. This model proved popular in British trials and other sporting events.
In 1936, a management squabble forced dissolution of Singer & Co. Ltd. and formation of Singer Motors Ltd. The firm remained independent until its absorption into the Rootes Group in 1955. The last Singer, produced in 1970, was the Chamois, a badge-engineered Hillman Imp.
Today, the Singer name lives on as a Coventry University residence hall.
The university also has buildings honoring Armstrong Siddeley, Bugatti, Frederick Lanchester, Jaguar, Sir William Lyons, William Morris, and, to counter the automotive theme, actress Ellen Terry.
Tomorrow, in Part 2, we travel to La Sarthe, France, and recount Singer’s various visits to the Le Mans 24-hour race.
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2019