Tag Archives: Singer

Coffee Croissants And Cars 01/15 – Avenue Drivers Club

The second Sunday of the month saw the first Avenue Drivers Club meeting of the year at Queen Square in Bristol.

Singer Vogue, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

Among the delights struggling to find somewhere to park was this 1969 Singer Vogue.

Jaguar XJ6, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

Another 1969 car was this early, Mk 1, Jaguar XJ6 4.2 which the current owner bought fitted with E-type wire wheels, not recommended by the manufacturer for a vehicle of this weight, and a set of standard steel spares.

ALFA Romeo 1750 GT Veloce, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

Built in 1971 but not registered in the UK until August 1972 was this ALFA Romeo 1750 GT Veloce, I suspect the vinyl roof and gold pinstripes might not have been original factory options.

MG Midget, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

Sporting the original coffee and cream works MG colours above is a 1981 MG Midget with federal spec bumpers.

Vauxhall Viva, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

According to a sticker in the back window this 1971 Viva SL estate is maintained with “Genuine Scrapyard Parts” which appear to include a non standard turbo charged diesel motor which going on the officially registered 1686 cc / 102 cui size maybe of GM Poland Circle L origin.

Ford Mondeo TDCI 140, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

Also diesel powered, and keeping an eye on everything being orderly, ship shape and Bristol fashion were officers of the Avon Constabulary in their 2010 Ford Mondeo TDCI 140.

The next Avenue Drivers Club meeting at Queen Square will be Sunday February 8th.

Thanks for joining me on this “Coffee Croissants And Cars 01/15” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a short tale about a Porsche 917. Don’t forget to come back now !


Musical Spares – Porsche 962C #006

The Porsche 962 was built in two specs, the original was the 1984 IMSA GTP spec which was a variation of the dominant Group C Porsche 956 sports car first seen in 1982. The 962 differed in two important aspects from it’s Group C cousin. First the 962 had a longer wheel base so that the drivers feet were behind the center line of the front axle and second IMSA mandated a single turbo while the Group C 956 ran more powerful twin turbo’s.

Porsche 962C, Le Mans, France

For 1986 the FIA mandated that Group C cars should follow the lead set by IMSA and have the drivers feet behind the the center line of the front axle line while making no changes to the engine regulations so the more powerful Porsche 962C came into being sweeping all before it much as the 956 and 956B had done. Derek Bell became the first driver to successfully defend his World Sports Car Drivers Championship won driving a 956B in ’85 and 962C in ’86. In 1986 Derek also won the Le Mans 24 hours for the forth time sharing his 962C with Hans Joachim Stuck and Al Holbert, Derek was also awarded the MBE for services to motorsport, a Royal honour which even Porsche AG noted on the door of Dereks #17 car as seen above at Le Mans in 1987.

Porsche 962C, Le Mans, France

Going into Le Mans 1987 Derek Bell and Al Holbert were on a roll of three consecutive 24 hour race wins going back to Daytona ’86 where they shared an IMSA GTP 962 with Al Unser Jr. As mentioned above Bell and Holbert followed that up at Le Mans winning with Hans Stuck and made it a three peat of 24 hour victories at Daytona sharing Holberts Löwenbrau Porsche 962 with Unser Jr and Chip Robinson. Only a complete idiot would have bet against Bell, Stuck and Holbert claiming victory at Le Mans in 1987. The #17 chassis #006 seen in the rain above qualified 2nd on the grid by Hans Stuck next to the #18 chassis #008 which Bob Wollek qualified on pole.

Derek Bell, Hans Joachim Stuck, Le Mans, France

But the fourpeat of consecutive 24 hour victories very nearly did not happen, things started to go wrong for the works Porsche team a week before the race when Hans Stuck tested all the Le Mans cars at Porsche’s Weisach test facility. Stuck experienced a puncture while driving the car designated for his team mates Jochen Mass and Brilliant Bob Wollek. As a consequence Mass and Wollek were given the car designated as the race car for Stuck, Bell and Holbert chassis #008 while the ’86 winning trio took over the car designated for Vern Schuppan, Kees Nierop and Price Cobb chassis #006, today’s featured car, and the Schuppan, Nierop, Cobb combination were given the older chassis #002 which had been designated as a spare. Bell and Stuck are seen above returning from the new chicane an hour before the start of the race.

Porsche 962C, Le Mans, France

The next problem for the Porsche team occurred in practice when Price Cobb had an accident which wrote chassis #002 off during the first day of practice so that there were now only two works entered cars to challenge for the win, but as designer Norbert Singer observed ‘only one of them can win’. Schuppan, Nierop and Cobb all found rides in other cars.

Porsche 962C, Le Mans, France

An hour into the 1987 race it looked as if Jaguar who were at least 3 seconds slower than the lead Porsche in practice might pull off a remarkable win as they held first third and fifth. The Porsche cars were falling like a chain of domino’s with engine failures, something in the fuel was causing the latest in Bosch (ECU) electronic management systems to run the Porsche engines much too lean which resulted in engine failures for the pole sitting works car; 2 Joest Porsche 962C’s and a Kremer 962C.

Porsche 962C, Le Mans, France

Fortunately the #17 had managed to get into the pits to change to an older ECU before any permanent damage was done and 2nd placed Bell, Stuck and Holbert proceeded to pursue the lead Jaguar at break neck speed until midnight when it took the lead for the final time as the four 7 litre / 427 cui V12 Jaguar XJR 8LM’s started to fall by the wayside with a puncture, an accident, a cracked cylinder head and a missed gear change respectively.

Porsche 962C, Le Mans, France

The punctured #5 Jaguar driven by Win Percy had required an 80 minuet safety car period to clear up the debris in the dead of night as the Jaguar had been pitched at 200 mph into the barriers of the Mulasanne straight ripping off the gearbox and engine, Win Percy unlike his helmet was completely unscratched. The relentless pace at which the #17 Porsche had been chasing the Jaguars meant that Bell, Stuck and Holbert were way over their fuel allowance as the safety car period started but right back on schedule once the mess created by the Jaguar had been cleaned up.

By the end of the race Bell, Stuck and Holbert were 20 laps to the good; from the private Primagaz Competition 962C of Juergen Lässig, Pierre Yver and Bernard de Dryver; as they recorded their fifth, second and third Le Mans wins respectively, their second consecutively as a winning Le Mans trio and Bell and Holberts 4th consecutive 24 Hour race win. Porsche also recorded their seventh consecutive Le Mans win in 1987.

The following year things would not be so easy as Jaguar, who won the 1987 World Sports Car Championship and who’s driver Raul Bosel won the 1987 World Sports Car Drivers Championship took the fight even more convincingly to Porsche at Le Mans.

Chassis #006 was driven at Spa in 1986 by Jochen Mass and Bob Wollek on it’s debut where it was qualified third and finished 7th it’s only other race start was at Fuji where Holbert and Pescarolo started from 12th and retired with transmission problems. Prior to the Le Mans 24 hours #006 had primarily been used as a spare car at Jarama, Jerez, Monza and Silverstone in 1987. #006 was driven by Bob Wollek and Canadian Kees Nierop for the ’87 Le Mans test weekend where carrying the #17 it recorded the 2nd fastest time. After the 24 hour win in ’87 #006 returned to Le Mans in 1988 as a spare that was briefly used by Micheal Andretti in practice before it was retired for good.

Thanks for joining me on this “Musical Spares” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Restructuring Fallout – Singer B37 Sports

In 1934 Singer built a 48 hp six cylinder 1 1/2 litre / 91 cui version of the Singer Le Mans with the aim of challenging the big hitters in the class, Aston Martin and Riley at Le Mans. The two team cars came home 7th and 8th overall behind the class winning Rileys which finished 2nd and 3rd overall and ahead of the Aston Martin’s which finished 10th and 11th.

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71 six cylinder Le Mans cars were built and they proved competitive especially in trials where they were noted for their restart capabilities on steep slippery surfaces. In 1937 a new six cylinder model known as the B37 was introduced powered by a 59 hp motor.

Singer B37, VSCC, Loton Park

The B37 was built on a new chassis and fitted with a competition “fly off” handbrake; twin spare wheels, offering added traction in trials events and a “Hill Holder” grab handle for passengers to hang onto when bouncing the car up slippery trials hills.

Singer B37, VSCC, Prescott

Thanks to the financial restructuring going on at Singer the B37 was cut from the Singer range after just 12 cars had been built. The car belonging to John Gibson seen at Loton Park, top two and Prescott Hill Climbs is one of three that are thought to have survived.

Thanks for joining me on this “Restructuring Fallout” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Last On Sunday – Singer 9 Special Speed

At the very first Le Mans 24 Hours race in 1923 Maurice Boutmy and France Jérôme Marcandanti covered 89 laps to finish 18th to become the first 1 litre / 61 cui normally aspirated car to finish the race in an Amilcar CV. Remarkably it was not until 1933 that Singer Competition Manager FS Barnes and Alf Langley were to finish the classic endurance race in a similar sized British built car a Singer 9 Sports which completed 140 laps came 13th and last overall and second in class 21 laps behind a French built Tracta driven by Félix Quinault and Pierre Padrault.

Singer 9 Special Speed, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

The achievement of simply finishing the 1933 Le Mans 24 Hour race at an average speed of 49.4 miles per hour was enough to encourage Singer to build a two seat version of the Singer 9 Sports, nominally the Singer 9 Sports was a 4 seater however the car used at Le Mans had a large fuel tank that occupied the space for the rear seats, called the Singer Le Mans. In 1934 Norman Black and J.R.H. Baker finish fifteenth overall 7th in class in a Singer Le Mans covering 163 laps.

Singer 9 Special Speed, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

The popular Singer Le Mans is not to be confused with either the six cylinder 1 1/2 litre Singer Le Mans, or the four Singer Le Mans Replica’s built in 1939 which were out and out 2 seat racing cars. In 1935 a Special Speed version of the Singer Le Mans was introduced, distinguished by the running boards between the front and rear wings and it is this model that is seen here at last years Summer Classics Meeting at Easter Compton.

Singer 9 Special Speed, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Power for the Singer Super Speed comes from a 38 hp 972 cc / 59 cui 4 cylinder overhead cam motor still running on a two bearing crank as did the Singer 8 I looked at last week.

Singer 9 Special Speed, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

This particular car was delivered in December 1935 to HD Acres who a few weeks later used it to compete on the Exeter Trials in January 1936. Acres car can be seen being helped out of a little difficulty on the Simms test by those very nice men from the Automobile Association on this link.

Singer 9 Special Speed, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

By 1939 this Singer 9 Special Speed had passed into the ownership of RJW Appleton who is known to have driven the car on the Lands End Trial the same year. RJW Appleton was responsible for building the Riley powered Maserati called the Appleton Special which achieved and 1100cc / 67 cui standing mile record of 91.3 mph in 1937.

Singer 9 Special Speed, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

The current owner of today’s featured car acquired it as a large box of ‘bits’ and has spent many years returning it to it’s present condition.

Thanks for joining me on this “Last On Sunday” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Jumpin’ Motorcycles – Singer 8 Junior Sports

Today’s featured 1928 Singer 8 Junior Sports is essentially mechanically identical to the 4 seat Coachbuilt saloon I looked at last week. The two cars were first registered a couple of months apart.

Singer 8 Junior Sports, VSCC, Loton Park

The boat tailed wire wheeled sports, originally fitted with cycle wings, running board, lights and a windscreen became known as the Porllock Sports after an unusual reliability record was set in 1930 by a Singer Sports on the famous 1 in 4 Porlock Hill in Devon where officials from Royal Automobile Club observed one being driven up and down the hill one hundred times in the space of 15 hours.

Singer 8 Junior Sports, VSCC, Loton Park

Singer Sports also had a multitude of other uses the Royal Signals Corps used one with a driver crouched in the cockpit as a hurdle for its motorcycle AND horse jumping display team.

The stripped car seen here at Loton Park is being driven by Ed Swain at Loton Park.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Jumpin’ Motorcycles’ edition, of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Two Bearing Crankshaft – Singer 8 Junior

Like many pioneering manufacturers of motor cars Singer Motors Ltd was founded as a manufacturer of bicycles, by George Singer in 1874. By 1901 the company had diversified into producing powered tricycles which were soon followed by powered bicycles. Singer built their first car in 1905. Over the next four Tuesday’s GALPOT will be looking at four models from the interwar years.

Singer 8 Junior, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet

The Singer 8 Junior was launched in 1926. Initially only a four seat tourer was available, in blue with black wings / fenders.

Singer 8 Junior, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet

For tax purposes the 4 cylinder motor was classed as having 8 horsepower, it featured gravity fuel feed, a crank running in just two bearings, overhead cam shaft, 6 volt electrics, that produced 16.5 hp at 3250 rpm. The motor would be the progenitor of future Singer power units for three decades.

Singer 8 Junior, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet

Eventually a range of different body styles were offered including Two Seater Tourer, Sunshine Saloon, Coachbuilt Saloon as seen here, Fabric Saloon, a two plus two called the Sportsman’s Coupe and a boat-tailed Sports which helped sell 6000 8 Juniors a year between 1927 and 1931 which made Singer the third largest manufacturer in the UK behind Austin and Morris.

Singer 8 Junior, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet

There were plans for the German Aga “Aga Fahrzeugwerke GmbH” company to manufacture Singer 8 Juniors under license, in much the same way as BMW manufactured the Austin 8 under license, but these plans came to naught, after a single prototype had been built Aga disappeared.

Today’s featured 1928 saloon / sedan was purchased by the current owners in 2009 at the Bristol Classic Car Show in Shepton Mallet, it is known to have resided in Cornwall and Surrey about 20 years ago. The owners say the car is great fun to drive “and we always get there eventually.”

Thanks for joining me on this “Two Bearing Crankshaft” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Summer Classics – Easter Compton

Halfway between Bristol and the former holiday resort Severn Beach lies Washingpool Farm just outside Easter Compton which played host to Summer Classics at the weekend.

Zil 131, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

By no means the biggest show I have attended this year, what Summer Classics lacked in quantity it more than made up with in quality and good company on Saturday. Above is a 150 hp V8 that took part in a race, possibly the greatest race of all time the nuclear arms race. This 1971 6 x 6 Zil 131 was fitted out as a Zelda R140 mobile radio station designed to be used as a mobile command center. The cabs for the radio operators on the back of the trucks were designed to survive nuclear fall out and thus ensure the possibility of mutual destruction !

Volkswagen Subaru Multivan, Last Limited Edition, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

The Type 3 Transporter / Multivan above is one of the last 6, 2494 of 2500, Last Limited Edition (LLE) Multivans made in 1992. There was also a Redstar limited edition available to VW employees only and production of the Type 3 continued in Mexico until 2003. This particular LLE Multivan is a particularly quick camper having been fitted with a 230 hp 3.3 liter / 201 cui Subaru flat six motor, Porsche gearbox and brakes and a Scania Shifter.

Paramount Sport, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Saturdays ‘car manufacturer I had never even heard of before’ was Paramount. The 1953 Paramount Sports above featuring an aluminium body on an ash frame is one of only 3 road worthy Paramount vehicles from a total of 80 of all types thought to exist.

MG6 GT, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

After the MG Rover group disappeared in 2005 the MG marque was revived in 2011 with help from many former employees who were re employed at the MG Motor UK Technical Center by new owners of the MG marque SAIC Motor. The MG6 GT above, built from a complete knock down kit supplied by SAIC was assembled at Longbridge, home to the former MG Rover Group. Despite a successful presence in the British Saloon Car Championship production volumes so far are thought to be small probably not yet reaching a thousand.

Peterbilt, 8 Seconds, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

I have never sat in a Peterbilt before, nor a TV star nor a vehicle that has 1,000,000 miles, I ticked all those boxes on Saturday when I climbed into the cab of Straight 8 a 1993 Peterbilt which was featured in Trick My Truck in January 2007. As can be seen the truck has over 1.2 million miles on the clock !

Rover 3500S, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

The Rover 3500S came in two different forms for the UK Market S stood for Synchromesh as used in the four speed manual gearbox while in the US Market all Rover 3500 S models were automatics. Looking at the dash this is clearly a right hand drive vehicle, unfortunately I did not notice if the car was a converted LHD automatic or a UK supplied manual making use of the Rover parts bin with a US spec front number plate mounting, ice warning device seen to the left of the number plate and US spec bonnet with three air intakes. The wipers would suggest this is a UK spec car with some US spec goodies.

Armstrong Siddeley Whitley, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Unlike Bristol Cars which refrained from using the names of Bristol Aeroplanes, it’s parent organisation, for it’s vehicles until 1975 Armstrong Siddeley used the names of it’s parent companies WW2 aircraft, including Hurricane and Lancaster upon the the resumption of vehicle manufacture in 1945. The Sphinx mascot is seen above on a 1953 Armstrong Siddeley Whitley which takes it’s name from a twin engined bomber that is named after a suburb of Coventry where Armstrong Siddeley’s were built.

Lincoln Zephyr, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

My personal vote for car of the show goes to this 1936 Lincoln Zephyr. This V12 was occupied by a family of four with an outsize classic TV and was making it’s way on a 1600 plus mile holiday journey from Dresden, Germany at an eye watering 21 mpg imperial / 18 mpg US !

Singer Le Mans, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Among many storied cars at the Summer Classics Show on Saturday was this Singer Le Mans built in December 1935 it took part in the 1936 Exeter Trials with HD Acres at the wheel as can be seen on this link. By 1939 the Singer had acquired the large centre fog light and was in the hands of RJW Appleton who used it to compete in the Lands End Trial. The present owner spent many years rebuilding the Singer after acquiring a big box of ‘bits’.

Ford Torino, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

The “striped tomato” 1974 Ford Gran Torino seeen above is one of the first six built in 1973, for the ’74 model year. It was picked up by it’s current owner in San Francisco with a straight body and has been slowly restored since with well over £6k in suspension parts alone. By all accounts Paul “Michael” Glaser took an instant disliking to the car with which he will be forever associated as Starsky from the Starsky & Hutch TV series. He thought the car looked like a ridiculous ride for a supposed undercover cop and referred to it as striped tomato both in private and later in scripts for the show.

Sunbeam Alpine, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Fresh paintwork and equally fresh cream leather interior suggest this 1953 Sunbeam Alpine Mk I has been recently restored, love the way the Brooklands Aero screens sets the look of this car apart from it’s 1.582 siblings that were built from 1953 to 1955.

BSA Combination, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

BSA first built the 591cc / 36 cui M21 in 1937, with production lasting until 1963 ! Used by the armed forces and in large numbers with combination sidecars, as seen with the 1951 model above, by the Automobile Association (AA) as roadside assistance units.

Thanks for joining me on this “Summer Classics” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !