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|Headquarters||Coventry, United Kingdom|
Commonwealth of Nations
Motorcycle until 1915
Bicycle industry until 1915
Motorcycles until 1915
Bicycles until 1915
Singer was the first motor manufacturer to make a small economy car that was a replica of a large car, showing a small car was a practical proposition. With a four-cylinder ten horsepower engine the Singer 10 was launched at the 1912 Motor Show. William Rootes, Singer apprentice and consummate car-salesman, contracted to buy the entire first year's supply. It became a best-seller. Ultimately Singer's business was acquired by his Rootes Group in 1956, which continued the brand until 1970.
- Note: The British Singer company had no connection with the American Singer Company of Mount Vernon, New York, USA, which also made luxury cars from 1915 to 1920.
History[edit | edit source]
Bicycles[edit | edit source]
Engines, three-wheelers and motorcycles[edit | edit source]
The company began manufacturing motorised three-wheelers in 1901, followed by motorwheels which were fitted to bicycles. Singer developed a 222cc four-stroke single using an engine design bought from former Beeston employees Edwin Perks and Harold Birch. A unique feature of the engine was that the fuel tank and carburetor were housed in a wheel. The design was used by Singer in the rear wheel and then the front wheel of a trike.
In 1904 they developed a range of more conventional motorcycles which included 346cc two strokes and, from 1911, sidevalve models of 299cc and 535cc. In 1913 they offered an open-frame 'ladies' model.
In 1909 Singer built a series of racers and roadsters and entered several bikes in races, including the Isle of Man Senior TT in 1914. George E. Stanley broke the one hour record at Brooklands race track on a Singer motorcycle in 1912, becoming the first ever rider of a 350cc motorcycle to cover over sixty miles in an hour.
Singer stopped building motorcycles at the outbreak of the First World War. 
Motor cars[edit | edit source]
Singer made first four wheel car in 1905. It was made under licence from Lea-Francis and had a 3 cylinder 1400 cc engine. The first Singer designed car was the 4 cylinder 2.4 litre 12/14 of 1906. The engine was bought in from Aster. For 1907 the Lea-Francis design was dropped and a range of two, three and four cylinder models using White and Poppe engines launched. The Aster engined models were dropped in 1909 and a new range of larger cars introduced. All cars were now White and Poppe powered. In 1911 the first big seller appeared with the 1100cc Ten with Singer's own engine. The use of their own power plants spread through the range until by the outbreak of the World War I all models except the low-volume 3.3 litre 20hp were so equipped.
The Ten continued after World War I, with a redesign in 1923 including a new overhead valve engine. Six cylinder models were introduced in 1922. In 1927 the Ten engine grew to 1300 cc and a new light car the 850 cc overhead cam (ohc) engine, the big selling Singer Junior was announced. By 1928 Singer was Britain's third largest car maker after Austin and Morris.[citation (source) needed] The range continued in a very complex manner using developments of the ohc Junior engine first with the Nine, the 14/6 and the sporty 1 1/2 litre in 1933. The Nine became the Bantam in 1935.
After World War II the pre war Nine, Ten and Twelve were initially re-introduced with little change. In 1948 the all new SM1500 with independent front suspension and a separate chassis was announced. It was, however, expensive at £799, and failed to sell well as Singer's rivals also got back into full production. The car was restyled to become the Hunter in 1954. The Hunter was available with a twin overhead cam version of the engine, but few were made. (the hunter name was also used on a later Chrysler model)
Rootes[edit | edit source]
By 1956 the company was in financial difficulties and Rootes Brothers who had handled Singer sales since before World War 1 bought the company. The Singer brand was absorbed into the Rootes Group whose brands largely sold badge engineered versions of each others cars. The next Singer car, the Gazelle, was a Hillman Minx variant which retained the Singer ohc engine for the I and II versions but this too went in 1958 with the IIA. The Vogue which ran alongside the Gazelle from 1961 was a rebadged Hillman Super Minx with a more luxurious trim.
The last car to carry the Singer name was an upmarket version of the rear engined Hillman Imp called the Chamois. With the take over of the Rootes Group by Chrysler in 1967, many of the brands were to vanish and the Singer name disappeared forever in 1970.
Models[edit | edit source]
The main models produced were:
- Singer 10 1400 cc 1905
- Singer 12/14 2400 cc 1906-10
- Singer 20/25 3500 cc 1908-10
- Singer 15 2600 cc 1911-14
- Singer Ten 1100 cc 1912-23
- Singer 10/26 1300 cc 1925-27
- Singer 14/34 and Senior 1800 cc 1926-27
- Singer Light Six 1800 cc 1929-31
- Singer Senior Six 1600 cc 1927-30
- Singer Super Six 1920 cc 1930-31
- Singer Junior 850 cc 1927-35
- Singer Nine 970 cc 1933-37
- Singer 1 1/2 litre 1500 cc 1933-37
- Bantam 970 cc 1936-40
- Singer Twelve 1500 cc 1937-39
- Singer Ten 1200 cc 1938-49
- 4A Roadster 1074 cc 1949-1951
- SM1500 1500 cc 1948-54
- 4AD Roadster 1497 cc 1951-1955
- Hunter 1500 cc 1954-56
- Gazelle I 1500 cc (Singer engine) 1956-57
- Gazelle II 1500 cc (Singer engine) 1957-58
- Gazelle IIA 1500 cc (Rootes engine from now on) 1958
- Gazelle III 1500 cc 1958-59
- Gazelle IIIA1500 cc 1959-60
- Gazelle IIIB 1500 cc 1960-61
- Gazelle IIIC 1600 cc 1961-63
- Gazelle V 1600 cc 1963-65
- Gazelle VI 1725 cc 1965-67
- New Gazelle 1725 cc 1967-70
- Vogue I 1600 cc 1961-62
- Vogue II 1600 cc 1963-64
- Vogue III 1600 cc 1964-65
- Vogue IV 1725 cc 1965-66
- New Vogue 1725 cc 1966-70
- Chamois 875 cc 1965-70
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Anne Pimlott Baker, Bullock, William Edward (1877–1968), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
- "Advertisement for Singer bicycles and motor cycles, 1901.". Science & Society Picture Library. Retrieved on 2011-06-06.
- De Cet, Mirco (2005). in Quentin Daniel: The Complete Encyclopedia of Classic Motorcycles (in English). Rebo International. ISBN 13: 978-90-366-1497-9.
- "Singer". Retrieved on 2009-01-03.
- "Brief History of the Marque: Singer". Retrieved on 2009-01-03.
[edit | edit source]
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