A Very Fast Unblown Eleven-Hundred Some Notes on the Singer Nine Single-Seater developed for Hodges by Alec Francis
ATabout the time Donington opened Hodge ran there very successfully with an outwardly normal ” Le Mans ” Singer Nine 2-seater, prepared by A. Francis. So successful was he that Hodges, a fellow J.R.D.C. member, decided to let Francis build him a singleseater on the same chassis. This car, based in outline on Widengren’a Hour Record Amilear Six which Francis also prepared, was originally intended to be supercharged, but a blower never materialised. This naturally restricted the ultimate performance but, notwithstanding, the Singer is said to have lapped Brooklands at around 96 m.p.h., a very Creditable performance indeed. The chassis was loWered, the clearance between front axle and frame being a mere 1 in., which allowed a wheel move!Tient of about 2 in., while the rear axle was allowed about 3 in. rise and fall, rubber buffers being used to prevent the axles hammering the side-members. Castor action was increased by fitting aluminium-alloy blocks, tapered i in. to h in., beneath the spring pads. The spring leaves were very carefully beddedin and then cord-bound and taped. A slightly higher axle ratio than standard was used in view of the intention of ii t ii ng a supercharger. The gearbox was given close-ratio gears and an ingenious device We have received some very interesting material from Alec Francis, whose career we touched upon in “Rumblings” last month, dealing with his hotting-up methods in general, with particular reference to Hodges’s single-seater Singer. We have decided that this matter is better split in two, and the following notes deal with the Singer, which was an extremely potent car for its size, being capable of lapping at around 96 m.p.h. although handicapped by having an engine intended to be supercharged but which was normally aspirated. The tuning tips will follow
in a later issue.—Ed. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • enabled the layshaft to be disengaged when in top gear—a method of reducing drag used in earlier times by Cushman on his 200-Mile Race Bugatti. A remote gear-change was used, and the steering column was lowered and raked towards the centre of the chassis, the elutch pedal being bent to clear it ; the clutch itself was quite standard. A special crankshaft, with full balance weights for each throw, was used, and the con.-rods, of 100-ton, KE 805 steel, were of special design, with cooling fins on the big-end caps. The gudgeon pins were also of heattreated 100-ton steel, and heavy pistons, intended to dissipate heat in blown form, rather detracted from the performance in unsupercharged guise. The compression-ratio was 8 to I, obtained by
machining about in. or in. off the head, a limit being imposed by the dometop pistons and the location of the plugs. Increased oil pressure was obtained by using new gears in the pump, A in. wider than standard, a packing piece making up space in the pump body. Feed was via an external cooler and filter, the former beneath the water radiator. An airbleed from the crankcase to the induction pipe provided a measure of upper cylinder lubrication, a tap being fitted in the pipeline. The body consisted of I in. by * in. aluminium T-seetion strips and runners covered with sheet metal. The radiator was inclined and lowered and co wled-in and the tail was separate, so that a short one could be used for road races and a longer one at the Track. The body alone gave a speed increase of 6 or 7 m.p.h. The car had been built to give 100 m.p.h. in blown form and, considering that its crankshaft, connecting rods and pistons had a safety factor to suit and the camshaft gave a valve timing intended for forced induction, the single-seater Singer’s performance in unsupereharged form was most encouraging and should inspire others.