WHEN the new ” Nine ” Sports model was shown on the Singer stand at Olympia last October it was the subject of a good deal of favourable comment. But without knowledge of the car’s behaviour on the road such praise was naturally confined to its external appearance, and to the remarkably good finish of the coachwork for its modest price of £185. Then, as the Trials Season ‘began, and one or two of the new models unobtrusively collected a few ” premiers,” the performance of the Singer Sports became a regular topic of conversation whenever a few sporting enthusiasts met. The ” Gloucester” provided their first big success, with five premier awards and one bronze, and this was quickly followed by the “Exeter,” in which Singers scored eight premiers out of a possible ten.

And so the Singer Nine Sports model has come into its own, and judging by the ever increasing number seen on the road, it seems likely to become one of the most popular small sports cars on the market. It well deserves to be, for we recently spent a very enjoyable week-end with one of the type, and found it a most adaptable vehicle, being equally at home on the roughest trials tracks and on fast main roads. Collecting the car from the Wembley Service Depot of the Singer Company, and making our way through London to the South, we were immediately impressed by the easy handling of the car in traffic. The Singer is a car with which the driver feels at home from the first time he lets in the clutch to get away. The clutch is dead smooth, the gear change—with remote control—absolutely fool-proof, and the steering light and positive, and possessing an ample lock. Our only criticism of the controls was that the accelerator pedal required rather more vertical depression than is usual, tending to open the throttle jerkily if the pedal was moved

by a forward motion of the driver’s foot. A minor criticism, however. In order to see for ourselves how the

Singer behaved on typical trials hills we set off for Dorsetshire, via Guildford, Stockbridge and Salisbury. Local fog and stretches of ice-bound road made prolonged high average speeds impossible, but we found that the car could keep up an effortless 52 m.p.h. cruising speed. This figure is its genuine gait, the speedometer being about 4 m.p.h. fast at 50 m.p.h. As will be seen from the accompanying graph, the acceleration up to this speed is quite brisk, but beyond this point the car naturally takes more time to gather speed. 60 m.p.h. can be reached on any fair stretch of road, 65 m.p.h. is about the absolute maximum on the level, while on one occasion, under ” favourable ” (i.e., downhill) conditions, we got the speedometer round to 72 m.p.h. For a 9 h.p. car which is not tuned up to the slightest degree of intractibility these figures are very good. A praiseworthy feature is the complete smoothness of the engine, both while accelerating from a crawl on top gear and at its maximum of about 5,000 r.p.m. There is a slight ” period ” at 2,700 r.p.m. which is quickly passed, for with its easy gear change the driver will generally use his gears for attaining his cruising speed, and on second and third the engine accelerates quickly, so that the “period” is not noticeable.

As a matter of personal taste we found the exhaust note a little too loud, a point of which some would doubtless approve. While admitting the pleasantness of its clear crackle for short periods, we feel that a more subdued note would be welcome on long runs. Near Blandford we tried to take a short cut to Ibberton Hill, but got hopelessly lost up a narrow lane which finally degenerated, miles from anywhere, in a foot-deep morass. Retracing our wheel tracks a little way, we tried another lane to the right, which, although dry, was composed of two deep ruts, and caused us some anxiety as to the welfare of the

lower parts of the car’s anatomy. The Singer, while being low built, possesses adequate ground clearance, and so we regained the main road at last without damage.

A Ford van parked just below the first bend of Ibberton brought us almost to a standstill, and forced us to take the inside and, therefore, steepest part of the bend, but the Singer never faltered, and gave one the impression that it would pull quite comfortably up the side of a house. Meerhay, likewise, was surmounted without the slightest effort, there being a plentiful reserve of power in hand, so that for trials hills we formed the opinion that it would be difficult to find a more suitable car. The Lockheed brakes are fully up to their work. Back to London, via Bournemouth, the Singer ” Nine proved itself to be a I

most comfortable vehicle. The Rotax headlamps give a splendid driving light, and the dipping device is operated easily by a control on the steering wheel quadrant. The driving position has been carefully thought out, all the controls being to hand, notably the hand brake (a useful item for stop and restart tests), and the restful Ashby ” Brooklands ” steering wheel. The dashboard is at an angle, which facilitates reading the instruments among which are a large dial Jaeger speedometer and rev, counter, but rather impedes entry and egress to and from the front seats. The seats themselves are extremely comfortable, and support the back fully. The windscreen can be folded flat, if desired, and a neat form of clipjoint hood is fitted which, however, did not meet entirely with our approval, being difficult to fold and also to attach to the screen. The body finish is extraordinarily good, giving an impression of solidity and strength combined with good finish. Rudge-Whitworth wheels with self locking hubs are used, and the springing is assisted by Hartford shock absorbers. Incidentally the suspension was good, being steady at high speed without harshness when travelling slowly.

The rear compartment contains room for two passengers for occasional use, who on the model tested sat rather high, and were therefore rather exposed to the weather. Footwells provide ample leg room, and with the hood raised, rear passengers would no doubt be comfortable enough for a longish journey.

Summing up, the Singer” Nine ” Sports model may be cited as an outstanding example of the amazing revolution in sports car values which has taken place during the last few years. It has a brisk and flexible performance ; its engine is smooth and its gearbox and transmission quiet ; its body is comfortable (albeit rather difficult to enter) and its springing, steering and suspension all of a high order. A few years ago such a car would have cost double the price asked for the Singer “Nine.” At £185 it is wonderful value.