THE 1-‘ LITRE SINGER 2
A SMALL SPORTS CAR WHICH COVERS THE GROUND IN CONVINCING FASHION.
WAS the first 14-litre Singer prod-need with a view to successful participation in trials, or was it just that the standard car was built first and later made its name in this direction ? We confess we have forgotten, but certain it is that both the Nine and the larger car have made excellent showings in the various competitions for which they have been entered, while the success of the marque at Le Mans in 1934 and in the Figure of Eight test at Monte Carlo this year shows that they retain their snappy performance over long periods of strc.:nuous work. Success in trials calls for a short, compact car, and the Singer scores in this respect, but it hardly seemed the ideal car for a day’s fast motoring in the rain. However, those were the conditions on the day appointed for the test ; so we were relieved to find that under the close-fitting hood there was an unexpected amount of room. A six-foot driver can see out of the screen without having to stoop, and with the efficient side-curtains in position the passengers still have plenty of room. The back of the hood is held in position by press studs and can therefore be opened for ventilation purposes. The front mudguards were unusually efficient, and one could drive with the side-curtains removed without having One’s outside arm smothered in mud-spray. One advantage of testing a car with the hood raised is that unpleasant noises from the exhaust and other parts are quickly revealed, but the Singer gave no trouble in this respect. The exhaust note is pleasantly subdued, the engine runs quietly, while the gears though not
silent are not on the other hand prominent. This quiet running is a real asset on a long journey, and when at last we were able to lower the hood we found that this trait quite upset our judgment of
the car’s speed, which we had placed before we had consulted the speedometer, at 10 to 15 m.p.h. slower than it actually was.
Negotiating slippery tramlines or running at full throttle on main roads, the Singer is essentially a safe car. The steering takes the car exactly where the driver wants it and is light yet high geared and arranged to have a useful caster action. The hydraulic brakes were light but also progressive in action, and could be freely used even on a slippery surface. On damp tarmac we were able to pull up smoothly in 60 feet from 40 m.p.h., and on a dry surface this distance would
naturally be considerably reduced. With a car of this type, long journeys can be reeled off with a maximum of pleasure to the owner. We are not aware
of the power developed by the 14-litre engine, but it must be very considerable. in proportion to the weight, for on the average main road the car will run on top gear for as long as the driver wishes. Third is an unusually close ratio and a drop down gives a speed of nearly 70 m.p.h., so there is no excuse for not putting up a good average. Owing to the short wheelbase, bends and sharp corners are taken almost without thinking, and a rather winding main road we are accustomed to use when testing the handle of the normal sports car impeded the Singer not at all. A single setting of the shock-absorbers proved satisfactory for all conditions, there was no rolling on corners, and the
springs dealt adequately with all conditions from full speed to traffic crawling. Another good feature was the absence of pitch on corrugated surfaces. Unfortunately we did not have the car long enough to try it over any of the well-known trial hills, but were well pleased with its behaviour on muddy lanes and similar rough going. Even on slippery
clay we had no difficulty in keeping control, and the engine pulled strongly at low speed on second gear without provoking wheel-spin. The maximum speed obtained on the level, 77 m.p.h., was three or four miles short of the maximum speed guaranteed by the makers, and this we attribute to the use of slightly unsuitable plugs, or possibly an accumulation of carbon, as the engine continued to run after a long period of driving with the ignition switched off, a rather obscure fault because it only happened occasionally. The engine runs smoothly up to 5,500 r.p.m., giving a speed of 70 m.p.h. on third and 45 on second. The gear change between top and third was very quick, so much so that we found difficulty at first in making a silent change at low speeds. Third to second was slower, while bottom is quite widely spaced and intended as an emergency ratio. The gear-change needed a fair amount of practise before,one could guarantee perfect changes in all ratios, but this may have been due to the clutch being slightly out of adjustment. The gear lever is mounted on a remote-control bracket which brings it conveniently under the driver’s left hand. The steering wheel and the pedals are conveniently placed, and there is plenty of room for one’s feet. Both front wings are visible, and the driving position commends itself, though a more vertical seat back would be preferred by those who like to sit upright
at the wheel. The hand-brake lever is sturdy and well placed, and has a racing ratchet which engages only when a button on the top of the lever is pressed.
The car is well equipped, and all fittings are of a practical nature which appeal equally strongly to the trials driver and the ordinary owner. The dashboard equipment is comprehensive and includes large rev-counter and speedometer, water temperature and
oil temperature guages, as well as the usual oil pressure and charging indicators. The lamps, which allow a speed of some 70 m.p.h. to be kept up after dark, are controlled from the centre of the steering wheel, and a fog light is also fitted. Two spare wheels slung in firmly built carriers at the rear of the car commend themselves to those who want to use” comps,”
while other useful items are the quick filler caps and neat under-bonnet tool boxes. The body is built on the same practical lines with clean sides and a smooth under neath not likely to be damaged when the car is taken over rough going. The car is, of course, intended to be only a two-seater, which makes it easy to allow
ample leg room for the two seats. Behind the seats is a space into which the hood irons hinge. The hood fabric also drops into it, and the tonneau cover, while a small suit case or parcels can also be accommodated there. A substantial luggage grid, suitable for more bulky packages, is fitted above the petrol tank. The six-cylinder engine follows current Singer design in having a single overhead camshaft chain driven from the front end, the cylinder head and block being each made of cast iron. 14 mm. plugs
are used, screwing into recesses in the side of the head. Ignition is by Scintilla magneto controlled by a Bowden lever mounted on the steering column. Three
S.U. carburettors are used, fed by an electric pump from the rear tank. This has a capacity of 15 gallons, part of which is a reserve supply made available by switching over a tap mounted on top, and which gives a cruising radius of over 300 miles. The fuel advised is Pratt’s Ethyl, or similar high-octane spirit. The sump holds nearly two gallons of oil, which should be an assurance against trouble in the bearing department. The crank-shaft runs in four main whitemetal bearings, and plain bearings are also used for the big-ends.
The engine and gear-box are built up into one unit, and are rubber-mounted. A single plate clutch is used, and second and third gears have constant meshpinions. The rest of the transmission follows conventional lines, with an open propeller shaft with two universal joints and a bevel driven back-axle.
The chassis is upswept, front and rear, half elliptic springs are used all round, with friction type shock absorbers. The Lockheed hydraulic brakes operate in ribbed 13-inch drums, while the 74-inch ground clearance in conjunction with the short wheel base should make the car capable of taking part in the most ” Colonial ” of trials without any part of it grounding.
By concentrating on a short two-seater car propelled by an efficient engine of moderate capacity, the Singer Company have succeeded in providing high performance and a safe and roadworthy vehicle without departing radically from well-established lines. It is a car that the sporting enthusiast and the fast tourist will want to try and buy.