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Modern Hot Rod: 1948 Singer Roadster

The old-school hot rod was born in the aftermath of World War II from the union of powerful engines and lightweight bodies of obsolete machines. And it is in this context that this 1948 Singer Roadster might be best understood. Currently located in Winchester, Kentucky, the car is listed here on Facebook Marketplace for $4,800. Many thanks to Chuck Foster for the tip!

The Singer Roadster was a pre-war design. Production had barely begun when Britain transitioned to wartime manufacturing in 1939. After the war, the design received very little revision, giving the small car a distinct 1930’s appearance. The body is aluminum on wood– ash, to be exact, much like the Morgan. Aluminum is easily dented, though, so the fenders and hood were steel. The car was equipped with an inline four cylinder engine producing 36 horsepower and a four speed gearbox. Brakes were a mix of hydraulic and mechanical systems.

Much of that is gone. In fact, I’d not be surprised to find little left of the original car outside the bodywork. The seller reports a 4.3L Chevy V6 now lives under the hood. These engines start out making 155 hp; there’s no telling what the one in this little roadster might put out. That power travels through a Turbo 350 to a 9 inch Ford rear end. The front end has been replaced with that of a Mustang 2. What this sort of power and torque will do when paired with a body that might be lighter than my sofa is anyone’s guess, but it’s almost certainly going to be remarkable.

So, to recap: lightweight body from an obsolete machine? Check. Much more powerful engine than what was originally in said machine? Double check. Safety equipment? Not on the original list, so don’t worry about it. Definitely a hot rod, then. Unfortunately, it suffers from the same drawback inherent in any custom project: you can build your dream car, but it’s your dream, and not necessarily anyone else’s. For the right buyer, whose tastes, temperament, and vision align with those of the original builder, this car can offer a truly unique driving experience. Whether that’s unique in the sense of “unlike anything else” or in the sense of “you only get to do it once” is another question.


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Obviously maintenance isn’t the owner’s big interest with open holes in the engine, dirt everywhere, left door sagging (didn’t even use a new rope) etc. Only good thing I see is the metal work on the tunnel. Not sure this one is worth anywhere near the asking price if anything at all.

    Like 5
  2. Chris Eddy

    What an horrific Frankenstein of a ‘car’ – just dig a hole and push it in ……….

    Like 5
  3. Chris

    This monstrosity should be pushed into a hole and buried alive ….

    Like 1
  4. Morley Brown Member

    You guys are nuts. This a great car European flavour and American reliability. RThis is how Shelby and many others started. This just needs a little more work, I wanted it The lister should call me. mprimrosehill@rogers.com Morley

    Like 3
  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    I don’t object to modifying the car as much as I object to letting it turn itself into a rusty, dirty piece of junk. This thing is rough and will take tons of work and money to bring it up to any “hot rod” standard. Too bad.

    Like 2
  6. Wayne

    Living in the Reno area, means to me (the ultimate gear head) Hot August Nights. (10 days of hot rods and rock and roll) If you have never heard of it, just google it. Anyway, while attending the swap meet the first year. I was cruising down one of the isles and saw an older man digging through a 5 gallon plastic bucket of transmission gears. He stopped, looked one over for a couple of minutes and dug a digital caliper out of his pocket and kept measuring and measuring. He stood up with part in his hand and he was visually shaking. He asked the vendor how much while his voice was cracking and a tear was running down his face. The vendor asked what was the gear for and how long had he been looking for one. The old man said that he had been looking for 8 years and it was for his Singer. The vendor said to take it, no charge. The old gentleman left walking like a teenager with quite a bounce in his step. Unfortunately, the H.A.N.’s swap meet is no longer that great. (some years are good while others are not) BUT, the cars get better every year!

    Like 3
  7. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    If I was up to tackling this car, since it’s of English heritage, I’d pull the engine/trans and install an older carbureted Rover 3.5 V8, and switch manifold and carb to the Buick 215 4 barrel setup. Since I can’t do it myself, I’m hoping that someone else who can, buys it and does this easy swap. Finding older non-injected Rover 3.5 liter V8s in running/driving condition is fairly easy.

    Like 0

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