Stored For 55 Years! 1951 Singer Roadster

You’d be forgiven if you thought this little British roadster was an MG — at least by anyone that isn’t a Singer enthusiast! Cue the sewing machine jokes too! This project car is located in Thomson, Georgia and is being auctioned here on eBay, where bidding is starting at $1,000 and there’s no reserve!

The seller tells us that their father purchased the car in 1963 and stored it after covering less than 100 miles. It’s actually showing less than 8,000 miles although who knows how accurate that reading is. The body does look exceptionally solid and at least part of it is aluminum (I found some conflicting research on the fenders being steel or not).

In profile, the car could be accused of being a little dumpier than an MG, but it does have the benefit of rear seats, albeit small ones. I’m surprised the tires hold air and again, overall the car does appear to be in very solid condition.

The floor appears intact as well, but I wouldn’t count on that. While the seats have apparently been redone, if you can get past the crooked application of upholstery tacks you can probably leave them in there as-is. I’m hoping that the general lack of mold and mildew mean that the car was stored pretty well, although the rust on the grille might make one doubt it.

Here’s a finished Singer courtesy of automuseumonline.com so that you know how cute one of these cars can be! Would you like to make this little 1.5-liter roadster yours?

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Comments

  1. RoughDiamond

    What a neat little automobile. I can envision myself behind the wheel of this more or less open cockpit Singer cruising along with my Ray Bans on and the sun bouncing off my bald head. That vision is quickly shattered though when I remember all the of the local drivers I’ve seen with their cell phones to their ear.

    Like 6
  2. canadainmarkseh Member

    First of all what’s wrong with singers I’ve had an open arm singer for almost 40 years and it still going strong. My son is a multiple amputee and alter his clothes for him with my trusty singer. As for the car very cool I wouldn’t worry about those cell phone drivers if I did that I wouldn’t be on a sidecar goldwing. This car would be great for a restomod I’d put a 22r Toyota engine in it and back that up with an SR 5 transmission. I’d mod the back a bit and get rid of the back seat I’d resphape the back and bring the body up to the rear seats, then I’d redo the vert top to fit the new body lines. I’d finish off by painting it British racing green with black fenders. Great find.

    Like 6
    • ken TILLY Member

      That seems like a dumb idea, after all everything is there to bring it back to standard and there can’t be many of them left in the USA so it would be the talk of the town at any classic vehicle gathering.

      Like 8
      • canadainmarkseh Member

        I don’t think so I’d want a driver not some oil leaking under powered British four cylinder that breaks down and you have to hunt for parts. Now before you say go get a Toyota then. I’d have to say great idea. Ken haven’t you figured out by now that most of us are speaking hypothetically and have no real intentions of buying these cars. Look at how many of us post regularly and compare that to the number of cars that are posted. A Toyota engine in this would be fantastic nice power to weight ratio without sacrificing handling. JMO.

        Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey

      The Singer Sewing Machine Co & the Singer Automobile Co are separate organizations with only the name in common. Issac Singer was the man behind the sewing machine company, George Singer began with bicycles, then cars starting in 1901.

      Like 4
      • Bob Morris

        Glad to read Bill’s clarification. The Singer car history is fascinating. They were bought by Morris Motors in the early 1950’s and you see the design influence from the MG.

        Like 1
      • Göran Lundberg

        And then there’s the Nobel prize winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer – although rumour has it he usually drove smaller, unsignificant cars such as Corollas…

  3. Steve A

    I LOVE IT!!!! Most definitely will be keeping an eye on this one! Bidding has gone up a little bit but I’ll be there for when it ends. Be nice to get it running again but I’m sure a more modern drivetrain could be fitted if it proves to be a money pit or even parts availability is null. Sure can’t weigh much! LOL

    Like 4
  4. Dave Wright

    I have owned and rebuilt a couple of these…….SM Roadsters. Interesting little cars built in the traditional English style. The orignal overhead cam engine was unique for an inexpensive English car at the time. Brakes are awful being hydraulic in the front and mechanical in the rear connected by a complicated rod system. The pre-war Singers were the class of the marque…….. competing and winning many major races in Europe. The first one I bought was sitting on the top of a scrap metal mountain in an Elko Nevada scrap yard. At first, I thought it might be a flat radiator Morgan. The engine design is a forerunner of things to come but not really robust. There is a very active welcoming club of enthusiasts in the UK. The post war cars have never lived up to the pre-war heritage or value….nevertheless a fun little car if it can be purchased inexpensivly.

    Like 5
  5. Dave Wright

    As I remember, the grill slats were painted and the outside shell was the cheapest possible chrome……have never seen one that isn’t either refinished or looking like this one. This chassis would be scary with much power installed. I think a MG 1500 4 cyl would be about the end of the world. The orignal engine is something like 38HP so the MG would be a big improvement. Over 50 mph, you will be looking for an anchor or parachute to deploy to stop it.

    Like 4
  6. hhaleblian

    Wow! This Singer just rattled the memory cage. My Uncle Berge took my sister and I to Coney Island in his Singer in the early 60’s. Every two years my parents would trek the four of us from Chicago to Flushing NY to visit my grandparents for two very long weeks. They would all speak Armenian, we wouldn’t go anywhere, then Prince Uncle Berge would show up. He was the Armenian Pied Piper and get us out of Dodge. Speaking of Mopar, he had a 1955ish hemi and later on a 64 or 65 455 Vista Cruiser that my cousin Steve and I would take out and roast the tires.

    Like 3
  7. luke arnott Member

    I had one of these 50 years ago.The engine was stuck and parts then were scarce.I sold it to a guy who put an Austin A40 lump in it.Singers were made in Coventry and became part of the Rootes Group in the 50’s.I also had a 1935 Le Mans which I paid £65 for in 1970!

    Like 1
    • Dave Wright

      That 35 Le Mans is worth a few bucks today. I always enjoy reading Bill McCoskey’s post………he is a real expert.unlike most of the rest of us…….look him up. Impressive member of our group.

      Like 1
      • Bill McCoskey

        Awww, gee, thanks Dave! My girlfriend likes to tell people I’m full of useless information, sometimes she simply tells them I’m full of it!

        Like 1
  8. Bill McCoskey

    An interesting twist to the history of the Singer automobile is that in the beginning of car production, George Singer had an apprentice with the last name of Nuffield. Decades later, his organization, [a smaller version of G.M. for England, but no connection to GM] ended up buying Singer, and the Nuffield Organization was finally bought by Chrysler UK.

    Like 3
  9. luke arnott Member

    Singer was bought by the Rootes Group,who also owned Humber and Hillman,amongst others.The factory was at Ryton on Dunsmore,near Coventry and was later sold to Chrysler,who in turn sold it to Peugot.When they stopped UK production,the site was demolished and is now a big logistics park.

    Like 4
  10. Little_Cars Little Cars Member

    I had an opportunity to buy either a used English Ford or a Rootes Group vehicle (can’t recall if Hillman or Singer) off the back of a “tote the note” car lot sometime in the 1970s. I opted for the Ford, as everything about the Rootes vehicle screamed unobtainable. The English Ford was nothing but trouble and within weeks I was scouring Hemmings for another inexpensive Hillman, Singer or Humber. There were few sources for parts but not on a high school budget.

    • Will Owen Member

      The Rootes cars are not bulletproof, but a lot hardier than the older Fords. I’ve had three Hillman Huskys – the two-door wagon on whose platform the Alpine was built – and would be a total pushover for another one, even at the risk of domestic turmoil. Oddly enough even more fun as a “slow car driven fast” than any of my Minis, probably because they need some technique beyond just getting on the gas and steering. Sweetest gear change of any cheap car I know.

      Like 1
  11. Wrong Way

    OMW, I am in love! I would love to have this car, alas tho my son would freak! I have to many cars now, I have always wanted a little British roadster! This car after I had everything redone on would satisfie my apatite for the rest of my life! I wished so much I could just get a better look at it!

    Like 3
  12. Will Owen Member

    During the 1930s there were quite a few British cars with single OHC engines, a design not much more expensive to make than one with pushrod overhead valves. The usual handy feature was using the nose of the camshaft to drive something else, such as the oil pump or distributor. Morris had one that was shared with MG, for instance, which ended with the OHV T Series. Singer simply kept theirs in production until they went to the Nuffield Group, I’m sure for economy’s sake. Apparently this engine was not as “hoppable” as the MG XPAG, or the later BMC A-Series, though some American drivers managed to beat an MG now and then. I do remember seeing a very few of these back in the Fifties, and thinking how gawky they looked with the radiator hanging out so far forward. I was a snobby kid even back then …

    Like 3
  13. plwindish

    The motor was most like the size of an old Singer sewing machine! Wonder how many were made. Saw a couple of Anglia’s this past summer in a private collection, one with the motor out and on a stand. Its motor was no bigger than a sewing machine.

    Like 1
  14. Will Owen Member

    The Anglia flathead engines may be underpowered, but at least they’re flimsy too! Classic & Sports Car Magazine did one of their Classic-advisory articles on the little side-valve Fords, and the rebuild interval was something ridiculously short, maybe two or three thousand miles. I had a ’58 Squire wagon that had some real charm and major shortcomings, most notably the 3-speed trans with granny low, near-granny second and what felt like overdrive third … and I was living in the mountains! The starter and ring gear would foul now and then and I’d unstick them with the hand crank (sorry, should say Starting Handle), until the day there was a loud SPONG! and the crankshaft broke!

    Like 1
  15. luke arnott Member

    Sorry guys,
    Singer were NEVER anything ting to do with Lord Nuffield, that was Austin, later BMC,later Rover Group.

    Like 2
  16. luke arnott Member

    See above

  17. Bill McCoskey

    Luke,

    Thanks for catching that, my memory ain’t what it used to be. George Singer’s apprentice was not Nuffield, but Billy Rootes, who went on to found the Rootes group. Rootes took over Singer about 1956 if I remember correctly.

    Like 2
    • Will Owen Member

      And I got sucked into the creek here and forgot that Singer and Hillman and Sunbeam were Rootes marques. Duh!!

      Like 1
  18. Chinga-Trailer

    Inspiration for the Siata Spring Fiat 850??

    Like 1
    • Will Owen Member

      You’d think, wouldn’t you? I’m afraid the sad fact is that both cars just came out looking that way because that’s what happens when you need this much car and have just that much wheelbase … without the resources to extend it. At least Singer could have ditched the back seats and pulled the front back a bit.

      Like 1
  19. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    cool……..

    Like 1
  20. Little_Cars Little Cars Member

    I can’t help it, but that front shot of the car with rusty grille and oddly extended hood makes me think of this tin toy from the same time period. This is what the Japanese call an MG toy replica…..the mfg even added a covered back seat to give it that Singer pizzazz. :)

  21. Bob Morris

    I’m amazed of how many responders want to modify this Singer. If you don’t accept that it was designed and built in the early 1950’s why bother to make some ridiculous statement like stuffing a Toyota engine etc. into it. When you buy and restore a classic car you appreciate the period of time it was built with all the lack of modern engineering technology. If you don’t like the car why respond?

    Like 3
    • ken TILLY Member

      My thoughts exactly. Well said Bob.

      Like 1
    • Wrong Way

      I totally agree with you! I have been sitting back and observing the comments myself and that takes the enjoyment out of it! I would love to have it! I would have to go through everything and bring things up to show car standards tho! Including the original power supply! That’s the enjoyment for myself and my son! All I can say is my son said firmly NO! LOL, it’s funny how when you get old the roles gradually reverse! LMAO, I am not really complaining I actually appreciate him involving me in their lives and hovering over me! :-) ! Have a great day!

      Like 1
  22. ken TILLY Member

    @canadainmarkseh. Yes Mark. It’s obvious that most of us are speaking hypothetically and have no real intentions of buying these cars, however, a lot of other people (possible buyers) read these comments and surely we should try and get them to restore them to as near as original as possible. This little Singer appears to have most of the original parts to restore it to the specs that it had when leaving the factory so many years ago so shouldn’t be too difficult a restoration.

    Like 1
  23. Singerowner

    I own four pre-war Singers presently and have owned and restored another four post-war Roadsters. I’ve been a Marque enthusiast for over 40 years.
    This 4AD is in exceptionally original condition and deserves a full restoration. They are indeed rare in this state of preservation. If you want to stuff a Toyota engine in it, go and find an engine-less wreck rather then ruining a rare and complete car!
    As mentioned previously, Issac Singer of sewing machine fame and George Singer of bicycle fame had nothing to do with each other. The only tenuous link would be that George Singer did his apprenticeship at Coventry Machinists, who did make sewing machines. The curved safety fork that we take for granted on every modern bike was a Singer innovation.
    There are about ten Singer clubs in the world with the two largest being in the UK; the SOC and ASCO. There is one club in North America called NASOC. Spares and knowledge support is much better than you’d expect and cars like this 4AD did well in sports car racing in the 1950’s in spite of not looking quite so racy as the MG opposition. Although the earlier 1074cc OHC engine was regarded as a bit weedy, the 1500cc engine could be tuned and produced good results. Standard output was more like 50 – 54HP depending on single or twin carbs. Good enough for HRG to put in their cars as well. A DOHC version was developed with HRG for use in the Singer Hunter saloon, but the company take-over by ROOTES put paid to that. Singer never had anything to do with Nuffield or Morris – that was MG, who were taken over long before Singer.
    Billy Rootes was indeed an apprentice at ‘The Singer’, who had large factories in both Birmingham and Coventry.
    Bamford & Martin also sold Singers and Lionel Martin’s first specials, which ran at the Aston hill climb formed the basis of the embryonic Aston-Martin brand.
    Singer is also the only British Marque to win an Olympic gold medal in a rally staged as part of the 1936 event. Hitler expected the Germans to dominate, but it was won by a Singer and driven by a woman, well-known racer Betty Haig.
    Singers of any kind draw a crowd at car shows and enjoy a very loyal following amongst those who own them.
    NASOC would be happy to support the new owner of this car and help with the restoration it deserves…

  24. Michael Osher

    Back in the late 50’s early 60’s these were sold by Montgomery Wards in So. Cal.

  25. Singerowner

    Hey Michael, I’d be very interested to learn more about the Mongomery-Ward connection, especially if there is any documentation, advertising, or photos to support.
    The main distributor on the west coast was Vaughan-Singer Motors in L.A, who had their main offices in New York. Fergus Motors, also in New York sold the cars as well. Most Singers in the USA would have come from either of those two
    Once the deal with Vaughan fell through in the USA, Knowles & Foster in Canada became the North American distributor. Pre-War, it was Revecombe Motors in BC, Canada. My 1936 Singer Le Mans SS was sold new by Revecombe to a lady in San Diego.
    Since you mention the late ’50’s and early 60’s, this must have been after the Rootes take-over and the cars being sold would have been the Hillman-based Singer Gazelle. This began life with the trusty Singer OHC engine, but that was soon replaced with a Rootes OHV engine. The last badge-engineered Rootes Singer rolled off the line in 1970.

  26. Little_Cars Little Cars Member

    Singerowner—maybe he’s talking about the sewing machines? I am not aware of them being sold by M-W either.

  27. Singerowner

    Hey ‘Little Cars’…lol..maybe! You never know though: in the 1930’s the Austin Seven was sold in Montreal through the Ogilvy’s department store!

  28. Little_Cars Little Cars Member

    And let us not forget Henry J Kaiser’s creation being rebadged for Sears & Roebuck as the Allstate.

  29. Chinga-Trailer

    And Sears sold Henry J’s branded as Allstates. In the 1960’s Malcom Bricklin arranged for Subaru 360’s to be sold through hardware stores and gas stations.

  30. Metoo

    Is that a DIY unfinished wood dashboard I see?

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