What’s Our 1952 Singer Worth?

Our Singer A4D

So we’ve had fun cruising around in our little Singer Hot Rod, but we just bought something that might be a bit more fitting for Barn Finds and we need to make room. Could we keep the Singer? Of course, but we’ve had our fun with it and would rather see it go to a new home where it will get the attention and use it deserves! When we bought it we had no clue what it might be worth, but we wanted to see it back on the road so we took a gamble. It isn’t like any other Singer we’ve ever seen (not that we’ve seen many), as it has an upgraded Volvo B18 engine and drivetrain! We could just throw it on eBay and see what it goes for, but we thought it would be more interesting to see what you guys think it might be worth first!

Singer A4D Ornament

If you know your Singers, you can tell this one hasn’t just been upgraded mechanically, it has had exterior modifications done to it as well. While I would prefer most cars in their original form, this one actually looks quite striking and gets a ton of attention. On our first journey out we actually had several people confuse it for a Morgan. It’s has so much presence that even motorcyclists gave us “the wave”! From what we can tell, many of the modifications are reversible, but will require paint work to rectify. Since the Volvo engine is already in place and running, I would just leave the body alone and focus on making the interior more comfortable. It will also need electrical work, as it lacks turn signals and the brake lights. The engine, transmission, and differential all work well, but the dual Weber carburetors will likely need rebuilt and tuned as the engine is running rich. It leaves a few oil spots on the garage floor, but nothing serious or out of the ordinary for a 60 year old British roadster.

Overall, this little hot rod drives quite well. It has loads of power, but isn’t so high-strung that it cant be driven at low speeds. Handling is surprisingly tight and agile, but the aluminum over ash body is also extremely lightweight so I’m sure that helps. Braking is also quite impressive, but from what we can tell the brakes have been upgraded with Volvo components as well. We haven’t timed it, but this machine gets up and goes better than any ’50s car either of us has ever driven and it can easily keep up with modern traffic. Restored SM Roadster don’t come to market all that often, but when they do they typically go for around $10k-$15k. Ours hasn’t been restored though and the modifications can either be looked at as a blessing or a curse. So what do you think would be a reasonable price for us to ask for our Volinger (or is that Sinvo)? Also be sure to check out our Drive Gallery here for more photos and videos!

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Comments

  1. Clay Bryant

    Don’t know what it sounds like but rode in one out in California 2 years ago with an original engine and(it might have just been that one) it reminded me of years ago of puttin’ the throttle to a J3 Piper Cub when we took off.Keep the Volvo,can’t sound that bad.Max out the body.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      With dual Webers, the Volvo engine sounds great! Checkout the video about for a little sample.

      • Brian

        I know it has been a while but do you still have this car? I am interested.

      • Josh Staff

        Hi Brian,
        We actually sold the Singer awhile back. I believe it went to California, but I can’t remember.
        Sorry!
        Josh

  2. Robert R. Member

    8.5k-10k?

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      I’m predicting much less, but you never know. With a little work it could be quite the little racer!

  3. david

    yes thars the one

  4. jim s

    you should give us at least a clue on the vehicle you just bought. right now BF has a b gt as a daily driver, a not yet ready for prime time spirtfire, a fiat 124 in out of state storage, a rx8 with a drinking problem, a new vehicle, and this. writers with 11 british cars, more then 1 bmw and race cars. plus how many more vehicles we do not know about. how big is the garage?

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      We’re announcing it in the morning! You make us sound time big time Jim! Unfortunately, 2-3 cars is my limit and I have to sell one when a new one comes in. I wish I could keep them all! Josh is in the same situation, as is Jeff. Jamie’s collection on the other hand is a mystery. When are you going to reveal your barn anyway Jamie?

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Hmmmm. Let me see if I can get some pictures. Maybe next weekend! :-)

  5. Mark E

    Of course, it’s worth what someone will pay for it! Why not sell it to Beverly Hills Auto Club? Then they’ll put it up as a VERY RARE modified British sports car priced at oh say $34,900. Then you’ll find out what it really sells for if they’re honest and tell you.

  6. Neil

    Hmm.. tricky one this. Cosmetically it’s a mess, and I can’t see anyone bothering to put the period-correct oily bits back in it, so this is one for someone who wants a fun car at a reasonable price, rather than for an enthusiast who will do an all-out resto on it.

    Even if you did it yourself, I think there’s $15k (at least!) worth of paint, dials and trimming, rechroming and missing badges/fenders to put right and with all its history it would be a shame to do that anyway.

    This might sound horribly mean, but $4k to $5k, tops, if you catch the right buyer at auction.

    I would be tempted to spend a couple of weekends getting the lights working and a refurb kit for those carbs doesn’t cost much. As it stands, it’s a bring-a-trailer car (i wouldn’t want to be hit from behind due to lack of brake lights in something from the 50s!) but if you turn it into a ‘drive it home with an understanding friend following in a truck’ car, it might swing a few more dollars.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      That doesn’t sound mean Neil, I’m guessing it will something somewhere right in that range too. The brakes lights and carbs are on the top of our todo list.

  7. John

    Jesse:

    I love these little old British cars!! Had a chance to buy a Singer years back, but all the wood framing for the tub was a pain. So then what did I do? Go out and get an MGTC and an MGTD – yup, same wood framing stuff – you might say I’m a bit of a masochist, but cars are my hobby. I would be very interested in this little Singer if you decide to let her go – as for the value, I can’t help you much because so modified with the Volvo engine (which I think was a good replacement choice). I am lucky enough to have a number of very fun cars – check out my FB page – The Cole Car Collection. Let me know about the Singer.

    John

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Nice collection John! We will probably fix a few things and throw it on eBay and see what it goes for. Should be interesting!

  8. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    Why not put it up for the first Barn Finds auction? And to really make the Barn Finds auction unique, have each auction being open to considering trades of collector cars, a car and price submitted with or without cash boot. Put a reserve on it that is $1,000 more than you would list it on Craigslist, and see how high it goes on BF Boot Auction. I never really wanted a Singer, always seemed kind of small to me, but then, I never saw one in person, and this one looks pretty neat. OK, I’ll start the bidding, a $3500 Porsche 944 on trade.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      That’s a great idea Chuck! Your trade isn’t bad either, but shipping cars back and forth would get pricey.

  9. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    Pic

  10. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    1988 NA 173k miles 5 speed, runs and drives, AC works, as do power windows, sunroof half opens, worthless anyway, have a good used carpet set I’m installing, as well as ball joints when they arrive. Also has PS leak, but not bad driving without it.

  11. Bob Gressard

    Singers are great little cars. Sad to say they have almost no following. I know as my first car was a 52 Singer along with four others. And yes I still have them all. For fifty years I have never even had any offers. They sit in the barn looking cool and that’s it. Take whatever you can get. Bob

    • Josh Staff

      Thanks for your input Bob! Could you send us some photos of your Singers? We would love to see them!
      Josh

  12. Billy

    So we know you guys are Volvo fans, but we have no idea the extent of Volvo content in this sweet little ride. B18 (but Webers in lieu of SUs), 60s Volvo rims painted black and brakes are referenced, but we’ve never heard the whole story. What about the rear axle, suspension, transmission, steering, etc, etc? I searched the site and only found the initial posting on the Singer purchase other than this pre-sale posting. Could be wrong, but would gladly be corrected with more details! You covered the 122 and 145 much more thoroughly.

    BTW, as one who enjoys road biking as much as classic cars, especially Volvos (maybe it’s the simple mechanics of each) I appreciate the wide berth you gave that biker in the video on more than one passing.

  13. gunningbar

    I think any running brit roadster has to be worth 3k…
    Being a bit rare adds 2k along with the fact there are people on ebay who want odd ball cars and have money…$ 5200.

  14. waynard

    Woof, woof. That things a mess. $3500.00 max.

    Like 1
  15. Chris A.

    Where is the car now, east coast, west coast? I see a neat car I’d rather buy and put the work into than a VW convertible. It actually looks like it has room for 4 (small) people or luggage for 2. And a Volvo drive train and brakes makes a lot of sense. Maybe not with the Webers though as it looks like the lower part of the hinged hood was cut away to clear the front carb air cleaner. Not tidy at all and the buyer will need to do some creative metal work to repair the hacking. For Bob G: Were the Singer 1500 OHC engines any good? Did these Singers originally have bumpers?

    • Josh Staff

      Hey Chris,
      It is in here in Boise. I agree, someone did a terrible hack job to fit the Webers. I’ve found a few people selling engine compartment panels, so replacing it could be a viable option. I had thought of crafting some type of scoop to mount over the opening to cover the mess a bit and bring more cool air into the engine bay, but I’m not sure how that would look. These Webers seem like absolute overkill to me (they are 45 DCOEs), so I would probably swap them out for a pair of SUs or even just a single Weber. I’m not sure if it would give you enough room to fit the original panel, but it might. Maybe some type of bulge could be shaped that would give you enough clearance to leave the carbs? I’m not sure, but if you could figure out a fix, it sure would clean the look up without getting rid of all the cool sounds! The pair of Webers really do sound amazing, especially with the trumpets on, but I doubt this B18 really needs this kind of air and fuel.
      Josh

  16. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    @Chris, Jesse or Josh can tell you exactly where it is, but here’s a picture of one with the factory front bumper. I’ve seen them both with and without the overriders.

    I would create a “bubble” to cover the air cleaners similar to what you saw on some Morgans using the TR4/4A engine in the 60’s. But that’s me :-)

  17. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Here’s what the Morgan with the bulge (the Super Sports) looks like. Same issue with carb/air cleaner clearance.

  18. Rick Nelson

    I think the Singer is a great project car. If you are interested in road racing (time trials/endurance racing), I would consider trading my 1987 Nissan Sentra Sport Coupe racer for it.
    The front bumper appears to be the same as found on the Morris Minor. Considering the wide variety of British cars that had some of the same parts, the Morris bumper may fit.
    Rick

  19. RiverRoadFlash

    Josh –

    Depending on the price, I may be quite interested in your little yellow Singer/Volvo.
    Once you determine the price, and considering that it will require a complete redo, please advise (Mobile: 262-302-3243). Thanx.

  20. Chris A.

    I’ve been reading up on the Singer 1500 AD series and that is indeed a neat little car. The braking system if it is all hydraulic Volvo is a good idea. But the car is now a Vinger? Solvo? Sort of a English/Swedish inches/metric marriage that needs a kind touch. But I’m interested; is it still available?

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