Click here to return to OCC homepage


See Homepage. This page: A pair of photographs both featuring a Bolton-registered Singer 11hp motor-car.
Original transport photographs
Old Classic Car Image Archive index >

Singer Eleven.

Most of the smaller pre-war Singers now get a mention in the site's image gallery. At first glance I'd assumed that the car featured below was another example of Singer 9, but the style of bonnet louvres, the opening quarterlights front and rear, plus the overall size of the car, suggested otherwise. Some digging around brought up references to the slightly larger Singer Eleven, and seems to be a match for the car shown here.
The car is from the mid-1930s, but for some reason its registration number - BWH 8 - was from a series introduced in July 1945, so perhaps it had been registered overseas before finding its way to the Bolton area, or else simply sat in a car dealer's showroom for a very long time. Both photographs present the car in a fairly typical 1930's suburban scene, with smart semi-detached houses of that era in the background. The houses look broadly as they would today, although one difference is that then it was common to paint your (wooden) window frames a colour other than white *, perhaps to match the front gate or the garage doors, whereas now window frames all tend to be white, whether wooden or PVC.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
A man stood with his Singer 11 car
Photograph number two sees the lady of the house sat in the pre-war Singer, parked in the same driveway but on a different occasion. A close look at the Singer in both photographs reveals a front bumper that has been painted over at some point, but is now beginning to flake at the edges revealing the chrome plating underneath. Maybe a legacy of black-out use during the war perhaps? although typically the bumper and wing edges would have been painted white rather than black. The car's six-light (ie three windows per side) bodywork is clearly evident in this image, as are the car's wheel rims which appear to have been painted in a light colour.
Side view of the Singer saloon
The 240 GBP Singer Eleven incorporated a number of interesting features, not least its Fluidrive transmission, a fluid flywheel arrangement. The 11hp car also featured hydraulic brakes, and independent front suspension at a time when many manufacturers could only offer beam axles. Advertising for the car in 1934 included a prim lady sat in the Singer's rear compartment, holding onto a cup of tea. Filled to within half an inch of the brim, none of the drink was lost despite the car proceeding to wind its way up to a heady sixty miles-per-hour, thus endorsing Singer's IFS design.

2. A Southampton-registered Singer.

Singer 11hp registration OW 8034 first saw service in the Southampton area in 1935. In this photograph a lady and gent are shown stood alongside the car, parked in a country lane. The reason for their journey may well relate to the "L" (learner) plate attached to the Singer's front bumper. Both people seem to be in good spirits, so either the driving lesson was going well, or perhaps they'd driven to a quiet location prior to the learner taking the wheel. Is the gent having a quick smoke to steady his nerves, or is he simply clasping a St. Christopher prior to settling into the passenger seat? Perhaps the gent is the one taking lessons, and the lady or the person taking the photograph the instructor? The Singer looks to be in fine condition in this photograph, and exhibiting no damage to its bodywork despite being used for driver instruction.
The car looks virtually identical to the example shown above, although the centre caps on the wheels are slightly smaller in diameter, and the windscreen wiper mounting is above the screen, rather than below.
Learning to drive in a Singer 11
Return to Page 14 in the classic & vintage vehicle photo gallery.
*Update. Dan dropped me a line with more information on the types of paint used on the typical British home at that time (thanks Dan):
"You are quite right to say that it was once common to paint window frames etc. in darker colours, however this was less to do with matching colour schemes than the shortcomings of the white paint then available. Before modern alkyd resins - petroleum based, discovered during the War I think, but not coming in for a while after that - white paints were pretty unsuitable for exterior use, tending to be less durable and yellow quickly (probably due to the linseed oil content). It was of course nothing unusual in those days for keen handymen to mix their own paint from boiled linseed oil, turps, white lead and so on, something as unknown today as the oil shops that sold the various ingredients! Exterior use of white paint was not unknown, of course, but seems to have been restricted to those wealthy enough to pay others to repaint on a pretty regular basis..."

Custom Search
Old Classic Car (C) R. Jones 2020. Content not to be reproduced elsewhere.
Website by ableweb.
Privacy Policy, Cookies & Disclaimers