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1. A Singer 10/26 tourer.

Another old photo from my collection this time. A little research, and blowing up of the photograph on a scanner, shows this to be a vintage Singer, probably a 10/26 model of the 1927 - 1927 era. Initially I thought that this was a Standard, but a closer look at this automobile photograph showed the Singer name emblazoned on the two gallon petrol can, affixed to the offside running board, behind the spare wheel. So this just left the question of what model of Singer motor-car was on show. It looks too large to be a Singer Junior. A hunt around online, and some studying of photos found on an owners' club site, suggest that this is a 10/26, from the mid twenties. Note the centre cap on the (tread-less) spare wheel, with the letter 'S' in relief upon it.
A vintage Singer motorcar
The 10/26 took over from the earlier 10hp Singer model, and was powered by an overhead valve 1308cc engine producing 26bhp. Both Two- and Four-seater open top models were available, as were Saloon and Coupe variants. At the time Singer were one of the most prolific manufacturers of motorcars in the UK, yet are now an all-but forgotten entry in the book of British motor manufacturing. Fortunately there is a healthy number of preserved Singers, pre- and post-war, in circulation and keeping the name alive, many of the earlier examples often to be seen taking part in leisurely, and not-so-leisurely, vintage car events. Singer 9 Le-Mans taking part in vintage car hillclimbs spring to mind.
Unfortunately I cannot make out the registration number of the 10/26 tourer shown here. Quite what is going on in this photograph is not so clear. Posters held up at the rear, and hung from the radiator mascot, suggest that the Daily News was involved, announcing that the "1 note man here today". Who is the bow-tied chap, with pipe, behind the wheel of the Singer? A close-up look at the newspapers show the headline of "Give your heart a chance" and a small photo of two chaps deep in conversation, one of which looks remarkably like this gent. I can't make out what it says on the small piece of paper that he is holding up. My guess is that he is from the medical profession, or perhaps from a firm that supplied health-related products, and he was in town plugging his wonder heart drug, aimed at warding off problems with the ticker.
I guess we'll never know the actual story, but if it is related to curing heart problems, he'd have probably been better snuffing out his pipe, and telling the three blokes on the right to chuck away their Woodbines. But back in those days smoking was a much more popular pastime than it is today (thank god), and advice to kick the habit would have no doubt been met with fierce opposition from the nicotine-addicted members of society.
Singer enthusiast Phil Waltham got in touch, confirming that the car is indeed a 10/26. He also has some ideas about the scene shown in the above photo...
"The news story seems the same as that featured in Graham Greene's novel "Brighton Rock" where reporter Fred Hale is sent to Brighton by a national newspaper to challenge anyone on the street, or in a pre-prescribed place, who recognised him and answered a question with information from the newspaper. Anyone who could answer the question and produce the paper received one pound. A simple form of extending circulation! Not unlike today where they give away some newspapers in various places like Little Chef and so on.
Poor Fred was hiding from a local racecourse gang who, because of Fred's task, were easily able to identify and murder him, the point being that the advertising stunt advertised him and broke his cover ..... I wonder if this scene could be part of an early film about the book? The only film I know stars Richard Attenborough, but I don't know the film well enough to identify the photo as being from it. It was doing the promo that led to Fred's demise and if I remember correctly the post mortem found he had suffered a heart attack, but in fact the "mob" had choked him by pushing a stick of Brighton Rock down his throat. Hence the possible irony (one of Greene's great strengths) of the poster about saving the heart".
Thanks for the detective work Phil, I'll have to try and find a copy of that book!

2. Another 10/26 tourer.

Judging by the condition of this next Singer 10/26, it could well be brand new in this shot. A child is sat behind the wheel, with a lady sat in the rear compartment. Virtually everything about the car looks perfect, from the sheen on the hood & spare wheel covers, to the tread on the Dunlop Cord tyres. In fact the only negative point is that some of the paint has flaked off the 2-gallon "SINGER" petrol can on the tourer's running board. I wouldn't mind finding one of these old Singer fuel cans for my collection.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
Another Singer 10/26 tourer
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