Singer now on song 1935 Singer Nine Sports

Singer now on song 1935 Singer Nine Sports

The Singer didn’t make it to the Brooklands British Car Day in April. I had reassembled the engine with its new valvegear (camshaft, rockers, valves, the lot), and fitted the torque reaction rod that I devised to cure the clutch judder in reverse gear. This was a total success, so reversing up my driveway was no longer a torture. But still the engine’s pep wasn’t what it should be, so we took my Rover 2000 TC instead.


What to do next? I knew the distributor was sub-optimal, requiring a static timing setting far retarded from where it should be to avoid excess advance once under way. Might this be it, with the timing never anywhere near ideal? I sent the distributor off to Martin Jay, aka The Distributor Doctor, for a rebuild. ‘It would have been impossible to set up,’ he reported. ‘It’s very worn and there’s far too much advance.’ A week later it was back, as good as new. And at last the engine feels somewhere near right.

Singer now on song 1935 Singer Nine Sports

Meanwhile there have been other improvements. When I owned the Singer last century, I was irritated by the painted badge bar and luggage rack. They should be chromed and now they are, along with the stalk for the new mirror and sundry other fittings. Micro-Finishers in Bedford (microfinishers.co.uk) did an excellent job for a good price and without a huge lead time. This done, the Singer was booked into local trimmer Hukes for a new hood cover. Hukes made the last one in the early 1990s but between my ownerships it went missing. A smart new cover now hides the reinstated hood, and the six sidescreens have responded well to a thorough clean. Then there was the mystery of the mutated Hartford friction dampers. Last time around, I expensively replaced all four. This time, on investigating the rear suspension’s lack of pliancy, I discovered that an interim owner had purloined that end’s four-disc Hartfords for something else and replaced them with lessabsorptive two-disc items. Correct, and new, Hartfords are now reinstated. Finally, the tail. For decades, only the combined numberplate/ stop/tail light has illuminated when braking, so I have fitted new internals to the two outer lights and now have a full complement of brake lights. While doing this I noticed some truly terrible wiring junctions, which promptly shorted out while I was testing the lights. Remedying the resulting melted mess called for complete new wiring from halfway along the chassis rearwards. I finished the job with a new rear numberplate, featuring digits the correct 3½in high instead of 3⅛in and repositioned on the rear crossbar instead of under it. The three-function light is now above the plate, in the middle, instead of lurking at one end, and the whole thing looks much more proper. Next: de-cracking the seat leather.

Above, and from left Simister looks pensive at Chiltern Hills Rally; engine now optimal; wrong and right Hartfords; new tail chrome.

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