24 July 2017

More than an old car #28: Singer Chamois

Small cars are getting popular again given the limited land space here and the rise of nuclear families. Furthermore, small family cars are of course cheaper than large-sized sedans. However, this 1965 Singer Chamois would not look out of place on today's roads!

Singer Motors Limited was founded by George Singer in 1875, where it started out making bicycles and motorcycles. It moved to car manufacturing in 1905, where it was later bought over by the Rootes Group in 1955. However, the Rootes Group was later bought over by Chrysler Group in 1971 and the Singer name became defunct.

The Singer Chamois is actually a 'badge-engineered' version of the Hillman Imp. Badge-engineering is the process of putting a different brand to an existing product and selling it as something different. The Hillman Imp was first introduced in 1963, where it possessed unique innovations such as having the engine at the back of the car, a fold-able back seat and a rear window opening as seen in the second picture. It was marketed as a potential second car for families, and this was helped by how cheap it was back then. Although it enjoyed success as a rally car, it was plagued with many problems such as overheating.

The Singer Chamois was powered by a 875cc 4-cylinder engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 125km/h and an acceleration of 25.6 seconds [0-60mph]. It was 3.58m long and weighed 711kg. Only around 49,000 were produced under the Singer brand and this specimen is the only one left in Singapore. It is currently owned by well-known classic car restorer David Chan and some may recognise his garage in the background. He has owned the car since the 1960s and it still has its original number plate. This is a real pieced of automotive history and I hope future generations will not forget that such cool cars exist!

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