History of my Singer

This Singer Roadster was manufactured in fall 1954 but it was not delivered from the factory until spring 1955 apparently due to declining sales. The factory records show that this car, chassis number L4AD 3160 X, left the factory April 4th, 1955, destination Helsinki, Finland. The car is a twin carburetter model, body color was black with red leather interior. Optional glass side screens were also delivered with the car. As far as I know the car was on display at the Helsinki car show, May 1955 and it was sold there.

I have not been able to confirm the import quantity of Singer Roadsters to Finland but it is certain that it is definately only a handful at most. This car may even be the only one that has been imported to Finland when new. I know of only one other Singer Roadster under restoration in Finland and that has been brought from the USA in the 1980's. I have also heard rumours of one other Roadster, but i have nothing confirmed about the condition nor even existence of that car. The condition of my car was definately not the perfect restoration object but the fact that it is an original "Finnish" Singer makes more sense to the restoration of this specific car.

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The father of the previous owner had bought the car with a friend in early 1960's and it needed major repairs already then. The car was repaired and re-registered in 1965 and was used for a couple of years. They used the car only a couple of years and in 1968 it was removed from the register and has not been driven since that. Restoration of the car was started by the previous owner and the car was mainly dismantled and some parts sand blasted but no actual repairs had not been done.

I bought the car in winter 2000. At that time the car was mainly dismantled and the parts scattered in several places at a farm in Halikko, southwestern Finland. The condition of the car was bad, it was missing several parts and some of the existing parts were either heavily modified or replaced by non-original parts. So to be able to make a full restoration to the original specifications, a spare parts car was needed. I found a suitable spares car near Atlanta, Georgia, USA. via NASOC discussion forum in Internet. Luckily shortly after that I was in the US for a business trip for two weeks in June 2000 and had free time during the weekend. I left columbus, Ohio, early Saturday morning and drove down to Georgia to take look at the spares car, bought the car and drove back to Ohio on Sunday. The spares car was shipped from Georgia to Finland on a container and it arrived in Helsinki November 2000.

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The restoration was started by dismantling the remaining parts from the chassis. The chassis frame had several cracks in suspension mounting locations due to driving on bad roads. After repairing the chassis frame, it was sandblasted, primed and painted black. Smaller chassis and suspension parts received the same treatment. Rear axle was dismantled, cleaned, painted and assembled back together with new bearings and seals. Brake parts were restored and all necessary new parts ordered from England and assembled together. Front suspension was assembled with new seals, rubber bushings and shock absorbers. steering box was cleaned, fitted with new bearings and seals, assembled and painted. The chassis was now ready to receive the powerline.

The engine block of car had been frozen at some time and there was a crack in it casting. that was repaired by careful welding with a special cast iron welding rod. Otherwise the block was amazingly good condition, actually so that i decided not to rebore it to oversize. The block was cleaned throroughly and outside surfaces painted. Pistons were fitted with new rings. Crankshaft main and connecting rod bearings were renewed. Cylinder head was disassembled, cleaned and painted. Valves were cleaned and lapped to provide proper seal. The plate under the manifold that covers the water compartment was so badly corroded so that a new one was manufactured by laser cutter. The top end had suffered from poor lubrication at some point and couple of cams were very badly grooved and worn. So a replacement camshaft was needed, amazingly Trevor Cornelius had brand new original camshaft available. Couple of good second hand valve rockers was also needed. The head was assembled and the timing gear fitted with new chains. The gearbox was disassembled and cleaned. A couple of bearings and all seals were renewed, from the two gearboxes I have I found enough good synchronization sleeves for the gearbox. The gearbox was assembled, painted and fitted to the engine. Propeller shaft was cleaned, painted, fitted with new cross joints and balanced. The powerline was now ready for lifting onto the chassis.

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Now it was time to target the attention to the bodywork. The Singer body is traditional 1930’s bodywork construction. Fenders and engine front end plates are steel but the firewall, doors, rear hatch and the back part of the body is aluminum sheet which is nailed onto ash (wooden) frame. All the steel pasts were in good condition, only small rust areas and no dents. The aluminum skin was carefully removed from the ash frame and the sad reality was revealed. Although the wooden parts looked reasonably good, there was major rot on the lower parts of the frame. The laminated rear wheel arches were totally useless, most of the connections between the wooden parts were loose and could not be easily repaired. Thus the majority of the wooden frame parts had the remanufactured. Fortunately my father is quite a wizard in woodwork so the frame restoration could be done “in house” as well. The old wooden body frame was dismantled and the old parts were used as a pattern for new wooden parts. I made a steel jig with the correct chassis mounting hole pattern and assembled the new bodyframe on top of that. A wooden press mold was made for laminating new rear wheel arches. Building the new bodyframe required a lot of measuring, trial fitting, special tooling, skill and of course time. Eventually the new wooden frame was taking shape and was ready to take the aluminum skin back on. Both of the cars had a rear end collision damage and the aluminum sheet below the rear hatch was non original on both of them. However I got that rear section from another car with the spares car. That section was welded to the rest of the body skin and the whole repaired skin was lifted on top of the ash frame and nailed in place.

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Now it was time to lift the body onto the chassis. After getting the body onto the chassis it was time to fit the doors. The door skins were all in quite bad condition so new skins were made from from the scratch with new aluminum sheet. The steel front end panels were actually quite tricky to fit properly, especially the small plate below the radiator. Current situation is updated to the "News on Singer" section.

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