Singer Tools

This is an article that I have copied on some website earlier. Apparently that site is no longer available and thus I am sharing the article here as the information is very useful. The original article is written by Bill Haverly who was a long time registrarian for Singer Roadsters in ASCO (Association off Singer Cars Owners)


MASCOT August 1989


Bill Haverly

Just about the last finishing touch to any restoration is finding the working tools which were originally clipped to the bulkhead and in the tool roll when the car left the factory. It's a fortunate owner who already has a complete set for being detachable items. They are among the first things to get lost. If they are missing, there is a slight problem; sixty per cent of it knowing the correct type and layout of the tools, the other forty knowing where to find them. I hope to go some way to provide the answer to the first difficulty. with this write-up and a set of illustrations. The solution to the second point is the old car parts specialists, or better still, the autojumbles..

All of the tools on the deck are useful. Three of them (the jack, wheelbrace and tyre pump) are essential equipment on any car to deal with the common puncture.


The starting handle is a tool for all kits. Not only does it compensate for the flat battery, but it serves as a compression tester and also what the Americans, I think, call a 'tappet adjuster tool'.

As these working tools are probably going to be carried in the car in some form or another, why not save space elsewhere and set about finding the originals which were clipped on the bulk head deck? The tool roll is a different matter, a collection of smaller tools stored out of sight in four out of the five series and, although a useful contribution towards originality, many owners may prefer to include these in a more comprehensive kit alongside the spare wheel. Only on the pre.-war 'R' 'series was this roll strapped to the nearside-bulkhead wall - all subsequent cars had it stored in the luggage compartment. The starting handles were of two types. The first (R - 4A) used 5/8" steel rod with a raised 4" length section to .give strength where the handle passes through the front support bracket. It also had a two inch long dog drive, engaging the engine with a pin in the crankshaft pulley locknut. The later 4AB - 4AD handle was 3/4" rod having a set pin end which engaged with a dog on the locknut - the first system in reverse. As a. rule all series had brass handle ends with a. handle. length .of 5" and a crank of around 61/2". Main shanks differed between cars and are given in the series notes. And the grease guns came in three varieties- none of which is exactly high pressure, but at least gave a useful supply of grease in an emergency..


The 'Prima' jack supplied with the 'R', 'A' and early 4A Roadsters is a very interesting piece of equipment - a hydraulically operated jack used as far back as the Singer Nines of the early thirties. Unfortunately the unit tends to suffer from a stripped winding thread and is difficult to service. The likelihood of finding a working model is therefore remote.


The later screw or pole jack supplied with most 4A's and the 4AB - 4AD series was fitted on other British cars in the late thirties and forties and can still be found from time to time among boxes of greasy jumble. Used with care on the bumper mounting brackets, it is a simple and effective jack.


Singers' part number for the wheel brace was the same for all post-war Roadsters and most likely used on the pre-war car as well. A well made tool, it has swaged handles and approx. dimensions from the handle end were 41/2, 5, 5, 5 and 6 inches, with a 3/8" Whitworth socket head, of course, for the standard wheel nuts.

Budget locks, fitted to Roadster boots and later 4AB/4AD bonnets, were, on earlier cars, opened with the familiar 'T' key, but, from the 4A series on an 'L' shaped. key was listed in Parts Books. As few of these have survived, the 'T' key is in general use today. The budget key on the 4AB/4AD series was not kept in the tool roll, but mounted inside the cab on the nearside scuttle casing, just forward of the door. On the attached tool kit diagrams, the spring clips. and jack mounting brackets are shown in solid black. The largest of these held the grease gun, whilst three clips at the second size held the tyre pump and handle in place, and at least three smaller sized clips were used to fix the various sized tools in position. Breakers' yards or autojumbles are probably the best places to search for something suitable. I doubt if Singers used a template for siting the various clips, as positions seem to vary between cars. Best to use the screw holes remaining in the deck as a guide to fitting positions.


These drawings, though not quite to scale, should give a good idea of the positions and the tools originally displayed on the deck, though in anticipating the license taken at the Singer factory, they would be better used as a general guide to layouts, rather than the last word on the subject.



'R' series (1939)

The now fifty year old Roadster arrived with a display that often. accompanies a new model. Twelve tools and fittings on show if you include the pump handle listed but not originally shown on display car photos. Some cars, however had a clip fitted directly in front of the battery tray (indicated on diagram) and this would seem a good place to mount the handle. Tyre pump connector - again not illustrated in any photos I've collected, but the simple solution is to attach it to the pump as with all the later cars. The tyre pump is approx. 15 " long with two footpads and a knurled alloy top cap. The pump handle is about 5" long. The grease gun is a brass Tecalemit pump similar to the type used on British motorbikes and easily found at autojumbles for around £4. The starting handle shank is a bit shorter than the rest at around 20" (no bumpers fitted). The 'Prima' jack is mounted upright, being held directly to the deck with a stud and wing nut. The contents of the tool roll are as follows - screwdriver, small adjustable spanner, pin punch, distributor spanner, tappet spanner, open ended spanner, oil can, tyre lever, hammer, set of 3 box spanners and tommy bar,. and oiling funnel for steering column. Quite a comprehensive kit.


'A' Series (1946-49)

A cut back in the displayed tools down to seven and the 'Prima' jack is now mounted on its side and attached by stud and wing nut to an 'L' shaped plate screwed to the deck. A much bigger barrelled (9" x 1 3/4" grease gun is now fitted and both pump and handle moved to the bulkhead vertical face from now on. The starting handle shank is increased by 2" to cope with bumpers. The contents of the tool roll are as follows - 4" screwdriver, adjustable spanner (large) distributor spanner, set of 3 box spanners and tommy bar, tyre valve remover, tappet spanner, 5/16" x 3/8" open ended spanner, tyre levers, oiling funnel and 3/4lb. hammer.


4A Series (1949)

Almost identical to the previous series except for a slight reposition of the amazing 'Prima' jack. Probably only around the first hundred or so cars are fitted with this layout, those in parallel production with the. last of the 'A's. The contents of the tool roll changed slightly - a hammer is no longer supplied and the adjustable spanner is reduced to 'medium size'.


4A Series (1950-51)

The 'Prima' jack is replaced by the much more basic 'screw' or 'pole' jack ( 25" long) which also clips more easily to the deck. The wheel brace now doubles up as a jack winding handle, thus cutting down the number of display tools to six. This series ran to over 4.,000 cars, around the last 250 being concurrent with early 4B production. Tyre pumps and grease guns supplied to these tail-enders were most likely, in the-interests of rationalisation, the same as the new types being introduced on the. Series 4AB and 4AD. The contents of the tool roll are :as for the 4A (1949).



4AB - 4AD (1951-56)

A single layout for the 4AB and its bigger brother with the 1500 engine, although the new type of starting handle varies in mainshank length from 17 1/4" to 20 3/4" between the two and wheel braces with different shank lengths (6" or 10 1/2" are used across the board, though only the standard shorter length version is recorded in the parts book. Both these tools are sited in new positions. A new alloy grease gun (Tecalemit CG 3000 or 3020) and Apex tyre pump (body length 15 1/4 " with single 5" foot pad were introduced. Pole jack as for 4A. The only addition to the 4A's tool roll is a tyre valve split ring (any idea what this might be?)






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