Singer of Coventry, founded by the renowned cycle-maker George Singer, took their first steps in the world of automotive transport when they began producing simple pedal cycles way back in 1876.

This breakthrough in motorcycle production technology paved the way for Singer to become among the leading producers of front-wheel powered motorised bicycles and tricycles in the United Kingdom at the turn of the 20th century.

Having developed a strong client base, Singer finally began to produce petrol driven three-wheeled motor cars in 1905, although under licence from the larger and longer established Lea Francis car manufacturing company, also based in Coventry.

Things continued to go well for Singer and by the end of the Nineteen Twenties, had grown to become among the U.K.'s leading carmakers, both regarding innovation and production, at one time reaching the level of the fourth largest auto producer in the country.


At the same time, Singer were earning themselves a reputation as innovators in production technology, among the first to introduce independent front suspensions and fluid-coupling transmissions among other developments.

The Thirties were much more challenging for the company due to the major depression that affected global trade.

Despite the downturn, Singer held on, although they had little money to invest in updating equipment and technologies at their factories in the Midlands cities of Birmingham and Coventry.

Raising their head again after the end of hostilities in 1945, Singer launched their post-war production program with the SM 1500/Hunter saloon.

The Singer SM 1500/Hunter proved to be a steady seller, although not successful enough or profitable enough to push the factory forward, especially regarding much-needed development capital.

This situation meant that by the mid-Fifties, Singer found themselves in a state of stagnation, with barely enough money to develop new model ranges to keep up with the opposition, especially the big guns at BMC, Ford, and Vauxhall.

Eventually, Singer was “thrown a rope” by the Rootes Group, who agreed to absorb the company within the rapidly growing auto manufacturing giant.

Sir William Rootes, the tough as nails founder of the Rootes Group, carried a lot of sentiment for the Singer car companies as that is where he served his apprenticeship.

Unfortunately for Singer, that’s where the sentiment appeared to end as the Singer badge slowly generated into a vehicle for Rootes to market Hillman models.

The first Singer car launched under the Rootes Group label was the Gazelle, which was simply a Hillman Minx under a new cosmetic styling and fitted, initially at least, with a Hunter engine rapidly replaced by a distinctly less sophisticated Hillman engine.

By the end of the Sixties, Singer Motors existed in name only.

When the Rootes Group themselves were swallowed up by the massive US-based Chrysler Corporation, early in 1970, the Singer marque disappeared altogether, having been given a fifteen year stay of execution.

They had remained on death row of the UK car industry all the while the Rootes Group took maximum advantage of the good will that more than a century of producing quality vehicles had built.

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