A Life In Cars

The life story of Dickie Sutherland


Singer 9 – surf safari with friends

The Singer on a surfing safari with friends

The Singer-Chev  Friends

I did take out several girls in the SingerChevy, however, there was this one girl who after her first experience she had no need to ride in the Singer again, EVER!

To be fair an explanation of Singer’s shortcomings of basic expectations of a CAR.

The Singer’s interior was finished off. No lining on the doors, no hood lining,  or interior linings, no door sealers or wind laces, and no carpets.

In the warmer weather, it was HOT inside, with No heater for winter. OH, air conditioning?  Yes wind the windows down, (when a friend shut the driver’s door with a little gusto the glass broke in two), No safety glass.

Safety-wise no seat belts, (not a requirement until 1967 then only new cars and only Lap belts on front seats only. No Grab handles. Quite a different time for car features of today’s standards. ABS barking, and the brakes were ‘quite average’ to poor.  Computers assist with everything from parking to braking, lane alerts, Low fuel, low brake fluid, low coolant and no Bluetooth Cassette player, CD player, USB ports, and well Climate control. It was more of a ‘Rat-Rod’

Friends Grant supporting Brenda, Anne, Phill, Trevor, Ian (Loon), Dickie

The Singer-Chevy did trips to Daily Heads, the one most notable in 1967 when Graham Jackson ‘hired’ it for the trip.  It’s performance was exceptional, apart from running out of petrol five miles from home.  That really pissed me off, I was quite over the whole experience of the ‘old bombs’ as Natalie christened the Singer.  With some help from Phill, who was most generous in ignoring my ranting and raving, he got some petrol and we got the car home.  Let it be said, one needs one’s Mates who are there for the duration, thanks Phill, to all the other unsung heroes of other days past, present and future.

Over and out!

Singer 9 parts.

Phill drove a three-speed Vauxhall Cresta, ‘three on the tree’, he craved a four-speed with a floor gear change.  To achieve this he found a Singer 9 for sale not far from home.  I assisted Phill with picking up that Singer, which we mounted on a 6×4 trailer to get it home.  Phill started stripping the Singer unscrewing nuts and bolts, I assisted by trying to chop bits off with an axe.  Such irreverence is a gross waste of good parts and effort.  My goal was to salvage the steering box, as my Singers’ steering had two-thirds of a turn free play.

Phill was after the gearbox, I am pretty sure he never did get to fit the 4-speed in his Vauxhall.  In retrospect that Singer was in much better condition than my original Singer, today I would gladly pay a few dollars more for that car in that condition as a restoration project. (Boy today I would be over the moon to have that car in my garage as we first saw it!)

The donor Singer Gray

Sorry, Phill I didn’t have any idea back then, what! I still haven’t.

Steering was a niggling (annoying exasperating) problem with the SingerChevy.  Another time I stopped in at a Service Station on my way home from work, there were two Singer 9 Utes in the backyard.  I asked if I could buy the steering parts from the steering boxes.  These parts were marginally better than the parts I replaced and I had to accept this was as good as it gets.

Surfing Safari

The SingerChevy had an admirer; the bright red Singer-Chevy zooming around the streets caught the eye and imagination of a young local lad.  He paid the princely sum of $40 for the car, just what I needed to buy a Webber twin throat side draught carby for the Mini.  I haven’t seen the Singer-Chevy since and I don’t know how its story ends, but I did hear from the lad he was driving the wings off it grinning from ear to ear.  The one story he recounted of driving through the Northern intersection with the horn blasting as the lights were RED!  A story that did give me the impression the Singer-Chevy may not have enjoyed a peaceful retirement in some warm shed while awaiting to be an exciting Barn find some 50-odd years later.

Daly Heads Surfing trip Daisy, Phill, Derrick,1967

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