A Life In Cars

The life story of Dickie Sutherland


The conception of the SingerChevy Surf Chaser 1967

Surfing, a new and exciting craze, agroup on mates pile into a car with surf rack on the roof loaded with surfboards, how can I convert the Singer sports to carry surf boards?

Conversion of a Legend to yet another’s Legend

The group of lads Ian, Tony, Phill, Dyke, Ralston and others, introduced me to “the Wreckers.”  Wow!   What a place, a field of dreams, all those cars there, abandoned, waiting for a man, boy, with a vision, in this case in need of a plan.  A 1929 Chevrolet four-door sedan body sitting there without a Chassis, engine, or gearbox.  I could see a Surf Chaser, not a woody but a hot rod-style chaser. (Rat Rod)  I struck a deal, got Dad’s 6’x4′ trailer and picked up the body the following week.  This was 1963 work progressed well into 1965 the challenges were many and the success in solution heartening, more so when before too long the car will hit the road.

Singer9 chassis marries Chev 4-door sedan body, a Surf Chaser in the making.
Singer Surfer

Construction techniques and other challenges.

From pulling the Sports car body off the chassis and welding tubes together to replace the timber frame, mounting the Chevy body and fixing it to the chassis.  I was into it, like a man possessed, making an aluminium gearbox cover welding scraped aluminium 3mm plate with the new-fangled Mig welder.  Fitting, and riveting aluminium sheets to the roof, was a task a friend said it needed 3 men to do, well I managed by myself, rivets evenly spaced and in line,  job well done establishing the legend  I was worth three men. 

Legends are born often out of one event.

Innovative windscreen fixing, not a rubber moulding, not with angle-formed strips and putty, oh no I had fibre glass and resin at hand so I glued it in with fibreglass strips.  A for a runner to the modern windscreens glued with a rubberised bead.

Trunk-styled steel box constructed from scrape found in the shed, mounted on the back bumper brackets, providing boot space.  There was a modification needed to an ingenious top shelf designed to hold cans of food, after we discovered the cans moved while travelling touching the electrical connection to the rear light, and shorting out the lights.  Design fault number 1.

Stay tuned for the next instalment of The Singer-Chev Surf-Chaser rides

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