This is Nevil True’s 1938 Singer Twelve, which he rescued after it had failed to sell at auction. It all started with a query from Hollie Coates, a trainee with a firm of solicitors dealing with a deceased’s estate which included an old Singer car, asking if ASCO provided valuations of such cars. We requested further information, and soon Hollie sent the picture below (right) and told us the car registration was EOB 190, it had done 79,000 miles and was last taxed in 1968!!
A quick check on the DVLA database told us it was a 1525cc Singer manufactured in 1938, which would make it a Twelve or Super Twelve, and this was confirmed by a glance at the picture, on which you can see where the distinctive chrome cover for the horn had been on the rh front wing below the headlamp – you can see the horn is still there behind the aperture.
A few days later I received a query via the website, from Steve Hill, asking if we were interested in trying to save a pre-war Singer saloon he had come across in a garage of a house in Doncaster, where he lived. The house was all boarded up and looked semi-derelict, but was coming up for auction on 3rd December 2012 in Leeds. He thought only a builder would buy the house due to it’s condition, and that the car may well be scrapped. It was last taxed until July 1968! Steve had a photo of it (taken through a broken window) surrounded by junk. No number plate was visible, and although it had a Singer badge, the radiator grille didn’t look like a Singer, and he guessed it was 1937-1939. As a car enthusiast Steve was delighted the car has a hope of being saved in some form, and recalled his Dad’s first car was a 1947 Singer Super 10, and that he could still visualize their journeys to the East Coast with the luggage on the drop-down boot lid!
I replied to Steve with a copy of the photo, and that ‘his’ Singer sounded very much like the one we were investigating – a pre-war Singer saloon with a Singer Badge on a radiator grille that didn’t look like a Singer, last taxed in 1968 and surrounded by junk! It didn’t take long for Steve to confirm that we were both talking about the same car! Steve also sent me a picture of the house, which is a few hundred yards north of Doncaster racecourse, and is also in a sad state. According to a previous neighbour, the couple who lived there in the 1960s with their son, were ‘a bit odd’.
Another few days later, and another query via the website, this time from Dominic Jeffers, a freelance journalist who was preparing a story for Classic Car Weekly on a Singer barn find. His best guess, from the shape of the windscreen, was that it might be a Bantam or Super Nine, but the radiator grille looked like neither, and could he talk to someone in ASCO about the car? So I passed on to him all we had found out. I later learned from Dominic that our ‘Doncaster Singer’ had been removed from it’s rubbish-filled garage to David Mathewson’s Roxby Garage in Thornton-le-Dale’, for their Dec 2 Auction. I contacted David, who kindly sent me and the main picture and this one of the car out of it’s garage and on the recovery truck. David said the ‘rescue’ was a barrel of laughs, involving nosey neighbours, the CID, Traffic Police and a trip to A&E. (Presumably an anti-tetanus injection to protect his truck driver against lock-jaw from stepping on a rusty nail in the garage, adding that he’d had better afternoons!!
We then heard from Nevil that although the car did not attract a buyer at the auction on 2nd March, he had managed to rescue it, that the car is virtually complete and that he was planning to it get back on the road.
We wish him all the luck in the world!