In the many celebrations of big-name cars such as the classic Jaguar E-type, it is double easy to overlook that at that time in the Midlands, the heart of British classic car production, many manufacturers were turning out great cars.
One classic that is still much loved is the Singer Vogue, which reaches 60 this year. We take a brief nostalgic look back at a great British classic car.
The Singer business was founded by George Singer in 1876 would you believe, and he was also making push bikes. In 1904 George and his team produced their first new fangled motor car. There was no looking back. By the late ‘20s the business was one of the biggest producers of cars in the UK. What a story.
We’ll fast forward to 1955. Singer accepted an offer from the Rootes to become part of their Group. Singer were having their difficulties at that time and it made sense, perfect sense in fact. Lord Rootes started his career as an apprentice at a Singer factory. It was just meant to be.
Lord Rootes made a promise to inject new life into the old firm. He was as good as his word. The Singer Gazelle soon popped off the production line. It was major success. The Singer Vogue was then launched in 1961, hence the 60th celebrations.
In fairness, the Vogue could easily have been the Gazelle Mk 4, but the decision was taken to do some ‘badge engineering’ (very common today) and the Vogue was born.
A Mk 2 Vogue, with all new disc brakes at the front appeared just two years later in 1963. The Vogue was going strong. It was quickly followed in ’64 by a Mk 3 and then again in ’65 by the 1725cc powered Mk4. To broaden the range estate versions were produced and great classics they look too. But in a way, by the mid 60’s the writing was on the wall for the little Singer.
A Second Gen “New” Vogue was publicly launched at the British Motor Show in 1966. But many saw through it. The swooping lines of the first gen Vogue had been replaced by the hard-edged rectangular lines of a car that looked remarkably like a classic Hillman Hunter. It was a Hillman Hunter, with a Singer Vogue badge.
The first Vogue had been born from a Gazelle, carved its own path but morphed into a Hunter. A great story, well worth celebrating.
It is worth noting that the custodians of the history and upkeep of the Singer name, the Singer Owners Club (a brilliant club) are celebrating their 70th this year too. Congrats guys!
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