This site is dedicated to all things relating to the range of cars produced by the Singer Motor Company in Coventry, England between 1935 and 1939 bearing the Bantam name.
Singer specialised in making small sports cars during the 1930s and had considerable success in rallies, hillclimbs and races. After the disaster at the Ards TT in 1935, their sales of sports cars dropped dramatically and the company turned to the idea of producing an economical saloon car to try and restore its fortunes. So it was that the Singer Bantam was launched at the London Motor Show late in 1935.
This new model was built on the underslung chassis that had proved so successful for the Singer Le Mans range and was powered by the same 972cc single overhead cam engine, with a slightly lower compression ratio and a single Zenith side draught carburettor. The engine generated approximately 25 BHP which was transmitted through a 3-speed gearbox with synchromesh on 3rd gear. A pressed steel saloon body with either 2 doors or optionally 4 doors, was bolted to the chassis and the interior was furnished with two folding seats at the front and a rear bench seat.
The early models of the Singer Bantam displayed a mascot in the form of a chromed flying Bantam Cockerel on top of the radiator. This was discontinued in 1937 when sharp mascots were outlawed for the protection of pedestrians.
Singer offered a Tourer version of the Singer Bantam in both 2 and 4 seat configurations, but this was not made in any large numbers.
The saloon was a design based on the successful Ford “Y” type and looked very similar to the contemporary Morris 8.
Competitors – Singer Bantam, Morris 8 and Ford Y
In order to compete with these vehicles, Singer had to add something extra, so even the “Popular” model was fitted with hydraulic brakes and 12 volt electrics, whilst the “Deluxe” version also came with a sliding sunshine roof, chrome bumpers, a rear luggage rack, leather seats and a rear window blind. There was a standard range of colours available, mainly black, with a panel of colour on the sides below window level. However, in practice, there were many other colour schemes sold that did not feature in the brochures.
In 1937, Singer offered an upgraded Bantam using the same body shell but with the addition of all the optional extras and a clutchless gearchange. This was sold as the Singer Super 9 for just a few months.
1938 saw the arrival of a new Singer Bantam model which featured a 1074cc overhead cam engine, with a three bearing crankshaft to take the extra power but still mated to a three speed gearbox. Easy clean wheels were fitted as standard and the hydraulic brakes were replaced by an older rod operated system for economy. This was the last of the Bantam models and was sold until the outbreak of war in 1939.
Singer Motors were exporting cars worldwide and had considerable success in Australia, where they were only allowed to sell a rolling chassis, which must be bodied and finished locally. The Flood Company, offered a Roadster body on the Singer Bantam which sold well and was said to have been the inspiration for the launch of the Singer Roadster in 1939, which was itself based on the Bantam platform.