Saturday 24 January 2009

Full circle

This is a Singer Chamois - the posh version of the Hillman Imp.

It was a rather natty little car produced by the Rootes Group, and is a less well remembered competitor to the Mini. Whilst the Mini won the affections of the buying public, the Singer Chamois, never came close to achieving the same fame. It did, however, help bankrupt the company that made it - much like the Mini helped bankrupt British Leyland.

We had a Singer Chamois when I was a boy and I loved it. It was a rather elegant Bournville chocolate brown with a sporty white stripe along the side. It was Grandma in Cyprus' first car after she passed her test and was bought by my father after he failed to persuade her of the virtues of a Triumph Herald Convertible. Far too racy I think. The Singer was fab, and as far as I remember let us down only the once - the accelerator cable broke. So Grandma in Cyprus was sternly instructed how to drive the car to the garage without an accelerator. At 5mph. I don't think the other cars on the road appreciated it very much. It used to regularly take us down from Hertfordshire to sunny Eastbourne to GinC's mother. So that'll be Great Grandma by the sea. And it was long before the M25 was even a glimmer in some road planner's eye. Our Singer Chamois' registration number was MYH 583D.

And this is a KTM Super Duke.

A 990cc piece of unsurpassed Austrian engineering. It's very noisy. And when I pluck up the courage will be very quick. Indeed. The boy loves it. And soon it will take me long distances. It too has been bought by my father. Or at least with some of the money he left in his still to be resolved will. The registration number is GX 58 MYH.

And how fitting is that?


  1. I think with that very similar number plate, fate is telling you something!!

  2. I'm sure your mid life crisis will be so much more enjoyable with your new toy.

    Loved the full circleness of it .

  3. Smashing little car and the bike is something too. makes my mosky and franny barnett look a bit sick. You might like to glance at blog dated 22 May. The Joys of Motoring.

  4. Sorry but I prefer the Chamois, fine (and far from middle-aged) though you look on the motorbike in all the gear!

    And I don't want to rain on your parade RTFM but I knew a guy who lost 5 friends in the space of a year in motorbike accidents (at which point his girlfriend made him sell his!). Can you really afford to take any risks on such overcrowded brutal roads these days what with the Boy?

    Take a flying lesson or two - that'll count for far more when chatting up the chicks (even though pssst, it's safer in terms of derring-do)

  5. Rosiero..I thonk so too

    AG...I deny all references to MLF

    Ken- yes the and was lovely and I've read Joys of Motoring now too...and left a comment. What an excellent blog you write. I shall keep much to catch up on!

    Laura, there's no denying you're right. I have a real weakness for things well designed, and the bike falls into that category. I scooter or cycle to work everyday, so I hope I've not increased the danger factor. And this summer I am planning to do paragliding/hang gliding lessons (again).

  6. The Singer Chamois was such a cute car, and what a coincidence over the registrations. You and your new toy were obviously made for each other.

  7. Hi, just come across your blog and I'm enjoying it.Also just had a look at your other blog site too and found it very emotional.
    Fraid i don't know anything about cars or bikes, apart from the fact I have a 'K' reg polo, and I love it.
    Just one point, could you please tell me what RTFM means please?

  8. P.S. I love ice age and kill bill, and It's nice to meet somebody else who does too.

  9. Hi Janet...I agree!

    Annette - shamefacedly, I must admit tha RTFM stands for Read The F****ing Manual. It's what I do when I've spent hours failing to build an Ikea cabinet....! Can't get much more contrasting than Ice Age and Kill Bill...but can watch them again and again and again!

  10. Hi There. Interesting blog.

    Here's a car/bike/blogpost link: The Imp engine was successfully transplanted into a racing motorcycle sidecar frame, in the late 60's. It was known as the Rhombus 4 and was quick. I watched it quite a few times at Oulton Park, as a teen.

    As for bikes now,
    "Ride Steady = Live Long". The Duke is brilliant (as is my R1150GS) and it was a toss up which one I went for, but as it would be more commuter than mile eater the Beemer won. I still love V twins though (the other bike's a Harley). I don't commute much any more so the Duke is still a def poss.

    For what its worth, take some refresher training whenever you can. I have ridden for 40 years, was a police biker, but still take a training course now and then and you always learn something. Ride safe!

  11. Hogday...a car engine in a sidecar...wild! My stepfather used to race cars, and he knew of someone who bolted a couple of bike engines into a was a flyer! Thanks for the helpful hints...and I shall gratefully take the advice to get regular refreshers.

  12. Hi NB. Good for you. This is the sort of thing I mean. I did the 1st of the i2i machine control days and I cannot praise it enough.

    I also did one of these rides. Not normally a group rider, it was a good way to join others if you didn't fancy going it alone.

    Thanks for visiting my blog, by the way.


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