A profusion of Singer clubs (in the West) and images on the Internet is the result of a long line of classy-looking and high-performance sports cars (including the sporty Nines) produced in the period immediately preceding the War and the one after. In the 1940s, the Singer Nine Roadster seemed to put the MG-TC in the shade. For these reasons, a collector of veteran vehicles looking to add a Singer to his fleet is more likely to look at these cars. Dr. SFV Selvaraj got a Singer Nine alright — but the model is no hotheaded speed machine. A 1934 Singer Nine four-door tourer, it can hope to endear itself to a small family only by accommodating all its members and taking them out on a pleasure trip. More than the image of a family outing on a less sunny Sunday in Chennai, the fact a connoisseur of veteran cars rated the Tourer highly gave him a strong reason to pursue it.

“Prithvi Ganapathi is a Bangalore-based collector and restorer of veteran cars with a breathtaking sweep of knowledge,” says the doctor. “He said there are many two-door Singer roadsters in the world, and only a few four-door tourers.”

Selvaraj's eclectic taste was another reason. A collection straddling the vintage and classic eras is proof that he judges each vehicle on its own merits. Its deceptive appearance is this tourer's foremost attraction. While its look may suggest that the car will just chug along at a leisurely pace, the experience can be surprisingly different. Because, the car (with is 972cc straight-4, ohc engine — a block that was used with variations in the other Nines as well) puts out more than 9 bhp. Not just this tourer, every Singer Nine was more powerful than what the numeral suggested.

In Britain of yore, automobile taxation involved paying a pound for every horse power. To minimise the damage, a bailout ‘bhp calculation package' (known as ‘the D2*N/2.5 method; the D stood for diameter of the cylinder measured in inches and N for the number of cylinders) was arrived at. As the stroke of an engine is left out of the picture, the bhp value is way lower than the truth.

Every time Selvaraj takes a friend around in the car the latter is pleasantly surprised by the tourer's performance. “Are you sure, it is a 9bhp car?” is a recurrent question.

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