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Sample Article No 1 from the March-April 2012 MASCOT

1905 Singer Tri-Car - from Rodney Cane

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I am wondering how many photos of a Singer Tri-Car the Editor receives in an average week?  Probably very few, but here is one I have just received in the ‘Friends of Kiplin Hall’ Newsletter, which we receive because my wife’s uncle, Tom Prime, became Warden of Kiplin Hall soon after the death of Bridget, the last of the Talbots, whose family home it was.


The photo was in one of 15 boxes of archive material deposited at the North County Record Office in Northallerton, containing thousands of 19th and 20th Century family documents, letters and photographs.  So far, two volunteers have scanned over 6,500 images (about half of the boxes) and catalogued them on a searchable database.  Kiplin Hall was in the top 4 of the ‘Hidden Gems’ in the ‘Hudson’s Heritage’ awards.

The Tri-Car is said to be a 9hp from around 1905 and is being driven by

Geoffrey Talbot in around 1913, when he worked for the East Indian Railway Company.  No doubt this one finished up in an Indian scrap-yard years ago, so Ian North can relax in the



comfort of knowing his 1907 Singer reigns supreme!The only other picture I have seen of a 1905 Tri-Car is the one on Richard Wheatland’s ‘Singer Cars Through the Years’ poster, one of which hangs above my study desk.  Richard’s Tri-Car looks very similar to the First Singer car made in 1904, but the Talbot’s is completely different and has a passenger seat between the front wheels where I thought was the engine compartment - so where has the engine been moved to?  No doubt you are going to tell me it was, like the Singer Chamois, at the back!

I Export Specification was so fundamentally different from the home market, then I am amazed - it certainly wasn’t during my employment at Humber-Rootes-ChryslerUK- Talbot & Peugeot between 1967 and 1998!

On another subject, my maternal Great Grandfather, Frederick Ritchie, was very early on the scene of car ownership. Have you any idea what the car is that he was driving with his wife Mary?  It was certainly long before Singer started making cars.    

                                 Best wishes,  Rodney.

If, in ‘Year One of the Singer Car Co’, the Export Specification was so fundamentally different from the home market, then I am amazed - it certainly wasn’t during my employment at Humber-Rootes-ChryslerUK- Talbot & Peugeot between 1967 and 1998!


On another subject, my maternal Great Grandfather, Frederick Ritchie, was very early on the scene of car ownership. Have you any idea what the car is that he was driving with his wife Mary?  It was certainly long before Singer started making cars.    

                                 Best wishes,  Rodney.

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Aunty Says:  Thank you, Rodney, for the great story and pictures.  First, I have no idea what make of chariot your Great Grandfather is driving, but hopefully someone will be able to enlighten us.


Also, I have had a quick look at the Kiplin Hall website. It looks a fascinating place and well worth a visit should one ever be in the Richmond area of North Yorkshire.

Regarding the Tri-Car, the only ones depicted in the Singer Story are a 6hp 1905 model and a 9hp from 1906. The stowage box(es) at the rear would appear to be extras.  The engine is below the driver’s seat, and you can see the chain drive to the single rear wheel in Richard’s sketch.

There would appear to be no reason why the two-seater body, presumably already in production for the first Singer car, should not fit between the Tri-Car’s

wheels, except, perhaps, that it would require much stronger rear suspension.  With the 4-wheel car (left) already in production, the additional development necessary would not have been justifiable, which is probably why no more has been seen of this Tri-Car.   

I therefore do not think there is any question about Richard’s Tri-Car being for the home market and Geoffrey’s for export.                                                                                  Best wishes,  Aunty.