This is Peter Stephenson’s beautifully restored 1929 Junior Porlock. Peter tells us the car came with virtually no bodywork, so following a complete mechanical restoration, in which the engine was rebuilt and fully balanced courtesy of Ian Blackburn, I had to set about rebuilding the bodywork from scratch. At the time the company I was working for was building part of the M25 motorway, (the section around Potters Bar). I had to visit the site regularly and knew of a Porlock in nearby Kent. The car seemed original apart from the rear wings, which were unusually flared at the back to follow the shape of the boat tail. I have never seen this car since, and no longer have the contact details of the owner, who was happy to help in my quest for information. Each time I visited the site my evenings were spent measuring and copying shapes and curves until I had the information I needed to make a start.
I remember it took me four weeks to complete the ash framework, although the aluminium panelling took me significantly longer, as this was a skill that thus far had remained largely untested. The company I worked for had a large mechanical workshop and I was fortunate to be given unlimited access to a variety of machinery, such that rolling the bonnet tops and cutting louvres in the bonnet sides became a much less daunting prospect.
The finished bodywork was painted in the distinctive green and grey which was the only colour scheme available when the car was introduced in 1929. Unfortunately road use in its early years was marred by constant failure of the rebuilt magneto which failed year after year. The magneto was eventually converted to run as a distributor with a coil, which sorted the reliability problem, although she still struggles when the electrics get damp. Nevertheless, the car is fun to drive and is quite nippy for such an early vehicle.
These pictures were taken at Athelhampton House on the recent trip to Dorset for our George Singer Day and 2013 Singer Car National Weekend. The Porlock is the Sports model of the Singer Junior range, and gets its name from the epic feat on 4 December 1928, when, under RAC scrutiny, a Junior Sports made 100 consecutive ascents of the notorious Porlock Hill in Somerset. The model was thereafter called the Porlock.