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The Sharpe Family Collection, Christies (1 July 2005)

Blue with blue interior.

Engine: four cylinders in line, overhead valves, twin Solex carburettors, 1,494cc, 60bhp at 4,500rpm; Gearbox: automatic; Suspension: front, independent wishbones with coil springs, rear, semi-elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: drums all round. Right hand drive.
Among founding fathers of the British motor industry was a gentleman by the name of George Singer, another Coventry-based cycle manufacturer with an enviable reputation for the quality of his wares. By the end of the Nineteen Thirties Singer was ranked as the UK's third largest motor manufacturer, having continuously spearheaded new technologies such as clutchless gearchange through the use of fluid coupling, and independent front suspension. This standing had been cemented by successes on the competition circuit, including Le Mans entries, ever since the "Ten" had held all of Brooklands' one- to nine-hour records in 1913.

Unfortunately, despite this apparent strength, Singer was not immune to the chaos and upheaval that claimed so much of Britain's industry in the late 1940s and 1950s. Evasion of the liquidator forced amalgamation into the Rootes Group and the Gazelle was a direct result of this merger intended, as Lord Rootes himself put it, "to inject new life into the arteries of this old and distinguished firm." First appearing in 1956, it was largely a badge-engineered Hillman Minx, although the Singer guise was more elegant, better trimmed and equipped, and used Singer's own 1,497cc OHC engine. The Gazelle's evolution was continuous; the Series IIA gained Hillman's more economical single-carburettor 1,494cc OHV engine and recirculating ball steering, while twin Solex carburettors were added for the Series IIIA, and a hypoid-bevel rear axle for the Series IIIB.

Once again, the example offered today is a true rarity in terms of its originality and its condition. Formerly belonging to the meticulous Mr R.J.Kemp-Jarvis of Southend-on-Sea, this Series IIIB model was almost certainly manufactured in 1961, having the chassis number 7694 out of 8,271 units built. The exterior sports its original blue paintwork with a white stripe, and is in very good condition bar some minor pitting on some areas of the chrome. The blue vinyl interior, highlighted with white piping, is in similarly good condition and would seem to corroborate the 22,000 miles shown on the odometer. When inspected by a Christie's specialist, the car proved to run well, and even retains its original owner's handbook, an owner's voucher book with warranty, and an impressive amount of early service history. However it does not currently have a V5 document.

Lot Details
Auction The Sharpe Family Collection
Christies, Essex
Lot Number661
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£4112
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating0
Registration numberXJN 534
Chassis numberB 7037694
Engine numberB 7037694
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors