By Rod Ward
George Singer and William Hillman were born in the same year, 1847, and their careers took remarkably similar paths. Both of them trained as marine engineers, and both went into cycle manufacture during its Victorian heyday, even working for the same company. Singer and Hillman became pioneering car manufacturers, but after William Hillman’s death his firm was taken over by its principal dealers, the Rootes brothers, in the 1920s. The Singer company had a longer independent life, and made some interesting cars in the 1930s. The company struggled after the war, however, and it was acquired by Rootes three decades after their Hillman purchase. Once both marques were in the Rootes group, they became part of a badge-engineering operation. Singer models were positioned slightly upmarket of equivalent Hillman cars, but Singer was the first car make to be discontinued after Chrysler became involved with Rootes.