Bytes & Pieces March 2011

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Phillip
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Bytes & Pieces March 2011

Postby Phillip » Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:25 pm

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BILL VAUGHAN & THE LONG ARM OF THE LAW...

Back in 2002 I kicked off the research in fibreglass bodied Singers with an article on the Vaughan -Singer ‘Vibrin’ Roadster, which I discovered used the fibreglass body of a Glaspar G2. This led to communications with Bill Hoover of the Glaspar Owners Club as well as Bill Tritt, the man behind Glaspar’s fibreglass car body production. We confirmed the story behind the car and debunked the advertised myth that many ‘Vibrins’ had been produced in factories located in Florida and California by ace Singer distributor William 'Bill' Vaughan. One very telling comment from Bill Tritt was his memory of Vaughan as ‘mainly a promoter’. Indeed, much of the hype that Vaughan surrounded himself with was just that. The Vibrin Roadster was just as still-born as Vaughan’s other projects, the SS Wildcat and the special Fuller bodied SM 1500 Roadsters.

Vaughan was good at selling it seems, especially himself. One bio claims him as an actor having been featured in over 55 Broadway plays, designer of the US Army’s first airborne Jeep and a professional stock car driver, both in the USA and abroad! He registered many companies in his name including Fiat Sales & Service, Singer Motor Sales, Vaughan – Singer Motors, Peugeot Sales Service, Vaughan Motors and Vaughan Imported Cars, Inc. Vaughan must have had reasonably deep pockets to carry on these activities, as well as having commissioned special cars built for him such as the SS Wildcat, Vaughan –Singer Vibrin and Singer Ghia – Aigle Coupe.

Occasionally, however, his activities found him on the wrong side of the law!

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Court Header copy.gif (9.03 KiB) Viewed 1951 times

In 1957 Vaughan was hauled into court for a special proceeding, pending trial, by Italian car maker FIAT for unauthorised use of their brand name. Vaughan’s connection to FIAT went back to June of 1947 when he evidently inked a deal to sell and service their cars in the USA, which he was still apparently doing in Manhattan at the time of the court case. FIAT’s lawyers, Garfield and Wrubel, sought to have Vaughan forced to stop using the name FIAT in his business and to cancel the phone number connected with that business. Unfortunately, Vaughan had the same number for many of his other car businesses and therefore the Court ruled that Vaughan had to only remove the listing for FIAT Sales & Service. To further complicate the matter, neither FIAT nor Vaughan could agree that both parties had any real business arrangement in the first place!

Vaughan WIldcat SS_colour copy.gif
Vaughan WIldcat SS_colour copy.gif (27.7 KiB) Viewed 1951 times

One thing is clear: The motive power of Vaughan’s SS Wildcat, built on an Abarth chassis, was almost certainly FIAT and he had hinted at a V8! Did he really think he could have secured the rare 8V ‘Otto Vu’ engine for that car??!! As ever, Vaughan was thinking big!

Phillip Avis, Editor


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Your Friendly Canadian Pre-War Singer Specialist, Collector & Historian,
Editor & Pre-War Registrar & Canadian Contact -NASOC
Singer Enthusiast for over 40 Years.
'28 Senior, '33 & '34 Sports, '36 Le Mans SS & Bantam

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