Slow thrills in Jon’s Singer Le Mans

RACV RoyalAuto magazine

It’s a case of unhurried substance over style when Jon Yeo takes his 1934 Singer Le Mans for a spin.  

Written by Kathryn Kernohan. Photos by Meredith O’Shea.
April 2018.

Jon Yeo isn’t one for wanting to draw attention to himself. But when he’s cruising around town in his classic 1934 Singer Le Mans, he can’t help but turn heads.

“A lot of people look and sometimes wave or nod their head,” he says.

“People come up to me and reflect on being taught to drive in cars like mine, or how their grandfather would take them on rides when they were young. I love the stories.”

Jon is the curator of TEDxMelbourne, an annual event that draws together storytellers, artists and adventurists. He’s also had a penchant for classic cars since he used to hit the road in a Singer Le Mans owned by a friend’s father.

Simpler times

“The car was an absolute joy to drive, I love that period where things seemed simpler.”

Singer was one of Britain’s top car manufacturers between 1875 and 1970. Its vehicles were designed to race in the world-renowned 24 Hours of Le Mans event in France, and the Singer Le Mans won a number of hill climbs, trials and endurance races.

Before he bought his green Singer Le Mans from a member of a car club he belonged to in 2001, Jon used to drive a famous two-door, rear-wheel-drive Lotus Elise. While he loved both cars, he was drawn to “the thrill of driving at lower speeds on the older car”.

Its classic look “is a winner for me”, but Jon says his Singer is far more about substance over style.

'I love the experience of driving this car. They are unhurried, mostly because they don’t have that much power, and I love to cruise and enjoy the ride.’

“The feel and feedback of my car is better than almost all the modern cars I’ve driven, probably because of the driver aids like power steering. Modern cars make us lazy drivers – you really just jump in and hold on.”

And Jon’s partner? “She loves it and drives it as much as I do.”

When not drawing together thinkers and innovators for TEDxMelbourne, Jon can be found cruising around some of his favourite spots in Victoria.

“You can’t go wrong with the Great Ocean Road,” he says, “but [also] anywhere the road twists and turns.”

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