10 of the best: single wipers

It’s often said that lists are a very good way of boosting a website’s search engine optimisation. The theory being that people will be searching for “the 10 best x” or the “best y for z”. That kind of thing.

PetrolBlog has never been one to chase such nonsense. We’re far happier occupying the lock-up garage under the arches than chasing the dizzy heights of stardom. Just as long as we have 50p to put in the electricity meter and a packet of Hobnobs on the go, we’ll be alright, Jack.

But the idea of lists got us thinking. What would a PetrolBlog ’10 of the best” feature actually look like. They’d certainly be lists that only a select few individuals would actually be searching for. So we thought we’d kick things off with a very PetrolBloggy topic – 1o of the best cars with single wipers.

Because as we all know, cars just look better with single wipers. If the great man had still been alive, we’d fully expect a tip of the hat from L.J.K Setright for this list.

And as you can see, the list of cars is tremendously PetrolBloggy.

Single wiper: Audi A2

Single wiper Audi A2

Wiper fact: thanks to the combination of a well-engineered single wiper and Audi’s super-light aluminium body, the A2 would rock from side to side when stationary and with the wipers turned on.

Single wiper: BMW M1

Single wiper BMW M1

Wiper fact: Mary Anderson is credited as inventing the windscreen wiper, with her 1903 patent for a “window cleaning device for electric cars and other vehicles to remove snow, ice or sleet from the window”.

Single wiper: Citroën CX

Single wiper Citroen CX

Wiper fact: we could have selected any number of Citroëns for this feature, including the Visa, AX, BX or ZX. But this Citroën CX photo is just full of windscreen wiper win.

Single wiper: Fiat Panda MK1

Single wiper MK1 Fiat Panda

Wiper fact: this period Fiat Panda photo shows a young Fabio Capello skiing with his great friend, Sheena Easton, on the hills just north of Kettering.

Single wiper: Lancia Stratos

Single wiper Lancia Stratos

Wiper fact: Bosch is the largest manufacturer of bracket less wiper blades, with over 33 million in service. Its facility in Belgium produces 350,000 wipers every day.

Single wiper: Mercedes-Benz W124

Single wiper Mercedes-Benz W124

Wiper fact: Mercedes-Benz pioneered the ‘Monoblade’ system, widely considered to be the ultimate single wiper mechanism. The blade extends outwards during the sweep, covering more of the windscreen. An ingenious design that is not to be confused with the Monobrow.

Single wiper: Renault Sport Spider

Single wiper Renaultsport Spider

Wiper fact: all 96 UK Renault Sport Spiders were delivered with a windscreen, rather than the funky, but impractical air-deflectors you’d find in sunnier climes.

Single wiper: Renault Twingo MK1

Single wiper Renault Twingo

Wiper fact: the chap in this photo is going into great detail about the brilliance of the rain-sensing wipers found on the Citroën SM. A young Katie Hopkins looks far from impressed.

Single wiper: SEAT Ibiza MK1

Single wiper MK1 Seat Ibiza

Wiper fact: try as it may, SEAT will never, ever build an Ibiza as cool as the ‘System Porsche’ MK1. Alloy wheels and single wiper combination equals perfection.

Single wiper: Vauxhall VX220

Single wiper Vauxhall VX220

Wiper fact: according to Lotus owners, the single wiper found on the VX220 is heavier, softer and not as nice looking as the one found on the Elise.

Single wiper: Volkswagen Scirocco MK1

Single wiper MK1 VW Scirocco

Wiper fact: how did Volkswagen improve on perfection? By adding a single wiper to Giorgetto Giugiaro’s glorious MK1 Scirocco in 1977.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that there are 11 cars above, but hey, who’s counting? They’re in good company, too, as we could have included the likes of the McLaren F1, Ferrari F40, Lamborghini Countach and Lotus Esprit.

Today, the single wiper honour is kept alive by the likes of the new Toyota Aygo, Citroën C1 and Peugeot 108 collective, as well as the Alfa Romeo 4C and McLaren P1.

They may be more expensive when they go wrong and – aside from Merc’s Monoblade – they don’t perform as well as their twin wiper cousins, but in PetrolBlog’s books, single wipers are simply better.


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Gavin Big-Surname
The chief waffler and founder of PetrolBlog in 2010. Has a rather unhealthy obsession with cars from the 80s and 90s, and is on a one-man mission to collect the cars nobody else wants. Also likes tea and Hobnobs.


  1. June 28, 2014

    Let’s not be Mercedes-Benz-model-ist here, the W201 190E used the same “jumping” mechanism but was launched a couple of years before the W124.

    I’m actually ashamed I’ve just written that…


    • July 2, 2014
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Ha! Don’t be ashamed. You’re amongst friends here.

  2. June 28, 2014
    Ken Hindle-May

    I can testify to the A2’s rocking motion. It was more pronounced on the later models, which had a heavier and more effective ‘floppy’ type wiper.

    I remember from my short-lived Max Power phase (which ended abruptly the day I actually bought a car) that there was a trend for single-wiper conversions in the mid-90s, no doubt influenced by the W124.

    • July 2, 2014
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Yes, I remember the single-wiper trend. Possibly influenced by touring cars, too?

  3. June 30, 2014

    I think it’s time Petrolblog dedicated an article to REAR wipers and how ridiculously small and useless they have become on modern cars.

    Please google “Citroen DS5 rear window wiper” and you will see what I mean.

    • June 30, 2014

      If you could see out the back of the car, why would you spend £650 on the bleepy bumper thing?

    • July 2, 2014
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Ha! Good idea.

      List your nominations here… 😉

  4. July 2, 2014
    Peter Burgess

    Setright was a stubborn old bastard-and he revelled in being one. I argued for an hour with him over dinner years ago on this very subject, but he wouldn’t let logic get in the way. A single wiper was best. That’s it.

    • July 2, 2014
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      What a legend!

      Of course, I’m now incredibly envious of your dinner with Setright.

      Surely he’d be one of the first on the invitation list of a ‘Carlsberg dinner party’…

      • July 4, 2014
        Peter Counsell

        Russell Bulgin


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