Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Unvanquished Tough Nut From Chippenham - Invicta S1

Invicta is a name that has popped up from time to time in the automotive industry since 1900 when the name appeared on cars made in Finchley, London until 1905. The following year, 1906, the Invicta name was intended to be used by a vehicle manufacturer in Turin.

A third unrelated incarnation of the Invicta name was used by Clarks Eng. Wrks Ltd in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire in 1914.

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The fourth and to date most successful incarnation of Invicta appeared when Noel Macklin teamed up with Tate & Lyle sugar heir Oliver Lyle in 1925. Based in Cobham, Surrey they aimed to build a range of vehicles that matched Rolls Royce for quality and Bentley for speed using proprietary 6 cylinder Meadows engines until it's demise in 1935.

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The fourth incarnation of Invicta achieved a fair ampun of publicity as a result of Noel Macklins sister in law Violette Cordery being awarded the Dewar Trophy in 1926 after averaging a fraction over 70 mph over 5,000 miles (8,000 kms) at Montlhery and again in 1929 after driving 30,000 miles (48,000 kms) in 21 days averaging a fraction over 61 mph at Brooklands. Donald Healey also won the Monte Carlo Rally outright in 1931, despite bending the chassis in an accident in Norway soon after the start of the event.

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In 1946 the Invicta company was reformed in Virginia Water and produced a Meadows powered Black Prince, only 16 of which were manufactured before production ceased and the brand name was sold to Frazer Nash the vehicle manufacturer, not the same Frazer Nash that bought the remains of the Bristol Car Company recently.

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The Invicta name has also twice been used by Buick as a model name.

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The most recent incarnation of the Invicta vehicle brand surfaced in 2004 with this monster of a sports car, built in Chippenham, available with up to 600 hp from a hand built Ford Special Vehicles Team (SVT) supplied V8.

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Carrying the same name as the most successful pre-war model, used to win the Monte Carlo Rally in 1931, the S1 is built around a steel tube space frame featuring a safety roll cage and is claimed to be the strongest chassis ever tested by UK safety officials.

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The body, designed by Leigh Adams and his Automotive Design & Prototyping studio, is a single piece of carbon fibre which further reinforces the chassis strength.

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Invicta claim the S1 will reach 60 mph from rest in 3.8 seconds and that the aerodynamics will keep the car stable to over 200 mph.... where permitted.

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Production of the S1 is limited to 50 per year, when I was on my way to Castle Combe last weekend I heard one and then saw it come cruising past in my rear view mirror, this car has an awesome presence when on the move.

Thanks for joining me for this unvanquished edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres' I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don't forget to come back now !