GAUK Motors Property

1905 Invicta Tricar

The Invicta name has been associated with bicycles and cars although the former were manufactured in Birmingham from 1890 and the latter in Surrey and London, but not until 1925. However, according to The Motor Cycle edition of October 1905, Invicta Forecars, also known as Tricars, were manufactured in Clapham by W.B. Barnes. The article describes the 1906 model equipped with a Stevens vertical-twin engine and includes a photograph of another equipped with a J.A.P. V-twin. It refers to the body manufacturer as Plater of Birmingham.

This example was found at the Old Rectory at Walton on the Wolds, Leicestershire, in 1954, and is thought to have belonged to the local rector, Montague Bird, who died in 1941. Supporting this, images of the car still exist and a resident of Walton on the Wolds was mentioned in the Loughborough Monitor in November, 1954, saying that she had travelled in a Forecar with Mr. Bird although it appears that he owned two. This example was purchased in late 1954 by a private collector in Gloucestershire who owned several vintage motorcycles and cars and did not carry out any restoration on the Forecar apart from acquiring new wheel rims for it. He sold it to a private collector and VMCC stalwart in Leicester in 1999 who restored it over a ten-year period. It obtained a UK MOT in 2009.

The U-shaped tubular chassis was found to be holed and paper-thin in places and was re-tubed, using the original castings. The Coventry-made, water-cooled, 636cc Hubbard engine was in good condition as was the Humber gearbox, these having matching numbers and needing little more than minor attention. Most of the front bodywork is original, the rear is substantially original but the wings were copied from the skeletal remains. The radiator was missing and a new one was copied from a photograph. The wheel and steering are original while the Chater-Lea slide controls were made new to pattern. New 28×3 B.E. rims and tyres complement the original hubs and axles.

Ths Forecar was dated and certificated as being from 1905 by the Sunbeam Motor Cycle Club, a determination supported by the date of the original London registration number, LC3433. It was acquired for the NZ Classic Motorcycles collection in June 2009, at an auction in Kidlington, Oxfordshire.