1929 Invicta 4½-Litre Tourer Chassis no. LC223


1929 Invicta 4½-Litre Tourer Coachwork by Cadogan Registration no. XV 8823 Chassis no. LC223 •Single family ownership from new to December 2017 •One of the fastest sports cars of its day •Rare early example •Recent sympathetic professional restoration •Eligible for VSCC and other prestigious events Footnotes: 'To drive, or be driven, in the new 4½-litre Invicta sports model is to experience something quite new in motoring. The way in which it will swoop up steep hills on top gear, passing on the way vehicles grinding away on their lower ratios is a revelation. 'The Invicta is a perfectly well-bred town car, even in its 100mph trim, and will run quite comfortably at about 7mph on top gear. It is, consequently, well suited to driving on congested roads or in dense city traffic.' – The Motor. In its all-too-short lifetime, Invicta carved out an enviable reputation for building fine sporting motor cars, the bigger Meadows-engined models in particular offering class-leading performance and impeccable build quality. The origins of the company known as Invicta Cars go back to 1925 when Noel Macklin and Oliver Lyle, both of whom already had motor industry experience, got together to create a car combining American levels of flexibility and performance with European quality and roadholding. Like the contemporary Bentley, the Invicta was designed by people with backgrounds in competition motoring and both were produced to the highest standard. Price was only a secondary consideration, a factor that contributed to both firms' failure to survive the Depression years of the early 1930s. Like Bentley, Invicta struggled against rising costs and falling sales, the final car leaving the factory, appropriately enough, on Friday 13 October 1933, though a handful of cars were assembled at the company's service depot in Flood Street, Chelsea between 1934 and 1936. It is estimated that approximately 1,000-or-so Invictas of all types were made. Apart from three Coventry Climax-engined prototypes built at Macklin's home in Cobham, Surrey, all Invictas were powered by the tireless six-cylinder engines made by Henry Meadows. Invicta cars quickly established a reputation for outstanding durability, bolstered by the award of the RAC's coveted Dewar Trophy in 1926 and 1929, largely for the marque's successes in long-distance reliability trials, including a 10,000-mile 'around-the-world' trip by sisters Violette and Evelyn Cordery, who also completed a '30,000 miles in 30,000 minutes' trial at Brooklands. In 1928, Invicta introduced a new 30hp model powered by the ubiquitous Meadows 4½-litre six, which was first shown to the public at the Olympia Motor Show in October. This was substantially the same as the existing 3-Litre chassis, though the gearbox and rear axle were strengthened and a pressed channel-section cross member fitted behind the gearbox, replacing the previous small-diameter tube. Finished to Rolls-Royce standards, the 4½-Litre chassis cost a staggering £985 at a time when the average UK house price was £590! It would go on to form the basis of the successor NLC and famous S-Type 'low chassis' sports model. Like most low-speed engines, the Meadows six produced ample torque in the lower and middle speed ranges. Indeed, the Invicta can be throttled down to 6-8mph in top gear and will then accelerate rapidly and without fuss, still in top gear, when the accelerator is depressed. The acceleration figures given by the contemporary motoring press speak for themselves on this subject. Indeed, in 1930 the Cordery sisters drove their '30,000 miles in 30,000 minutes' high chassis tourer from London to Edinburgh in top gear. This same car was then driven by Donald Healey in that year's Alpine Trial, winning its class. The 4½-litre Invicta had few equals as a very fast but comfortable high-speed touring car, its greatest appeal being an ability to cover big mileages at high average speeds with no strain, either to driver or the machinery. A long-chassis model, the early Invicta 4½-Litre offered here carries four-seat open tourer coachwork by the London-based coachbuilder Cadogan, which during the mid-to-late 1920s specialised in producing sporting bodies for quality makes including Bentley, Packard and, of course, Invicta. Remarkably, 'XV 8233' was owned from new by the same family for some 88 years and comes with the original sales receipt showing that the car was purchased on 16 January 1929. Almost certainly manufactured towards the end of 1928, it was bought from the Connaught Motor & Carriage Co Ltd of London, the sole concessionaires. In 1964 the original owner died and the Invicta passed to his son, from whose estate it was offered for sale at Bonhams' Olympia auction in December 2017 (Lot 248). Purchased there by the current vendor, the car has since benefited from a no-expense-spared sympathetic restoration by highly respected specialists Neil Twyman (mechanicals) and James E Pearce (bodywork), in excess of £95,000 being spent (detailed bills on file). Sympathetically restored, yet still in outstandingly original condition, this magnificent motor car comes with a history file containing fascinating original paperwork; an instruction book; contemporary advertisements; sales brochures, etc, etc. A wonderful opportunity to own a rare early example of this important Vintage-era British sports car. For further information on this lot please visit Bonhams.com


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