Invicta 1931

4½-Litre A-Type  
4½-Litre S-Type – new model

Great Britain

4½-Litre Type S
Motor SportMarch 1931
Motor SportMarch 1931
Motor SportMarch 1931
The Story of a Car's Advance to Fame.

THE history of a sports car is a history of individualism. In other branches of industry the attainment of an ideal is always subject to the domination of more sordid considerations of production, appeal to the masses, and drastic economy of manufacture. In the case of any sports car worthy of the name these considerations must always be subordinated to the main idea of the designer to produce something which will fulfil a definite purpose with the greatest possible efficiency, and by introducing individual features embodying its designer's ideals, so create a new demand as well as filling one which already exists.
In the case of the ordinary motor cars which today fill so excellently the transport requirements of the age there is nothing outstandingly new in the performance or mechanism of the cars themselves. They improve in value, economy, and convenience, but to ride in one is merely to make use of one of the advances of this century, rather than to undergo a new experience or feel enthusiasm for hitherto unknown possibilities in motoring.
The breaking of this new ground is left to the enterprising few, who are never satisfied with things as they are, to exercise their imagination in setting new standards, and then to turn these standards into practical possibilities. To such a class belong the pioneers behind the Invicta car, which in a few short years has sprung from quiet but purposeful beginnings to the position of being able to boast of records and achievements unequalled in the world of automobiles.
Although it was not until five years ago that the first car bearing this name was put on the market, Capt. Macklin, who is chiefly responsible for the design and development of this marque has been, since long before the war a motoring enthusiast. His enthusiasm was combined with very exacting requirements of what a motor car should be able to do, and the way in which it should do it.
However the war put an end to all activities of this sort, and it was not until 1925 that Capt. Macklin commenced designing and experimenting with the Invicta. His aim in building this car was, above all things, to provide a really lively performance combined with extreme flexibility on top gear, as he did not see why it should be necessary to indulge in excessive gearchanging. The first of these models was a very snappy little car, having a wheelbase of 8ft. 4ins. only and its light weight gave it an excellent performance in the way of acceleration. Having a fairly low top gear of 4.5 to 1 the maximum speed was little over 65 m.p.h. but even this was good going for a car of its type in those days. Later, owing to the demand for increased body space on this model, the wheelbase was lengthened by a foot.
In the hands of Miss Violette Cordery, whose name has been associated with many of the best performances of the make in competitions, this car annexed numerous awards at Southport meetings and similar events. To demonstrate the top gear-performance many hills, usually considered stiff enough for trials work, were climbed on top gear. Pebblecombe in Surrey was a favourite venue for this stunt, and was certainly a difficult test for a top gear climb.
Following the 2½-litre of 1926 came the 3-litre model which will be much better known to most of our readers in view of the numerous long distance records which it set up. Many will remember the occasion on which the 25,000 kilometres record was put up to 89.64 kilometres per hour at Monza. This attempt was chiefly memorable for the crash that occurred during the attempt owing to one of the drivers falling asleep at the wheel. In spite of the damage to the car, repairs were proceeded with on the spot and the attempt was carried through successfully.
The 3-litre was on similar lines to the older car in the fact of being light for its power, and the larger engine gave it an even better range on top gear. This car had a 10ft. wheelbase and a 4ft. 4in. track, and one of its first appearances was the occasion of its attacking the 5,000 mile record under R.A.C. observation, and completing the distance at the remarkable average speed of 70.7 m.p.h. and for this performance was awarded the Dewar Trophy for the most meritorious observed performance of the year.
This success developed their enthusiasm still further, and Miss Cordery's next effort in this line was a round-the-world trip under R.A.C. observation, which further proved their reliability. This model continued until 1928 when preparations of the new model were complete, and the 4½-litre was introduced. This car, as might be expected, had a considerably improved performance, as the size and weight of the chassis was very little greater than the old model, though the actual frames and parts were suitably strengthened to deal with the increased power.
By way of demonstrating their confidence in this model, the first one was entered for another R.A.C. observed test in the hands of Miss Cordery. The proposed trial was to show that the car would average 60 m