If I had to place one car atop my “ultimate wish list,” the S-Type Invicta would almost certainly be the one. I had never seen one in the metal until today–this incredible machine was on display at the Vancouver All British Field Meet.
The S-Type “low chassis” cars were built between 1930 and 1933 (when the company went into receivership). They were powered by the 4.5 litre “Meadows” six-cylinder engine, also found in period Lagondas and other sporting machines. Only about 77 were made–they are treasured to this day for their high performance and exceptional build quality.
This particular car has never been restored. It has patina you could bottle and sell (and I’d be first in line to buy!). It was clean where a wash mitt would easily reach but not clinically antiseptic–a car which is clearly well-loved and enjoyed. With a value easily north of $500,000 I don’t suspect owning one is in the cards for Rusty Heaps, but I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to see this one. Bravo.
I guess in the 1930s they hadn’t yet invented bailing wire and used twine instead? Me thinks the original spoked steering wheel is coming apart.
Actually, the sporting driver of the 1930s would bind the spokes of his sprung steering wheel to make it stiffer–for better feel and more direct steering.
I used to see one of these pretty regularly at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Vintage Race days. That was over 20 years ago, but I remember it well, and it would be pretty high on my list of favorites, too.
As a fortunate owner of one of these cars (acquired it decades ago), there is another reason to bind the spokes. An original wheel is covered with a sort of early cellulose plastic which eventually hardens and cracks as your pic. shows at the rim. Binding helps to hang on to it as long as possible!
The Invicta S-Types are magnificent cars. Join the Invicta Car Club and support the marque.
I’ve wanted an S-Type since Car&Driver had an article about a US owned S. This car has direct ties to another wildly-oversteering sports car, the Austin-Healey. Donald Healy drove an S in rallies during the 30’s, with some success. IIRC, the article captioned the owner as emerging from battle with the car’s “malevolent underpinnings”.
THe Healey car was grey I think, rather like the same colour that James Bond drove in the first of those novels. Except that Bond drove a well used Bentley Blower 4.5 litr in the book. The navigator on the rally alluded to by Mr. Marganski?Alpine or Monte Carlo ?
Ian Fleming !
I had an opportunity to work on and drive one of these S types while caring for it from it’s owner. The owner is now passed away but was living in Iowa. After he passed away, the S was sold by me to Simon Bull of England, the open wheel race car collector. One of the cars pictured above may very well be it. What an opportunity I had!