Invicta Type NLC 4 1/2 litre LWB Tourer by Cadogan

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Type NLC 4 1/2 litre LWB Tourer by Cadogan





The larger engine was used in the William Watson designed 1929 4½ litre NLC chassis available in short 9 feet 10 inches (3.00 m) or long 10 feet 6 inches (3.20 m) versions, but the less expensive A Type replaced the NLC in 1930.

This engine was to power the 'A' and 'S' type cars and few contemporary cars could match the Invicta 4½-litre cars for torque and outright performance. The High Chassis cars arguably offered greater touring comfort than their contemporary Low Chassis siblings.

The Series A Invicta first appeared in August 1930 and we understand that this car was first registered on 2nd January 1931, making it therefore of 1930 manufacture. Corsica Coachworks of Grimaldi Street, North London, were the favoured coachbuilder. Corsica never exhibited at Olympia and the operation never had more than twenty employees.

Launched at the 1930 Motor Show at Olympia, the S-type featured an all new 'under-slung' chassis that achieved a much lower centre of gravity by positioning the axles above the frame rails instead of below as was normal practice at the time. Just about the only thing the S-type Invicta had in common with its contemporary stablemates was the 4½-litre Meadows engine, which was also used for the 'NLC' and 'A' models. Like most low-revving engines it delivered ample torque in the lower and middle speed ranges. Indeed, the Invicta can be throttled down to 6-8mph in top gear - despite its relatively high 3.6:1 final drive ratio - and will then accelerate rapidly and without complaint when the accelerator is depressed. Contemporary motoring press reports typically recorded acceleration figures of 10-70mph in 19 seconds, which speaks volumes for the Invicta's legendary flexibility. About 75 were made.

The popular '100mph Invicta' tag notwithstanding, standard cars had a still impressive top speed of around 95mph with more to come in racing trim. However, it must be stressed that the S-type Invicta was primarily a very fast but comfortable high-speed touring car, and though it met with moderate success in racing in the hands of private owners in the early 1930s, its greatest appeal lies in an ability to cover a substantial mileage at high average speeds with no strain, either to driver or the machinery. Raymond Mays, writing of the two Invictas he owned in the early 1930s, says that they gave him some of the most exhilarating motoring he ever had, with their ability 'to crest most main-road hills at nearly the century.

The Austrian Alpine Trail was chosen as a suitable test and the S-type duly excelled in this arduous event, Donald Healey twice winning a Coupe des Glaciers for Invicta as well as the 1931 Monte Carlo Rally. Later, the S-type took the International Sports Car Record at Shelsley Walsh hill climb and, by way of variety, the Mountain Circuit lap record at Brooklands in 1931 and again in 1932, courtesy of Raymond Mays.

Invictas are about as indestructible in normal use as a car can be. Over 70 years after the last car left the Cobham factory, approximately 68 of the 75-or-so S-types built are known to survive and most are in excellent order, testifying to the fact that they have always been regarded as high quality motor cars. Indeed, in pre-war days there was a club dedicated exclusively to the model and members famously christened individual cars with names like 'Scythe', 'Scrapper' and 'Sea Lion'.

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