17/04/2010

Remember the 'Acedes invalid Car'?

Anybody out there remember the dreaded ‘Invalid Carriage’? (full name Acedes invalid car) Thankfully now defunct along with that distasteful word used to describe those unfortunate enough to own one!

Three wheeled with or without hand controls, (well handlebars actually) two stroke 147cc and later 500cc engine with one seat and room for a folding wheelchair accessed via a large sliding door. At top speed it had enough power to cut the entire grass housed in a window box.
Available in any colour providing it was blue but if you were really lucky you could get one with a white roof. Built in Thundersley in Essex they were a real Essex bird babe magnet but only if you were trying to pick up Babe the pig from the movie of the same name!

The shell was made of fibreglass and they were built and supplied by the Health Services from 1933 up until 1977 when government came to their senses and scrapped them. By 2003 government agents crushed all they could lay their hands on, I say ‘crushed’ but I do believe all was needed was a pair of Christmas nut crackers and a strong hand.
Anyway for those interested a run down of these and other disabled motoring beasts can be found here HERE

OK, I'm being a bit strong on the little blue beast, it did at least get the less mobile out and about, to work, shop etc but i'm sure those that remember them are thankful we now have Motability supplying disabled adapted vehicles.

Anybody brave enough to tell us their experiences with the Acedes invalid carriage I’d very much like to hear them, click 'comments' below to leave your post.

23 comments:

  1. Great article, I seem to remember they were all painted pale blue and had the name Ministry Blue for the Ministry of Health, reason for them all being the same colour was so they could be identified as 'disabled drivers' Smacks of discrimination these days, maybe that was the reason they were done away with.

    They had a knickname too, 'mobile roadblocks' Still, I suppose they did get the less mobile out and about.

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  2. Mobile Roadblocks LMAO that sounds about right!

    I'm not sure if the Goverment scrapped the so called cars because of discrimination, more than likely is was a financial thing. Also the Acedes invalid car was scrapped in 1977, Motability started just a year later in 1978.

    Motability now turns over a massive 2.2 BILLION a year and has assets of a mamouth 3.7 BILLION and gues who owns this 'so called charity'?

    Barclays Bank plc, Lloyds Group plc, HSBC Bank plc and Royal Bank of Scotland plc!

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  3. It's amazing how long this once familiar sight went on for though. Last one I saw on the road must have been very late 90s, possibly early 2000s. This version came out in the 60s though -- just to make your 1933 bit clear.

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  4. these cars are EVIL! seriously they are going to overthrow humanity

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  5. Didnt realise the banks owned the motibility thing, ar, but when is camerons crew going to screw it up with the disability scheme... and they certainly will.

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  6. I have one of these blue monsters. with the 197cc Villers engine. Soon to be re-registered for road use, so i can terrorize everyone else on the road!

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  7. When at school in the early seventies I worked part time in a filling station next to one of the service agents for these. We always thought it funny to put many extra shots of 2 stroke oil in and watch 'em disappear down the road leaving a cloud of blue smoke behind. Nasty now I think about it.

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    1. Not good for the engine either... Extra oil in the fuel makes the mixture too lean which can melt pistons!

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  8. A nightmare vechle.. A killer.. my grandad had one and it was nuts...!

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  9. Many folk appear to lose sight of the fact that these vehicles were specialised designs intended to free the invalid person from the restricted confinement only persued by their non motorised wheelchairs and yes,it did all centre around the governmental financial allocated allowances for the disabled,the amounts granted were insufficient to allow a choice of a conventional motor vehicle to be purchased plus having then be converted to the disabled persons requirements in order to allow them to drive it safely.

    Most could not afford to put up the remaining amounts to purchase an ordinary motor car so the government created a vehicle that could be adapted from scratch during the construction to suit the many differing requirements (which could be some 56 varieties i believe.

    As for the colouring once again this was chosen as one specific pigment so it could be bought in quantity thereby keeping costs to the minimum, they were not painted but the glass fibre construction had the same pigment incorporated within the resin as well as the hardened outer gel coating layer.

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  10. Well these blue machines seem to attract a lot of vitriol from the disabled community. They were produced in the UK, and provided a seriously improved level of mobility for many, all FREE for the recipient. They may not have come with a choice of colour, or look 'cool' but they did the job, provided jobs for solid British engineering whereas the current Motability will be providing back-handers to politicians, bankers etc. and costing the country overall a whole lot more. Be grateful for what you are GIVEN, they may have looked kinda crappy but they were designed to get disabled people out and about and on that basis was a roaring success. Learn some humility.

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    1. Good point about being made in rhe UK. I find it odd that this government is quite happy to spend £billions of our money on foreign cars in the mobility scheme.
      And another thing about the current mobility scheme is that it is a license to print money for all the service agents like arnold clark (and others). I know someone who has a mobility car, and always gets a new set of tyres at every service. Ah well its only taxpayers money !

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  11. I own one of the few remaining model 70 Invacars and seem to have acquired quite a few spares to keep it (and many more) going. I always wanted one and finally found a privately owned car which is now registered as a trike.

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  13. Brilliant post!! I have one of these blue monsters.


    Car Service Essex

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    1. Love your site Barry, especially the Robinson Cyclecar others can see it by clicking the Barry Lee link in the post above or by going to https://youtu.be/2RlKXqmk2js

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    2. Thank you Abeize. One of my favourites. Thanks for reminding me.

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  14. I have had the misfortune to rupture my Achilles, and by chance happened to own an Invacar. In the invacars defence, they seem bullet proof - mine sat in the front garden for 5 years, but it started first time and passed its MOT. Mobile again, and a real head turner, and fantastically practical.
    Once you get over the Mind F@ck of the hand controls, they are easy to drive, and stable enough. If you drove it like an idiot you could tip them over, but that is the same with any vehicle.
    Bring them back I say.

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  15. Thanks for the beautiful car photos. It's really enjoyable if someone has those cars in their home!

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  16. A couple of 'Microcar' forums where we discuss Invalid Carriages.

    http://www.rumcars.org/forum/index.php?board=10.0

    http://vintagemicrocarsandbubblecars.freeforums.org/invalid-carriages-f17.html

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  17. I am not disabled, but I do own some later IC. I can understand the stigma attached to these cars within the disabled community. Also that outside the community, as anyone older than me knows what they were called, 'S*** Chariots'. Bias, fear and degrading those who had little choice but to use them. But that is why the few that are left to us are important. Its real tactile social history you can still use. The development of these machines maps our societies relationship with those who were born, or made, disabled, including war veterans. I truly hope Motability is a better option. The later IC were as good as it got back then. But they, in their own right, helped get disabled people together to shout until someone listen that they were not getting a fair enough deal as our country grew wealthy. They do represent a lot that was not good, but also a lot that was good. I meet older folks who have great and fond memories of the freedom these humble little machines offered.

    Such is the background. But now the Invalid Carriage Register is being reshuffled and these unwanted, rolling jokes have found a niche with people like Barry, and others here, who cherish them. The new 'chairman' I cannot think of a better title, is disabled himself. So if you have interest in these machines watch out, as the ICR will relaunch soon.

    Big Al

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  18. Guess what you are saying is without the birth of these mighty machines we would not have Motability! They had to start somewhere and if the birth of the Acedes invalid car led us onto the path of Motability then they did a great job.

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