TWC (“Took”) is a 1972 Invacar Model 70 – the final flowering of the remarkable invalid carriage series of vehicles, produced after the Second World War until 1977.
This 1:76 scale model is based on the Model 70 which was produced by both AC and Invacar Ltd as the government wished to reduce the number of different invalid carriages that were available during the 1960s. Invalid carriages were provided to individuals via the National Health Service.
The mechanical package includes an Austrian Steyr-Puch horizontal, four-stroke flat twin of 493cc, which sends its power through an AC-designed gearbox, which uses an American Salsbury [note Americanised spelling] continuously variable pulley system similar to those you can find on modern scooters. This means a simple ‘twist and go’ driving experience – you push down on the handlebars to stop, though different driving controls, including steering wheels or tillers, could be specified to suit the disability of the driver.
Safety concerns led to invalid carriages being replaced by the Motability scheme in 1977, which offered normal cars with hand controls instead, but such was the outcry at the time that those who already had invalid carriages were allowed to keep them – until 2003! At that point, the scheme finally came to an end and the government ordered all of the invalid carriages that it owned to be scrapped.
TWC survived, because scrap yards soon got fed up with the deluge of invalid carriages, and so TWC and a group of friends, were abandoned in a field in Sussex, where they were forgotten for some 14 years.
In November 2017, Ian Seabrook of the HubNut YouTube Channel rescued TWC and set about getting this extraordinary piece of motoring history back on the road, having long been fascinated by these unusual machines.
Since returning to the road in March 2018, TWC has travelled from Wales back to the Invacar Ltd factory (no longer trading, but the gentleman now running a garage in the building served his apprenticeship at the factory and looked after them for many years) in Essex, has driven through the centre of London, been around the Goodwood Motor Circuit and also slowly climbed up the famous Shelsley Walsh hillclimb.
She once managed to attain 70mph on a downhill section of the A23 in Sussex, an experience Ian describes as ‘entirely terrifying.’
A great little item which is 00 scale, so suitable for Hornby layouts. You can find out more about TWC the Invacar by visiting www.youtube.com/HubNut