1949 Invicta Black Prince Drop Head Coupe – 1 of 6 built
The Invicta car company was founded in the early 1920’s by Noel Macklin and its first production car was built in 1925. Using a 2½ litre Meadows straight six, overhead valve engine and four-speed gearbox the car was well received in period. Cars were produced in limited numbers and engine capacity grew to 3 litres in 1926 and 4½ litres in 1928. The most successful model was the S-type that was launched at the London Motor Show in 1930. Invicta quickly developed an excellent reputation for building high quality reliable sporting cars and they had some success in various forms of motorsport in period.
The manufacture of Invicta cars stopped in the mid 1930’s and company was eventually closed down.
Today these pre-war Invictas are recognised in the top echelon of collector cars and they are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts the world over.
To quote JR Buckley from his book ‘The 4½-litre S-Type Invicta’, Profile publications 1966 – “. . . the low chassis Invicta was probably the best-looking sports car in the vintage tradition ever to be produced in England. I can think of no contemporary unsupercharged motor-car of similar capacity, made here, which could outperform it – and very few built elsewhere . . . “
What is less well known is that the Invicta name was revived in 1946 by an organisation calling themselves Invicta Cars. They developed a car known as The Black Prince and like its predecessors it was powered by a complex Meadows engine, this one a twin overhead camshaft 3.0 litre six cylinder with triple carburettors. These cars were incredibly complex and as a result extremely expensive to build. The bodies were all aluminium construction and many facets of the cars design utilised aviation industry technology. A unique design feature of the car was it used a torque converter (Brockhouse hydro-kinetic variable ratio “gearbox”) instead of a traditional gearbox. The torque converter was controlled by a small switch with forward and reverse positions. The suspension was fully independent using torsion bars and there were built-in electric jacks. Other innovative luxury items included a trickle-charger to charge the battery from the domestic mains, an immersion heater in the engine, interior heating of the body and a built-in radio.
Ultimately the Invicta Black Prince was just too far ahead of its time, too complex and ultimately too expensive to build and it is believed that only 16 or so were built before the company essentially folded and was sold to Frazer Nash.
We are delighted offer for sale an incredibly rare 1949 Invicta Black Prince Drop Head Coupe. Of the circa 16 Black Princes built it is understood that only 6 were Drop Head Coupes. This particular car is chassis number 106 and it has the most amazing and fascinating history file with a scrap book containing original documents dating back to when the car was ordered from Cooper, Donnelly & Partners Ltd of 28 Beaufort Gardens London SW3. The car was delivered new to Major Ronnie Deakin in Capetown South Africa. Unfortunately the Major had a number of problems with his Black Prince and there are a number of letters on file from Cooper, Donnelly & Partners Ltd, Invicta Cars and Henry Meadows trying to resolve numerous issues with car. The car found its way back to the UK and may have passed through two more owners before being acquired by a Mr Mill in the early 1960’s. Mill shipped the car to Australia in 1966 and the documentation file confirms the car arrived into Melbourne on 12th September 1966 on board the “Cretic”. It subsequent history is not known, however, it surfaced again in the mid 1980’s still in Melbourne but in need of total restoration. The car was acquired by a Brisbane based enthusiast looking for a ‘new project’ and he committed to a frame off nut and bolt restoration. It was a labour of love for its owner who took nearly four years to restore it working virtually fulltime. The car was completed in the late 1980’s and was featured in the “Worthy” section of the November 1989 issue of Classic & Sports Car. The car was used from time to time by its owner who decided to replace the troublesome and impractical torque converter with an automatic transmission. Unfortunately the owner of the car passed away and whilst the car was kept in the same family it has been in storage ever since.
Given the car’s minimal use since restoration and the fact it has been properly stored for the last twenty years it presents remarkably well today. The car will obviously require mechanical recommissioning, however, the paintwork, trim and glass are all in very good condition. Similarly the interior, including the leather seats, door trims, carpets and dash as well as the soft top are also in very good condition. The Invicta mascot is a true work of art and this car comes with a recreation mascot that was built from a similarly sized statue or figurine of a knight in medieval armour!
Importantly the original torque converter has been kept and will accompany the car.
The target market for the Invicta Black Prince was going to be the upper echelon of society including royalty and movie stars. Interestingly one of the first cars built was for the Maharaja of Mysore and that car is featured in Gautam Sen’s book The Maharajas & Their Magnificent Motor Cars.
This particular car was featured in Australian Classic Car magazine in February 2005.
The car is now being offered for sale and presents a rare opportunity to purchase a unique piece of motoring history.
- Invicta Black Prince Drop Head Coupe
- 14090 miles
- 2998 cc