1931 Invicta 4½-Litre S-Type Low-Chassis Sports “Scout”

Courtesy of Bonhams

In an era when most cars stood tall, the 4½-Litre S-type Invicta, with its dramatically lowered chassis, caused a sensation. Few sports cars before or since have so looked the part.

The Invicta Company’s origins go back to 1924, when Noel Macklin and Oliver Lyle, both of whom had motor-industry experience, got together to create a car combining American levels of flexibility and performance with European quality and roadholding.

Apart from a handful of prototypes, all Invictas were powered by the tireless 6-cylinder engines made by Henry Meadows. Launched at the 1930 Olympia Motor Show, the S-type featured a new underslung chassis that achieved a much lower center of gravity by positioning the rear axle above the frame rails instead of below, as was normal practice at the time.

The popular “100 mph Invicta” tag notwithstanding, standard cars had a — still impressive — top speed of around 95 mph, with more to come in racing trim. However, the S-type Invicta was primarily a very fast, comfortable high-speed touring car, its greatest attribute being an ability to cover a substantial mileage at high average speeds with no strain either to driver or the machinery.

Paul Hardiman

Paul Hardiman - SCM Senior Auction Analyst - %%page%%

Paul is descended from engineers and horse thieves, so he naturally gravitated toward the old-car marketplace and still finds fascination in the simpler things in life: looking for spot-weld dimples under an E-type tail, or counting the head-studs on a supposed Mini-Cooper engine. His motoring heroes are Roger Clark, Burt Levy, Henry Royce and Smokey Yunick — and all he wants for next Christmas is an Alvis Stalwart complete with picnic table in the back and a lake big enough to play in.

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