On this day in auto history – March 31st

Wed 31st Mar 2021

It was on was this day in 2003 that the three-wheeled Invacar - a small fibreglass vehicle adapted specifically for disabled drivers - was banned from British roads because it could no longer meet new safety regulations set by the European Union.

The ice-blue vehicle - a hugely familiar sight on British roads during the 1970’s - was mass-produced through a Government-backed scheme which saw the vehicles leased to disabled drivers as part of their disability benefit.

Powered by a 500cc or 600cc engine, the Invacar had a tiller rather than a steering wheel and could purportedly reach speeds of a terrifying 80mph, though it was only ever designed as a single-person carriage.

With disability campaigners lobbying the government to allow disabled people to drive cars which would hold more than one person, the Motability Scheme was founded in 1977, finally enabling disabled drivers the chance to adapt a mainstream car. From this moment on production stopped on the Invacar.

It was estimated that there were still approximately 1300 Invacars in use prior to the 2003 ban and, though the vast majority were scrapped, original Invacars do still occasionally change hands on public auction sites.