Sir Noel Macklin personified all that was best about those innovative and enthusiastic British designers of the early 20th Century. Born in 1886 and educated at Eton School he soon went on to show prowess in various sporting fields becoming a successful amateur jockey, representing England at Ice Hockey and leading an expedition to film big game in the Sudan before taking up motor racing at the fledgling banked track at Brooklands in 1909.
Commissioned into the Royal Field Artillery he was badly wounded in France in the First World War in 1915. After being invalided out he transferred to the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve before serving with the Dover Patrol at the end of the war.
After this eventful and illustrious start he returned to his passion for designing Motor cars and Motor Racing co-founding the Eric-Campbell marque in 1919 before swiftly moving on to hone his skills with the stylish and sporting Silver Hawk concern which only failed due to a lack of industrial and financial backing.
His next venture and his most successful had no such problem in this department as he was joined by the enthusiatic Oliver Lyle of the successful sugar family. Thus the Invicta marque was born.
Invicta cars were intended to and became synonymous with an unsurpassed combination of flexibility and sporting performance. From small beginnings, building the first cars in the garages of his home, Fairmile Cottage in Cobham, Surrey products of the firm went on to set class records at Shelsley Walsh and Brooklands in the hands of legendary driver and founder of the ERA and BRM teams; Raymond Mays, World Class distance records at Monthlerey and Monza with Macklins Sister-in-law driving and claiming an outright victory for Donald Healey in the arduous Monte Carlo Rally of 1932.
About EK 8896
EK 8896 is a rare survivor of the 1 1/2 litre model introduced in 1932 in an attempt to widen the market appeal of the marque.
EK 8896 appears to be one of just 2 original saloon bodied 1 1/2 litre Invictas surviving and this is probably due in no small part to the fact that it was apparently retained by the original owner well into the postwar period. This is documented in an article featuring the car in the January 1949 issue of motorsport magazine.
Subsequent owners include one of the original vintage car collectors and ERA owner Dudley Gahagan and, more recently, former Invicta club registrar Duncan McGregor in whose ownership it shared a garage with the ultimate ex Raymond Mays low chassis 4 1/2 litre Hill climb and Brooklands record holding Invicta.
The car's lovely accompanying file documents most of its postwar history and includes some lovely shots of it at a race meeting at Oulton Park in the 1950s. These charming pictures were supplied by a previous owner a Mr F. W. Gilbert who purely by chance bumped into the then current owner Mr Shillcock at another race meeting in 1987 some 30 or so years later. Mr Gilbert writes a rather nice accompanying letter that goes on to mention other trips in EK 8896 and that his other cars included a type 38 Buggati. Mr Gilbert would then go on to sell EK 8896 to Dudley Gahagan in 1959. The interesting previous owner correspondence carries on through the years write up to this day.
The history file also contains a MOT trail from 1981, service history with some detailed owner reports on completed works, a number of invoices for services and parts, correspondence letters from the 1970’s, a number of previously issued log books including a 1960’s buff green one and a current UK V5c registration certificate.
EK 8896 Today
Today, EK 8896 is in overall excellent condition and the pictures you see give a fair and true representation of the car. If anything, EK 8896 is more impressive and prettier when viewed first hand.
EK 8896 has been nicely kept in dry storage conditions in recent years but not really used very much. So once back at our premises, as a precaution we went over the car. It is perhaps testimony to how well EK 88967 has been maintained over the years that there was not a lot for us to do really. We did however check all the levels and drained the water system and refilled it with fresh antifreeze. We did find on our initial test drive a slight ‘fluff’ under power. We were able to source a carburetor service kit and once fitted EK 8896 ran perfectly.
On the subject of running, EK 8896 starts incredibly easily and the straight 6 Blackburn engine is very smooth. On the road, having the under slung chassis it handles like its bigger 4½ litre low chassis brother, but obviously without the power of the Meadows engine. Having said that, once up to speed EK 8896 travels along at a good rate whilst being very comfortable to drive. The gearbox works well and the brakes pull up in a nice straight line. Everything is working properly and as it should and so for the next owner the only thing to do is to use and enjoy EK 8896.
When you look at various post vintage 1½ litre touring cars currently available, none can boast such an impressive combination of significant previous historic ownership, sporting pedigree and rarity as this beautiful low chassis Invicta. Also, when you consider that 4½ Litre examples are now in the £1 to £1.5 million price range, this is an affordable way to acquire one of the rarest survivors of the illustrious Invicta marque