Initially, there were several different types of “invalid carriage” (small single-seater vehicles designed for use by disabled drivers) available in Britain, but the government wanted a standard design.
AC (of Cobra fame) came up with the Model 70, designed to use Fiat running gear. Fiat were reluctant to provide powerplants, so the engine from the Austrian-built Fiat 500 was used instead – a Steyr-Puch air-cooled flat twin of 493cc and 20bhp.
Around 18,000 were built between 1972 and 1977, with AC and Invacar Ltd (based in Thundersley, Essex) building half of that total each.
Invacar Ltd was run by the same people who built the Greeves motorcycles, and this company built the very first Invacar in 1948.
The little blue (they were all blue) fibreglass three-wheelers were all owned by the government and leased to disabled drivers in the UK as part of their disability benefit. The disabled drivers were not required to take a driving test to drive one.
The Invacar was a familiar sight on Britain’s roads in the 1960s and 1970s and became a common sight at football matches in the UK as they were permitted to park on the pitch.
After pressure from Graham Hill and others, the scheme was ended in 1977 on safety grounds (they had very little crash protection and were quite unstable).
It finally became illegal to drive an Invacar on UK roads on 31 March 2003. All Invacars were recalled and scrapped.