Last weekend, Guy and I attended an antique car show. It’s surprising how many antique car collectors live on Camano Island. We frequently see beautiful collector’s cars driving through the area. I guess it has to do with the high retirement population living here.
While enjoying the show, I came across an Invacar collector. He and his wife found this vehicle, designed for the disabled, abandoned and covered in blackerries. They recently purchased it from the property owner and are in the process of restoring it. The car has an interesting history.
Old Disability Mobility Equipment
In 1948, Bert Greeves adapted a motorbike with the help of his paralysed cousin Derry Preston-Cobb as transport for Derry. Noticing the number of former servicemen injured in the Second World War they spotted a commercial opportunity and approached the UK government for support, leading to the creation of Invacar Ltd.
During the 1960s and 70s the Invacar, with its modern fibreglass shell and ice-blue colouring nicknamed Ministry Blue after the Ministry of Health, was produced in the tens of thousands. More than 50 variants were produced.
All Invacars were owned by the British government and leased to disabled drivers as part of their disability benefit. Their use had been in decline since the introduction of the Motability scheme, which offers disabled drivers a conventional car with modified options.
On 31 March 2003 all Invacars owned by the government were recalled and scrapped because of safety concerns. The veteran vehicle could not meet modern-day government regulations, which required approval under the Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval Scheme as part of a standard set by the European Union.
There were still around 200 Invacars in Britain before the 2003 recall and scrapping programme. Hundreds of stockpiled Invacars in government warehouses were scrapped along with all their spare parts. A few examples survive in the hands of private owners and museums in Britain and abroad. Invacars can still be used on UK roads, only vehicles owned by the government were scrapped in 2003. —Wikipedia
New Disability Mobility Equipment
It seems innovators are always inventing updated mobiliity devices, for which I’m extremely grateful. Although the US government doesn’t lease vehicles to disabled drivers as part of our benefits, I was fortunate to discover the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation does assist with the cost of the convertions–so long as the vehicle is required to acquire or maintain employment.
As I’m currently retired, our most recent purchase was not subsidized by the government. However, I’m grateful for the financial assistance I received many years ago to purchase reliable disability mobility equipment and the opportunity it gave me to be a productive member of society. I’m also grateful for the creative minds that continue to invent equipment to enhance and sustain a certain level of independence for the disabled.