Saturday, 3 December 2011

Wave of Future Past

Does anyone remember these? Not the weird bicycle, that's a Raleigh Chopper from the 1970s, but the strange plastic go-kart-thingy?

Vehicles in transport museum in Anglesey
It’s a Sinclair C5 electric car. Brainchild of millionaire entrepreneur Sir Clive Sinclair, it was launched on an unsuspecting British public in the late 1980’s, during the Thatcher boom years, and was meant to replace all personal vehicles as we knew them and provide cheap and cheerful transportation to a whole new market.

Didn’t quite work out that way, did it?

People were rather concerned about their lack of speed, their inability to mix it on proper roads and, more worryingly, the fact that you took it along to your Hoover washing-machine dealer to have it serviced. The contraption’s engine originally having been designed as the motor to power that big white box which sits in your kitchen. Now, personally, I don’t for a minute think that it ever crossed anyone’s mind that this could provide a power plant for a vehicle, do you? 

Oh, I know that it’s easy to look back and sneer with contempt at things which didn’t quite work out the way they were supposed to. 20-20 hindsight is great for that, but in this case I seem to remember that he was universally ridiculed at the time by most people who thought that he’d completely lost his marbles.  

Sir Clive and his Contraption
 Mr. Sinclair was once quoted as saying that it was obviously safer than a motorcycle because it had three wheels. Just goes to show that he knew very little about the properties of motor vehicles. 

There is, however, a support group for owners of the C5. So, someone loves them.

1 comment:

  1. How bizarre....I thought at first glance that it was an updated version of the Bond Bug or Robin Reliant just smaller.

    If the universal feeling was that Clive Sinclar was losing it at the time, then the feeling was probably right