This rare 1946 Dingwall Invalid Tricycle is owned by our friend Alan in Lancashire. Alan has owned this since January 2001. Unfortunately very little is known of the manufacturer or this type of vehicle but below is the little information we have managed to get together.
G H Dingwall and Son were based in Derby Road, Dalston, London, where they had manufactured invalid carriages since the early 1900s. Dingwall produced hand-propelled and motorised tricycles and together with Stanley (Argson) and Harding, were the only manufacturers to have the Ministry of Health contract. Usually these vehicles were powered by a 147cc Villiers engine, which was one of many engines produced for commercial and industrial uses at the time.
By 1948 other manufacturers, such as Invacar, Tippen, AC Cars and George Fitt Motors, gained the lucrative MoH contract and the production of enclosed invalid carriages started. A revised specification was introduced in 1952 which lead to the familiar baby blue invalid carriage that many of us recognise.
Early invalid tricycles were usually issued by the Ministry of Health to service personnel, who had lost limbs during the world wars, but some invalids were able to privately purchase them if finances allowed. The later enclosed invalid carriages were all government owned and when they were completely discontinued in 2003, their use on British roads was made illegal. This meant that all of these vehicles were recalled by the government to be destroyed. Luckily a few have ended up in private collectors’ hands but it does make invalid carriages of all types extremely rare.
This Dingwall Invalid Tricycle was first registered on 16th March 1946 to James Henderson Black of Tamworth in Staffordshire. It remained in the same ownership until transferred in 1974, with Alan the 3rd registered keeper, even though the tricycle was bought from garage premises in Blackpool.
The Dingwall was in average condition when purchased but did need a lot of work to get it to the condition you see now. The engine was seized and a number of replacement parts were found with some items upgraded.
The original registration number was RE 9449 and so transferrable. After the usual jumping through hoops for the DVLA, the number was eventually transferred to Alan’s everyday vehicle and a non-transferrable age-related number, USL 568, was placed on the tricycle. The Dingwall is classified by DVLA as an Invalid Vehicle and also in Historic Tax bracket. It was taxed and MoT tested each year until 2006 when it was notified as SORN. Recently the regulations have changed and vehicles manufactured before 1960 do not now require MoT testing.
The Invalid Carriage Register is only aware of one other surviving Dingwall of this type in the UK. The vehicle is a 1950 model, registration number KYP 189, and was last known of in the Surrey area.
The Dingwall has been displayed at classic car shows and steam fairs around the country since 2001. In fact it won ‘Best in Show’ at the Great Dorset Steam Fair 3 years on the run. Nowadays it is on permanent display in the foyer of an auction rooms and antique centre. The centre is open 7 days a week with the Dingwall on open display by the entrance.
Other display venues would be considered – just send Alan a message through the website Contact page.
Engine: Rear mounted Villiers 147cc 2-stroke petrol
Gearbox: Albion 3-speed
Drivetrain: 3 chains to rigid rear axle
Top speed: Approx. 50 mph