1958 Nelco Solo Car Type E Electric
Power: Electric 5/8 hp motor
24 Volt power
Serial Number 2081
Post-World War II, the British Ministry of Health saw a need for independent transportation for those with loss of mobility, especially those wounded in the war. Beginning in 1948, England’s National Health Services contracted with several companies to provide so-called “invalid carriages” for those in need.
These road-going vehicles were often tricycles with all controls operated by hand—both motorized and non-motorized versions were available. The vehicles were maintained by the Ministry of Health and were issued at hospitals that supplied artificial limbs. For road use they were classified as a “prosthetic mobility appliance” instead of a traditional car or motorcycle and therefore did not require a motoring license for the operator to operate.
As a result of the success of the program, the Invalid Trike Association (ITA) was created in 1948 with the mission providing support for users of the carriages through rallies, travel help and an association magazine.
During WWII, electrical engineering firm Nelco, Ltd. supplied electric motors to the Britian’s Royal Navy, began production of the Auto-Electric Carriage, which was renamed the Solocar in 1947. The more powerful Solocar stood out from and included a deep trunk (boot) plus a tonneau cover to help keep operators dry in inclement weather. The battery power is housed under the seat. The front round badge on the front is the remaining base of the Road ax Disc holder- issued each year in UK to operate on the road. We do not have the UK registration with this Solocar.
Featuring a steering tiller with integrated acceleration control and hand-activated brakes, the Solocar is powered by a 5/8 horsepower electric motor and was capable of 20 mph and operate for 35 miles on a charge. A few Solocars were included in the National Health Services program, but most were purchased and owned privately.
Of the less than 500 invalid carriages manufactured by Nelco, only less than 50 are estimated to exist today by collectors world-wide, and just a handful those are known exist now reside in the USA.
This Nelco Solocar is in excellent cosmetic condition. The body and frame are solid with no rust found. The power, brake controls and motor works and included is the matching tonneau cover. The 2 rear tires have been recently replaced with vintage but unused (NOS) pair. The Nelco has been a part of a large private collection of vehicles, and for the past 10 years, has been cared for regularly on public display in a clean, heated building.