Page 85. 1985 Sinclair C5 Electric Tricycle SOLD £410

1985 Sinclair C5 Electric Tricycle

For ebay auction: PLEASE CLICK HERE

Manufacturer: Sinclair Vehicles, Camberley, Surrey, England


Sir Clive Sinclair was a very rich, eccentric genius who amassed a fortune in the manufacture of revolutionary- indeed visionary- electronic devices and products. These include calculators, watches, meters, pocket TV’s(1975), micro computers (1980), and home computers (1982- when computers were still in dedicated rooms).

Like TV and computers, the idea of producing an electric vehicle had been a constant preoccupation for him. In the ’70’s, ecological issues were in the forefront, and the British government passed legislation that allowed electric-assisted cycles to be used without a license, as long as they didn’t exceed 15mph.

Sinclair’s directors were critical of spending corporate money on this type of research, so Sir Clive sold a small fraction of his company shares which netted 12 million pounds for the cause. The chassis design was by Lotus, the motor by Polymotor, and the polypropylene body the largest one-piece injection moulding to date. After negotiations for the former DeLorean plant failed, the C5 was built in a Hoover factory in Wales.

The much-publicized launch was an unqualified disaster. It was held in the middle of winter and the C5’s bodies skated on the snow. The press was merciless. Safety and Advertising Standards organizations got involved. Sales and production nosedived, and the company was wound up in October of the same year, with an unfazed Sir Clive out of pocket some 8.6 million pounds.

Though the Sinclair C5 was a commercial disaster and only about 12,000 were ever produced, it has since achieved cult status and a vehicle in mint condition can now fetch well over twice the original retail price of £399.


It was said to have been given to Sir Clive’s accountant – who did not want it and left it in storage for many years.

A nice complete machine.



Published on February 26, 2008 at 12:29 pm  Comments (1)  

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