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News

Invicta S-Type - Red Gauntlet - Returns to Prescott 80 Years on!

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Donald Monro was an early Club member and a regular competitor in B.O.C. events both at Prescott Hill Climb and previous to the Club coming to Prescott, including the Lewes Speed Trials and rallies. He took part in the Opening Rally at Prescott on April 10th 1938 coming 14th in a time of 61.90 seconds in an Invicta. Indeed he competed in several Invicta cars but his most memorable was the one named 'Red Gauntlet', registration number TF 5129 (pictured above). 

Donald wrote articles for Bugantics including ones on 'Invictas I Have Owned'. He mentions being invited by Colonel Giles and his brother Eric, then Club Chairman and Hon. Secretary and Treasurer respectively, to inspect Prescott Hill which was then under construction. 'We had a great time and Eric drove the steam roller up and down the asphalt.' This would have been in early 1938. He further tells us that in four seater standard form his best Prescott time was 59.10 seconds with 3.9 axle ratio and after fitting a 3.6 ratio, 57.09 seconds. These times were then further improved upon.

However he then built a 'short chassis competition 2-seater modification - “Red Gauntlet”'. This is a 4.5-litre low chassis S-type Invicta with the chassis shortened and much weight reduction. Indeed in his article Donald states that the weight had been modified to 25.5 cwt. compared to the standard 32.5 cwt. and an axle ratio of 3.6. The car was tested at Brooklands in February 1939 and competed at various venues. 

The B.O.C. has always enjoyed close links with the Invicta Club which in late 1938, and for a period of time until after the war, was absorbed in the Bugatti Owners' Club.

In the short period before the outbreak of the war, three Invictas in particular, were active at Prescott. They were the red, white and blue 'Number One Team'. These were Donald Monro's 'Red Gauntlet' (TF 5129), George Campbell's white 'Gulliver' (JJ634) and Anthony Price's blue (now black) 'Shark' (YG 3830).   

At the first meeting of 1939, on May 14th, it was reported in Bugantics that 'Well-judged climbs were made by three of the old low-chassis Invictas, beautifully kept and impressive in performance, best time being done by Donald Monro with 56.32 seconds'. Then at the International Meeting on July 30th 1939 and in front of a large crowd all records were broken. In the 'Over 3-litre Sports Class' Donald Monro with the 4.5-litre Invicta “Red Gauntlet” came 3rd with a time of 54.268 seconds. Sydney Allard took the new class record with a time of 51.33 seconds.

Donald was a regular competitor through the remainder of the 1940s and the 1950s. Since 2003 'Red Gauntlet' has been owned by John Keatley from County Londonderry. At the fifth La Vie en Bleu Prescott meeting 28th and 29th May 2011 seventeen 4.5-litre Invictas were entered in a special Invicta Car Class with fourteen competing on the day. 'Red Gauntlet' returned to Prescott for that occasion. We are very fortunate to have this very special car here today, as it was at the first meeting 80 years ago, and we thank John for bringing it to Prescott again.

Tickets for this event are still available at https://www.prescott-hillclimb.com/events/80-anniversary-bugatti-festival