Elswick Envoy road car for use by disabled drivers and designed to allow full access by wheelchair users and can be driven directly from the wheelchair. Produced by Elswick Special Vehicles Ltd in association with the Reliant company and registered in 1986. This car was owned by artist Nancy Willis, and featured in the Channel 4 film "Elegy for the Elswick Envoy" which she presented and directed.
Innovative car designer William Towns designed these small, angular roadworthy cars made for wheelchair users. Very few were ever made. This may have been because standard cars were increasingly being equipped to accommodate people with disabilities. Unusually, this model was driven directly from the wheelchair rather than a separate driving seat. This made it different to other specially designed vehicles. At a squeeze, two passengers were accommodated in the back of the car. The seats were small to allow the wheelchair through.
The steering wheel is in the centre. This effectively makes it neither right- nor left-hand drive, although few were exported. The Elswick Envoy car was the last and most successful car that could be driven from a wheelchair, despite its small production numbers. The majority of vehicles made specifically for disabled drivers were made illegal at the turn of the 20th century. Disabled drivers now tend to use standard road vehicles highly adapted to their needs.
- Object Number:
- furnishing and equipment
- vehicle - transportation
- land vehicle
- passenger vehicle
- Gift of Nancy Willis
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