Museum of Liverpool

Client: DadaFest 2018 and Museum of Liverpool
Task:
Rare AC 'Acedes' at the Museum of Liverpool .

During November and December the Museum of Liverpool will be hosting one of the rarest vehicles in the UK, an AC 'Acedes'. The 'Acedes' was made AC Cars, one of the world's most prestigious car manufacturing companies and one of the oldest independent car makers founded in Britain. It will be on show in Liverpool until mid December 2018. Do come along and see it and also visit St George's Hall where Mckeown is presenting an eclectic invalid carriage exhibition during late November and early December 2018.

In detail:

The history of British Invalid Carriages which were three-wheeled and often blue, is not a simple story of automobiles. Following the First World War the UK Government provided mobility for injured war veterans, and for the general population with the arrival of the NHS.

In the 1970s the British car company ‘AC’ made one of Britain’s fastest and most prestigious sports car, the ‘AC Cobra’. They also made one of Britain’s slowest cars, the aluminium ‘AC Acedes’ which was installed in the museum. Battery powered (72 Volt), with a top speed of 12 miles per hour it was often referred to as ‘The Mobile Roadblock’ by the lay public. Whilst spacious, it offered limited comfort and warmth and critically no passengers were allowed.

Provided by the Ministry of Health (NHS) and administered by the government’s ‘Invalid Vehicle Service’ vehicles such as the ‘Acedes’ whilst being problematic, hard to use, unreliable and dangerous, nevertheless provided independence for working-class disabled people over many years.

They were abolished in the mid 1970’s by a campaign led by disabled people including Sir Bert Massie, CBE, replacing them with the Motability Scheme.

The car is part of a collection of vehicles owned by artist Simon Mckeown and was once a common sight on our roads, with over 25,000 trikes and cars registered in 1975. It is very rare, with approximately only 20 ‘Acedes’ cars surviving, dispersed throughout the world. It is currently being conserved and repaired.

Between 19 November and 8 December Mckeown also had an exhibition of related vehicles and ephemera at St George’s Hall showcasing a social and cultural history unique to the world.