THE history of motoring that’s enshrined at the Lakeland Motor Museum does not simply consist of petrol and diesel vehicles.

There are some exhibits that, despite being created decades ago, were already looking towards a post fossil-fuel future.

One of them is the famous Sinclair C5 – the electric, personal transport vehicle. It was designed by inventor Sir Clive Sinclair who sadly died earlier this month.

The Sinclair C5 dates back to 1985 and, although often described as an electric car – it’s perhaps more accurately described as an electrically-assisted tricycle.

Sir Clive had an illustrious career in invention.

His ZX Spectrum computers brought affordable personal computing to millions of people and he also invented the pocket calculator.

But the C5 electric vehicle, perhaps ahead of its time, was destined to fail.

It didn’t require the driver to have insurance, a licence, pay road tax or wear a helmet.

But it was all but invisible to trucks, had poor battery life and wasn’t cheap.

It cost four hundred pounds in its most basic form.

It was marketed as an alternative to cars and bikes but ended up appealing to neither group of owners.

It has, however, become a cult item for collectors.

And it’s not the only invention of Sir Clive Sinclair at the museum.

There is also a Sinclair Zike, a portable cycle with a small electric motor hidden inside the frame.

It dates from 1992 and cost a penny short of five hundred pounds. Its batteries recharged themselves using energy from pedalling, free-wheeling and braking.

But it too was a commercial failure – around 2,000 were sold and production ceased in May, 1993.

The two Sinclair vehicles at the Backbarrow attraction are a reminder of the inventive mind of Sir Clive. Today’s surge in popularity of e-bikes and scooters show that his designs were simply ahead of their time.

The Lakeland Museum would love to add to their selection of Sir Clive Sinclair exhibits and would like to hear from anyone who has either a Sinclair ZX computer or a Sinclair Executive calculator.

You can contact the museum by email: or Tel: 015395 30400.