Planet Sinclair

 

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x Machines: 1980s
   
O C5
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128 / +2 / +3
x Z88


Last updated
7 Jan 1998


sinclair@nvg.ntnu.no

The C5

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The C5, rather unfairly, is probably the product for which Clive Sinclair is best known. It was Sinclair's first electric vehicle and was promoted as a revolutionary advance in personal transport. In an ideal world, maybe it would have been. Unfortunately, it looked like a large plastic slipper, it was powered by a washing machine motor, it was slow (only 15mph), heavy and short-ranged, and many potential customers were put off by the perceived risk of being squashed by lorries.

Within a few months, production of the C5 was halted following derisory sales. The huge financial losses - up to 7 million - incurred by Sinclair soon forced him to sell his name and the rights to his computers to Amstrad. Yet, ironically, C5s are now collector's items and now sell for up to 900 (more than twice the shop price in 1985). One British stuntman has even turbocharged a C5 to 70mph (!) and races it through tunnels of fire.

And Sinclair himself still remains very keen on electric vehicles. See the pages on the Zike (electric bike) and Zeta (electric bicycle motor).

*   The Sinclair C5
(Sinclair User, July 1985)
*   Sinclair C5
(Which?, July 1985)
     
*   The Machine Stopped
(Sinclair and the Sunrise Technology, chapter 9)
     
*   Search for second-hand C5s
(Loot magazine)