(C) 2016 Invicta Military-Vehicle Preservation Society Ltd

 The humble beginnings of the Invicta Military-Vehicle Preservation Society, or IMPS for short, can be traced back to a small rally that had been organised by a group of enthusiasts at Chilham Castle, Nr. Canterbury, Kent on the 6th July 1980. Following the success of the rally two of the organisers wrote to Major Victor (Dicky) Dover M.C., an Arnhem veteran, asking him if he would write to all who had attended Chilham inviting them to a meeting at the Drill Hall in Maidstone on 10th September 1980. The purpose behind the meeting, which was attended by 65 people, was to establish whether there would be sufficient support for the formation of a military vehicle club in the Kent area. Encouraged by the response to the first meeting two further meetings followed and as result in December 1980 the club officially came into being, with Major Dover as President.

Building upon the success of the Chilham Rally the club held its first official annual gathering in July 1982 at the Kent & Sussex Railway at Tenterden, Kent. In 1987 the club moved its annual show to the Hop Farm Country Park at Beltring, Kent where the show has had continued unabated until 2012. In our first year at the Hop Farm venue approximately 185 vehicles attended the show, which by local club standards was an excellent turnout. However as the popularity of the show and its importance in the historic military vehicle calendar grew, word began to spread nationally and then internationally. The show, under the banner of 'The War & Peace Show', or just 'Beltring' to the faithful, has grown into the largest event of its kind anywhere in the world attracting over 3000 vehicle entries for the five day year 2002 event.

The Club relinquished its control of the event in 2000 to Rex Cadman who had overseen its growth as IMPS Events Secretary. However it continues to be closely associated with the show, even in its latest guise as the War and Peace Revival, and one of the main benefits of club membership is free entry to the show for a member and his vehicle after two years of continuous membership.

The club has now started a new Club show, Combined Ops which is held every August at Headcorn aerodrome, which during the Second World War was home to USAAF P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs, and at that time  known as Lashenden,. The show combines a vehicle show with Living History and air displays by both Headcorn based aircraft as well as flying visits by guest aircraft. Entry is free to IMPS members.

Membership to the society is now in excess of 1200.

IMPS welcomes new members whether or not they own military vehicles. Although based in South East England, we do not make any restrictions on where our members are located and welcome members from around the World.

Each New Year brings with it an ever increasing number of requests for our members to support charitable and other fund raising events and although our ability to fulfil these relies heavily upon the goodwill of our members it is a rare occasion when we find ourselves unable to assist.  

Over the years the Club has been at the forefront of many high profile events such as the 1995 Tribute and Promise parade in London in front of Her Majesty, the Queen and representing the British participation in the Liberation of Northern France in the annual Pas de Calais Libéré events held in Bethune and then Souchez.

As well as several (well attended) Area meetings held monthly, there is also a bi-monthly meeting held at the Glentworth Club, Dartford where we usually have a guest speaker. Members also benefit from a monthly newsletter (e-mailed to the member where possible) and a quarterly magazine, Imprint.

About IMPS

Having invented the motorcar, mankind quickly realized that it could be adapted for military purposes.

The development of military vehicles changed radically with the onset of the Great War.

They also changed the face of war forever.

But it really wasn't until the years following the Second World War, when vast numbers of purpose made vehicles where released into private hands that the potential for an unusual hobby emerged.

Already an automobile icon, the ubiquitous Jeep offered a rugged, versatile vehicle for farmers, builders and many other trades, plus of course fro the more adventurous motorist.

By the early 1950's small fragmented groups of enthusiasts were exploiting the Jeep and other ex military vehicle's ability off road and trialling and rally events started to appear.

During the 1960's the All Wheel Drive Group was growing in size - swelled of course by the advent of the Landrover. Magazines like the late Prince Marshall's "Old Motor" and "Three on The Floor" (published by the late showman John Carter - who was legendary for his Shottesbroke rallies in the late 1960s and early 1970's) enthused about the joys of owning and running ex military vehicles and names like Bart Vanderveen, Brian Bashall and Peter Gray began to be prominent. Bart was already an accredited author on military vehicles and continued to publish books and his famous magazine "Wheels and Tracks" until his death in 2001. Peter Gray formed the Military Vehicle Conservation Group, which was later to become the MVT. Interest in historic vehicles developed so that people with ex military vehicles became more and more involved in car shows and steam fairs.

Slowly the hobby grew, with tours in our historic vehicles to European battlefields, rallies and public events. Despite the fact that many wartime vehicles were still in service, in those early days spares were hard to come by and parts dealers such as Metamet , JG Autos and Wilkinsons became legends.

The hobby grew and grew and by the 1980's the IMPS was formed and would play an important part in developing the hobby.

Important anniversaries such as the 40th anniversary of D-Day brought all the European military vehicle clubs together and a lot of positive publicity was achieved and friendships made.

Now with many shows to attend, and a resurgence in 1940's nostalgia, military vehicle ownership reached we estimate around 10,000 in the UK alone. The IMPS annual show, War and Peace had over 3,250 vehicles on display in 2001. This event has also played a significant part in expanding the hobby and has done much to raise the public interest.

As a hobby, we are keen to support the veterans whose endeavors allow us the freedoms we enjoy today.

Through our members restoration efforts, many thousands of historic military vehicles have been saved from certain destruction by scrap men with an indifference to history.

With many large scale dealers now in operation, military vehicles of all ages and types are bought and operated by collectors and enthusiasts. An abundance of spare parts have continued to surface over the years - the ever popular Jeep has spawned a complete industry in reproduction spares and accessories.

If you don't already own a vehicle there are plenty available either fully restored, "as is" (e.g. untouched since they were surplused out of service) or basket cases for restoration. In the UK the hobby now supports two bookstore magazines, two major clubs and several hundred traders.

Generally military vehicles aren't as expensive as other historic vehicles - though they tend to be a lot more thirsty on fuel.

By joining the IMPS, which we hope you will do, you can meet like minded enthusiasts and share in the vast amount of knowledge and expertise that the members have acquired in our 30 plus years.

Collecting Military Vehicles