A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CLUB
Reliant started to build sports cars for an overseas market in the 1960's. These were the Sabra motor car for the Israeli market. Capitalising on their success, Reliant then started to build cars for other markets, including the UK. The sporting pedigree of the early cars produced by the factory was recognised by a few, some of whom had bought Sabres, others had Coupés, and then there were the early GTE SE5 models. By 1972 a small band of enthusiasts were meeting to share their interests in several of the Reliant Models. There is a photograph of the group's first meeting in our archives, showing members with their Sabres, Coupés and Scimitars. The meeting happened as a direct result of Reliant Motor's sponsorship and support for the Club. A strong relationship with the factory helped the Club in our formative years. There is more of this in our Brief History of the Marque in another part of our Web site.
At this point we can stop to look at the various models that Reliant produced, and that are part of the history of the Reliant Sabre and Scimitar Owners Club. In addition to a wide range of what might be termed "economy cars" - the ubiquitous "Del Boy" Three Wheeler is one of them, Reliant produced several sports cars. Our Club caters for these fine sports cars, from their first true sports car - the Reliant Sabre - a rather gawky 2-seater open topped and later GT style - through to the later Scimitar Sabre produced towards the end of Reliant's history. Although there were fewer than 400 of the early cars built and few exist today, the Sabre was the prime reason for the existence of the Club in 1972. There were a considerable number of enthusiasts with these cars.
In 1965 Reliant introduced a very popular GT Coupé, and logically named it the Scimitar. The Coupé production line ran for five years, being joined by the acclaimed Scimitar GTE model in 1968.
The founders of our Club had been meeting for some years before the Club was actually formed. Much of the purpose of meeting was to do with competition, as the Sabres had been campaigned by the factory in the Monte Carlo Rally in the sixties, and by owners in sprints and hillclimbs throughout the country. It took Reliant's help to get us off the ground for our first Club meeting at Silverstone.
So our Club had started. Very soon, the Club had proven to be just what was wanted by the owners of the new style of fibreglass car, and a thriving economy developed around the models. There were many dealers around the country, all known to the Club, generally receiving our approval. Indeed, the Club became the focus of attention as trade and private owners alike looked to us for support for insurance, valuations, maintenance and parts.
The Constitution of the Reliant Sabre and Scimitar Owners Club Ltd., and the Rules of the Reliant Sabre and Scimitar Owners Club say much the same. The Objects Clause states clearly that we exist to further the interest in motoring and motor sport; in the Reliant Sabre 4, the Reliant Sabre 6, the Reliant Scimitar GT Coupé, the Reliant Scimitar GTE, the Reliant Scimitar GTC, the Reliant Scimitar SS1, the Reliant Scimitar Sabre and the Middlebridge Scimitar GTE. Furthermore we promote interest in any other motor cars produced by the Reliant Motor Company or its owners for the time being and in the future.
The Club has given support to a wide range of Reliant models - there were about eighteen 4-wheel car styles and many more modelled around the ubiquitous Reliant Robin 3-wheeler, now more commonly called a Robin Reliant. Our Club refuses entry to none of the Reliant marques, although in fairness the 3-wheeler types would be much out of place with us. However, we have offered a special place in our magazine for the Reliant Kitten [4-wheels!], as so many of our members own one.
Whilst stating that we cater for a wider range, where no specific Club exists for some of the prototype cars, our advertising policy is to state more categorically that we cater for the owners of Reliant Sabre and Reliant Scimitar motor cars. These are two distinct styles, although as stated before the Sabres in existence are now very few. However, the Sabre was part of our heritage. It is the only Reliant car that can be raced in open competition against other cars because of its own rallying history, and as such is a very important part of the history of this Club, and of British motoring heritage.
No other Club offers this service. For this reason, we are recognised by DVLA and the RAC Motor Sports Association as an official source of information, are approved to conduct sprints, hillclimbs and race meetings and are affiliated to the MSA as Ordinary Members of teh General Council.
THE END OF AN ERA
All of this was to change in the 1980's when Reliant decided to shed the GTE production line and concentrate on three-wheelers and the smaller Scimitar/Sabre SS1 models, as shown in the factory photograph they allowed us to reproduce on the front cover of our September 1992 edition. The entire production of the GTE and the convertible GTC models was sold to Middlebridge Scimitar in Nottingham. Sadly, Reliant's fortunes never recovered and after several incarnations the latest administration has stopped production of the little Scimitar Sabre due to technological advances, and loss of engineering technology during an earlier receivership.
Middlebridge Scimitar also got into difficulties over a deal with Brabham and did not survive. The company was ultimately sold to Graham Walker Ltd. in Chester who has committed himself to keep the marque alive and will, if asked manufacture a new GTE using the latest technological advances in motor building. Graham Walker Ltd are not only a major trader associated with the Club; they are now the only manufacturer of the Scimitar marque, and give support to owners with the remanufacture of parts, and the continuing supply of original patterns, and are therefore the company with which the Club has remained more closely associated.
Our relationship with Reliant Cars is now to all intents and purposes over. They now have no interest in the cars that started them off and have long ago given up the rights to manufacture the four-wheeled versions. We were associated with them for 27 years and for at least twelve of these latest years since the factory lost much of its history, the Club has been seen as the only source of information. It is now generally understood that if the factory cannot help an owner with a technical problem, then that problem is passed to the Club. As a rule, we are able to help the enquirer as we have a vast archive of information, having been fortunate to acquire much of Reliant's history from their Press Agency, with their knowledge and approval.
In addition, our relationship with traders in Reliant Sabre and Scimitar parts has never been stronger, and we have close links with several other trade stalwarts who have weathered Reliant's somewhat self-inflicted storms over the years. Some of those traders have been in existence for thirty years or more and acknowledge that neither of us might have survived without the other
For further information about the Reliant Sabre and Scimitar Owners' Club Ltd., see our Contacts Page.↑Top of Page