Reliant Scimitar GTE SE6

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Keywords: Reliant Scimitar GTE SE6
Description: In 1966 the Reliant board thought they needed a four seater. The Scimitar GT was only a 2+2. Coincidentally, in 1966 the house designer, Ogle, was working on an estate version of the Anadol, a

In 1966 the Reliant board thought they needed a four seater. The Scimitar GT was only a 2+2. Coincidentally, in 1966 the house designer, Ogle, was working on an estate version of the Anadol, a Reliant car mainly desgned for the Turkish market. At the same time Ogle was also working on a special for Triplex Safety Glass, to show what was possible with glass. This resulted in the Ogle GTS (Glazing Test Special), an estate car with a glass roof. This car was based on the Scimitar GT, also an Ogle design. The lines of the Ogle GTS and estate Anadol inspired Ogle and Reliant to create an estate version of the Scimitar.

The new car was introduced in 1968 at the Motor Show in London as the Scimitar GTE. This car ( the SE 5) was a whole new concept. There were cars like the Renault 16 or the Austin A40 Farina, but this was the first car to combine a sportcar with an estate. There were also some features that later became widely spread, like backseats, that could be folded seperately. Later that year also the windsceenwiper and washer on the rear window.

The car was a success from the start. Even some LHD cars were exported. Where these cars went to I don't know, at least a handfull went to the Netherlands. This I know for sure, I usd to drive one of these. That car is now in Germany.

It was improved all the time. With the massproduction handwork combination you could say there isn't a car the same. The first major revision came in 1971, when the SE5A model was launched. The are just a few details changed on the outside, but a complete new facia and engine changes. Ford, who supplied the engines changed the 3 litre V6 due to the introduction of their new Granada/Consuls series. Reliant had no choise but to follow and adapt to the changes. There was one remarkable fact: LHD versions were no longer made.

In 1975 a complete new Scimitar was introduced, the SE6. This car was bigger, more luxurious and heavier than the SE5A. The appearance looked much the same,but the car lost its 60's look for a modern 70's one. The car now had safety bumpers and much more room for passengers in the back. Also the car was wider. Reliant thought they could go upmarket with the new Scimitar. The Scimitar's reputation was already good, the fact that HRH The Princess Anne had been a satisfied customer really improved the status. The Princess drove 9 different Scimitars since 1970 until this day. And she also owns and drives a Reliant Robin!

The SE6 was much more expensive than the SE5A and was not completely developed through. This gave a lot of critisism on quality, like waterleaks, roadbehaviour worse than expected (compared to the SE5A). In the second half of the seventies it was no longer standard that first series customers were a part of the developing project. But the car was soon changed.

In 1976 the SE6A replaced the SE6. With better brakes, roadbehaviour and quality, it was as successfull as the SE5/SE5A. The LHD export version (since spring 1977) was back on the market. Main export markets were Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Like the SE5/5A there were constant changes made to the car. In 1980 there were some major changes that lead to the SE6B

A small change to the nose was that the Scimitar name disappeared, but a major one was under the bonnet.Ford stopped making the Essex 3 Litre V6 in 1980 so Reliant had to find another engine. The Ford Cologne 2.8 Litre V6 was used instead.

Sadly enough there were no major changes to the suspension and other items that really looked dated. For example, the front suspension is very much like the Triumph TR6 (on early Scimitars without powersteering it is the same!). The origins of the suspension go back to the Triumph Mayflower of the early fifties. The car became therefore out of date and more important too expensive, as the sales dropped, the prices were rising.

But together with the introduction of the SE6B the convertible version of the Scimitar GTE was presented: the GTC (internally known as the SE8). GTC's are vey similar to GTE's, they just miss the roof. If you want to know more about those, check ScimWeb.

Photogallery Reliant Scimitar GTE SE6:

Simon Cars - Reliant GTE Scimitar
Simon Cars - Reliant GTE Scimitar
Simon Cars - Reliant GTE Scimitar

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