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Reliant Motor Club Founders & President

The Reliant Motor Club.

“The Club for Owners and Enthusiasts of Britain’s finest specialist car manufacturer.”

From left to right, Club President Barrie Wills, with Mark Cropper and Elvis Payne

Formed in April 2016 by Elvis Payne and Mark Cropper, the Reliant Motor Club is a new club for owners and enthusiast of Reliant vehicles.  Both Elvis and Mark are long term Reliant enthusiast with Mark buying his first Reliant in 1982 and Elvis his first Reliant in 1990. 

Whilst being members of other Reliant related clubs, no club seems to celebrate Reliant as a whole and instead, concentrates on certain models. Elvis and Mark therefore decided to set up a new club that not only covers all the models Reliant manufactured but also details Reliant itself, hence our slogan, “The Club for Owners and Enthusiasts of Britain’s finest specialist car manufacturer”.  Furthermore they believed  the club should also  take full advantage of the Internet and not keep its archive material kept hidden away in a locked cupboard.. The aim of  the Reliant Motor Club is to share its whole archive on-line and not only provide information to its members but act as an educational resource for the media and those researching Reliant whilst also banishing numerous myths that have started to appear due to the lack of evidence against them.

This means that the Reliant Motor Club is the first Reliant club to create an online catalog of every Reliant Brochure and indeed present every edition of the Reliant Review newspaper from 1963 to 1977.  Many of these are now getting harder to find with one edition costing anywhere from 5 to 20.  This is just the start because as more and more items are sorted from the archives and are scanned, members will have access to a wealth of information, previously unimaginable, at their finger tips. If you would like to join us then please click here.

Our Honorary Member - HRH The Princess Royal

Her Royal Highness is involved with over 300 charities, organisations and military regiments in the UK and overseas, and she devotes a large part of her working life to official engagements and visits.  The Princess is a patron for many charities and organisations and we feel honored that Her Royal Highness also accepted our invitation to be an honorary member of the Reliant Motor Club.  As such the RMC is listed on the official Royal Family website as being one of the organisations that the Princess is part of.

Her Royal Highness has long had a fascination for the Reliant Scimitar GTE sports car after receiving one from the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh for a joint 20th birthday / Christmas present in 1970.  In July 1975 she visited the Reliant factory at Tamworth driving there in her second Scimitar GTE.  To date Her Royal Highness has owned a total of 8 Scimitars and still owns a 1989 Middlebridge Scimitar GTE.  In addition to Scimitars the Princess has also owned a Reliant Kitten and a Reliant Robin. 

Our President - Barrie Wills

After ten years with Jaguar, the first five as an indentured commercial apprentice, and a subsequent two years with British Leyland as supplies manager of its bus division, in January 1972 Barrie joined Reliant Motor Company as supplies manager and was appointed to the board in February 1974. He led the development of purchasing, material control and parts departments, and the sourcing of the Robin; Otosan Anadol estate (Turkey); Scimitar GTE SE5a, SE6 and SE6a models; Kitten car, estate and van range; TW9 pick-up; and Helicak taxi for Indonesia. He was appointed director of product development and supply in 1976, then deputy managing director a year later, and headed product strategy from 1976-8, which included a replacement for Anadol designed by Bertone (FW11). Barrie worked with sales director, Roger Musgrave and former Jaguar chairman, FRW ‘Lofty’ England, to develop a pan-European sales network for Scimitar and Kitten ranges. He resigned in February 1978, following the rejected management buyout attempt led by managing director Ray Wiggin, linked to high-profile auto industry businessmen, Johannes Eerdmans (ex-Jaguar USA), John Barber (former MD of BL), Donald Healey MBE and Tony Good (former director of Jensen); and the subsequent JF Nash takeover of 1977.

In October 1978, he became director of supplies of DeLorean in Northern Ireland, before being appointed chief executive during the 1982 receivership. He then led Sir Clive Sinclair's electric vehicle venture, before assisting Proton of Malaysia;

Her Royal Highness The Proncess Royal
Barrie Wills

Yulon Motors of Taiwan; the Iranian national car company Iran Khodro; the Ministry of Industry of Indonesia; the Department of Trade & Industry of UK; the European Union; SMMT; and many other automotive projects across Europe, Asia and North America. He led the manufacturing launch co-ordination of the Lotus Elan (M100) from 1986-88; the negotiation of an EEC grant for Rover Group in 1992; and a cost reduction programme for the Lamborghini Diablo through 1993. When MG Rover entered administration in 2005, Barrie developed the Project Kimber business plan and led an all-British bid to acquire the MG-related assets from the administrators, having negotiated the transfer of the rights to the discontinued smart roadster from DaimlerChrysler. Following the administrators' acceptance of the competitive offer from China’s Nanjing Automotive, having then secured the rights to the AC brand, he developed a new business plan focussing on the smart roadster. This collapsed in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2007/8. In his subsequent retirement, Barrie has written his first book, John Z, the DeLorean & Me - tales of an insider, published in 2015.

Our Co-Founders:

Elvis Payne

My interest in Reliant dates back to 1990 when prior to starting University, my motorcycle was stolen and so I replaced it with a 1973 Reliant Robin on the basis I could get a lot more bags in there whilst travelling to and from University. Whilst at University I wrote the history of the 3-wheeled vehicle for a history project and was offered a publishing contract for it but it was “vanity” publishing and they wanted 2,000 towards publishing cost.  So it went no further.

As a result of all the information I collected for the project, in July 2000, I used it to create a web site on 3-wheelers at www.3-wheelers.com which went on to become and still is one of the largest websites on 3-wheelers on the Internet.  In 2001 when Reliant closed its doors and production was then restarted by B&N Plastics, I became the official webmaster for B&N Plastics detailing on-line the progress of the cars being built.

In 2002, I approached Lledo and commissioned 1,000 diecast 1:43 scale models of a Supervan III that featured my web site logo.  The models then acted as a catalyst to get a real Supervan III and to restore it so that it resembled the scale model.

Elvis Payne

The Supervan III was purchased in 2004 had a full nut and bolt restoration and another spin off from that lead to the whole restoration being documented which resulted in my first book, “How to restore Reliant Regal” in 2005.   The writing bug had then bitten and this lead to further books with the Reliant North Cape Challenge in 2008 co-authored with my brother, The Reliant Three-Wheeler 1935 – 1973 (in 2011) and The Reliant Three-Wheeler 1973-2002 (in 2012) both co-authored with Stuart Cyphus.  Following on from these was The A-Z of Three-Wheelers in 2013 and The Reliant Motor Company in 2016 in which H.R.H The Princess Royal wrote the foreword.  In 2017 my “How to restore Reliant Regal” book was revised, updated and republished. My next book, The Reliant Scimitar, is due in August 2018 for which H.R.H The Princess Royal very kindly also wrote the foreword for.

Sadly my Supervan III was destroyed by fire in 2008 and was then replaced with a 1961 Regal Mk VI van which are quite rare.  The van enjoyed the lime light and was used for a filming and enjoyed appearances in BFBS3 adverts, the BBC film “Toast” and the TV series, “The Royal”. Set in the 1960s, out of 8 seasons my Reliant was the only one to feature in the program.  The van was also used for the film “Soul Boy” but sadly cut from the final version.

Whilst not using my vehicle I have also assisted numerous other TV programs and advertisements with information on Reliant or indeed found vehicles for them.  This also includes the infamous Top Gear episode with the Reliant Robin constantly being rolled by Jeremy Clarkson.  I was on that episode.  Along with TV I have also helped many newspapers, magazines and radio stations Worldwide with either Reliant related information or photos.  One of the more memorable request was from BBC America to write a biography of the Reliant van for the extras section for a DVD of the TV series, Only Fools and Horses.  In addition to the biography I also took photos that were used on the packaging and the cover of one of the DVDs.  From 2006 to 2014, I also organised the Reliant Gathering in Tamworth on which once a year Reliant vehicles would assemble as part of the town’s Heritage day.  I was  honored in 2015 to receive a BE Tamworth” award (in the form of a BE Tamworth pin badge) by the Mayor of Tamworth, Cllr Richard Kingstone for my interest in Reliant and thus promoting my home town;  Tamworth.

I have owned a number of Reliant three-wheelers including three Robin Mk 1s, two Rialtos, two Supervan IIIs and a Regal Mk VI van.  At present there is no Reliant in the garage although instead I have been collecting Reliant memorabilia to build up a vast Reliant archive which at this point in time, contains well over 1,500 items ... and counting.

Mark Cropper

My interest in Reliant cars started in 1966 when my Dad purchased a new Reliant Regal 3/25 Super in blue from our local dealership Roy Peplow & Co. I was just 3 at the time and was seriously ill with a kidney complaint, so purchasing a Reliant 3 wheeler made a lot of sense due to the fact he held a full motorcycle license.

My parents to this day say that my love of going out in the Reliant helped me recover. I started to collect sales brochures and the Reliant reviews along with scrap books full of articles about the company.

When most of my friends had posters of Ferraris and Lamborghini's, I had Bond Bugs, Robins and Scimitars!

I can recall the excitement of collecting one the first Robins on the road in 1973 and a small crowd gathering around it when we parked up in Bilston, demonstrating the impact the futuristic Ogle styling had at time.  It was not until 1982 that I finally owned a Reliant of my own, a 2 door Rialto GLS in champagne. Having passed my test in a Metro the first thing that surprised me was the outstanding performance of the Rialto, this car is fast!

Mark Cropper

In 1986 my child hood dream was realised, I finally got to drive a Bond Bug, and it did not disappoint!  25 years later, I purchased another Bug and did a total rebuild. I have owned 5 brand new Reliants, the last being my mist blue Rialto SE estate that I still own to this day.  My love for the range of  Reliant small sports cars  started when I first saw the SS1 when it was launched at the Motorshow held at the NEC, I have lost count how many I have owned but currently have an SS1 1600, an 1800Ti that has been restored and an SST 1400. I have only owned one Scimitar GTE.

One of my favorite Reliant 3 wheelers is the Andy Plumb styled MK3 Robin, we have several examples of these including 2 BN's.  I am always happy to promote the benefits of Reliant ownership and have twice driven a Reliant from Lands End to John O'Groats. I also organised the first ever display of Reliant 3 Wheelers at the Classic Motorshow in 2010. My proudest achievements have been the organisation of the Robin 21 Rally in 1994 and starting the RMC with Elvis in the 50th year of my family's continued ownership of Britain's finest specialist cars.

The Reliant Motor Club

“The Club for Owners and Enthusiasts of Britain’s finest specialist car manufacturer”

Copyright © 2016 - 2018  Reliant Motor Club. All Rights Reserved

www.reliant.website / www.reliantclub.com / www.reliantmotorclub.com

 

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