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Reliant Scimitar GT (1964 - 1968)


As the Sabre 6 began looking a bit dated, Managing Director "Ray Wiggin" started looking for a new design.  While at the 1962 Motor Show, Ray Wiggin saw a car called an OGLE SX250.  It had been designed by David Ogle (of David Ogle Associates, later known as Ogle Design) and it was based on the Daimler Dart SP250 chassis and running gear.  The car had been privately commissioned by a managing director of the Helena Rubenstein Company (UK) called Boris Forter, who later had another one built for his girlfriend.

Daimler didn't use the design, so Reliant approached Ogle Design and asked to buy the rights for the design.  As well as some subtle changes, the body shell of Ogle SX250 was further modified to fit the existing Reliant Sabre chassis and running gear.  It retained the same straight six engine from the Sabre, but included triple SU carburettors as standard, which now produced 120 bhp and propelled the car to a top speed of 117 mph.  It was 1964 when Reliant launched their new Scimitar GT at the Earls Court Motor Show.

The Scimitar GT was praised for its elegant lines and performance figures for a price of 1,292.  The price included wire wheels, a luxurious interior with comprehensive instrumentation. Optional extras included a choice of De Normanville overdrive unit, electric sunroof and ZF gearbox.  Reliant produced approximately 296 straight six Scimitar GT's.


In late 1966 Ford dropped the 2.6 litre engine and replaced it with the new 3 litre Essex engine (as used in the latest MK IV Ford Zodiac).  This meant that Reliant had to do a good deal of development work to existing the Scimitar GT to enable the new more powerful engine to fit and obtain best performance and handling.  As the Essex engine was shorter, it was mounted further back in the bulkhead to help improve weight distribution.  The lower wishbones were re-positioned, the tower structures and cross members were re-inforced and an anti roll bar was fitted.  Other modifications included replacing the wire wheels with wider steel wheels as standard, fitting a higher ratio rear axle (3.58 :1 replaced the 3.875). 

The interior was updated to move with the times.  There was now an all anti-dazzle black interior (including black  instrument dial bezels instead of the previous chrome versions).  The padded facia board had crash pads at the top and bottom and improvements were made with the ventilation by fitting directional variable ventilator jets, as used by Ford.

Infornation courtesy of Dave Poole at Sporting Reliants

Scimitar GT

Scimitar GT

Scimitar GT 3 litre

Scimitar GT 3 litre

Later on Reliant did some more work to try and improve the interior, mainly the centre console and switch layout and this was known as the SE4b.

This is what Autocar said about the new 3 litre Scimitar GT on 12th January 1967:

At a Glance - High performance 2+2 coupe.  Lusty, low revving engine in conjunction with high gearing gives effortless cruising at three-figure speeds.  Good gear change, but rather wide ratios.  Smooth, light clutch.  Ride and handling very good, and much improved over the earlier car.  Light, accurate steering and first class brakes with powerful servo.  Ventilation improved but still not ideal.  Fuel and range very good".

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