In response to criticism of cramped interior space, Reliant introduced their latest version of the GTE in late 1975, with the first models available for sale in 1976. The new GTE was now called the SE6. Although keeping the famous styling of the SE5 series, the SE6 was totally redesigned. The body was approx. 4" longer and 3" wider. This gave a much needed increase in interior space, with extra legroom and elbow room. Externally the car could be recognised by its larger headlights, rubber bumpers and the removal of the quarter light windows. The interior was completely redesigned, which was more luxurious using nylon seats with leather cloth and now enabled Reliant to explore additional buyers, namely the executive market.
The car was originally criticised due to its softer handling, resulting from modified suspension and chassis. However the car was more civilised and had a much smoother ride, which was better for long distance touring. The car also came with the option of having power steering and composite alloy wheels.
In late 1976 the SE6a was introduced as a result of the much criticism by the press and public. This revised model was virtually identical externally, but now included some improvements to brakes, now fitted with Lockheed instead of Girling. The chassis was stiffer and suspension settings were modified to improved handling. The car continued in production with minor revisions until 1980.
Optional extras now included alloy Wolfrace wheels.
In 1980 the SE6B was introduced. Ford had withdrawn the aging V6 Essex engine and had replaced it with the German built 2.8 litre cologne engine. Due to the lower torque on the cologne engine, Reliant had to change the rear axle with a lower ratio to compensate for the lack of performance. The GTE is a successful combination of performance and practicality for both business and social needs. There were now electric mirrors and intermittent wipers, rubber door strips fitted, seatbelt warning light, halogen lights and rear fog lights warning light. The interior had new coverings and colours including black, chocolate or mushroom. The luggage space is a good 20 cubic feet, but with both the individual rear seats folded down, this would increase to 40 cubic feet!
The badging on the front of the car was now just a Scimitar shield fitted to the dummy grill. There was also an option to have an electric sunroof fitted. From 1981 SE6b's were made using a galvanised chassis to ensure the longevity of these wonderful cars.
GTC - SE8b
In 1978, Reliant started working on a prototype convertible Scimitar, based on the design of the Triumph Stag. The soft top was farmed out to the Coventry Hood Company, who used highest quality German Happich material instead of cheaper vinyl which was traditionally used in most two seater sports cars. The seating was the same as a normal GTE, which meant that the rear seats could be folded down so larger items could be put into the boot.
It was 1980 before the Scimitar GTC was sold to the public. Although an option, most GTC's were fitted with Wolfrace wheels, power steering, electric windows, electric aerial and people had to ask for the power steering to be removed to reduce the price. This car was termed the SE8b and was available for £11,360. The Scimitar was good value for money and was compared with the Mercedes 280SL, which was £6,000 dearer. Optional extras included a hardtop fitted with rear screen heater. Production of the GTC finally halted in November 1986.