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Reliant Rebel (1964 - 1973)

Last updated 29 August 2013

Quirkily styled economy car
Crude and slow


Reliant came up with the neat idea of building a Mini rival by converting its small Regal three-wheeler into four-wheel spec. There was another good reason for producing the car, too – drivers who liked the Reliant Regal, but had earned a full driving licence now had a car they could buy without leaving the fold. The Rebel used the same engines, gearbox and rear end set-up as the three-wheeler version, and was a relatively easy car for Reliant to develop.

The glass fibre bodywork wasn’t pretty, but the car was surprisingly useful, especially in estate form. However, the Rebel never really posed a threat to more conventional compact cars such as the Ford Anglia, Mini or Hillman Imp because of its relatively high price. Handling was entertaining, though – although the trade-off was a bumpy ride and large amounts of interior noise from the Austin Seven-based aluminium engine. It was very slow, even with the largest capacity 748cc unit installed, but non-metal bodywork meant it didn't rust and was surprisingly tough.