Reliant Scimitar GT (1964 – 1970) Review

Reliant Scimitar GT (1964 – 1970) At A Glance


+Fast and good looking, low maintenance glass fibre body, simple Ford engines and gearboxes

-Extensive rust can be hidden underneath a cosmetically sound looking body

The Reliant Scimitar GT car originally started life as a styling exercise built on a Daimler SP250 'Dart' chassis as designed by Ogle. However, the Tamworth-based company liked the shape of the SX250 so much it bought the rights, and introduced it in 1964. Suitably re-modelled for the Sabre-Six platform and called the Scimitar GT SE4, the car had the honour of becoming the company's first genuine sports car success. Its body was made from by-now Reliant-traditional glass fibre bodywork – and was powered lifted directly from the Ford range, initially the 2.6-litre (159 cu in) Zephyr Six unit, and then later, the V6 Essex engine developed for the Capri.

Early cars were tricky to handle at speed, but the addition of trailing arm rear suspension in 1965 reversed this defect significantly, making the later versions genuine performance cars, with excellent handling, potent acceleration and surprisingly good build quality. Were it not for the amount of time required to hand-build the cars, Reliant could easily have sold more Scimitars, and it built up quite a waiting list. However, the company – and Ogle – were already working on a larger and more powerful successor which became a serious player in the sports car market of the late 1960s and early 1970s – the innovative hatchbacked Scimitar GTE.

Ask Honest John

I was sold a re-sprayed Scimitar - can I get a partial refund?

"I recently bought a 1980 Reliant Scimitar for £5750. One of the attractions of this car was that it had been owned by the deceased Don Pither who wrote the definitive book ‘The Scimitar and its Forebears’. The car was advertised in its original Champagne paint. I spoke with the vendor about the paintwork and was categorically told that the car had not been resprayed during or since Don Pither’s ownership. I drove it 100 miles home and noticed on arrival there was blistering on the wings and bonnet, that an independent bodywork expert has stated was caused by a re-spray when water was present in the separator when the car was re-sprayed. I spoke to the previous owner who sold the car to Don Pither and he has stated that he sold the car in original Champagne paint. I also have evidence through an advert that Don Pither attempted to sell this car at a later date advertised with Champagne paint. So the car was sold to me as part of a lie. I have asked the vendor to refund me £750 as a part payment for a correct re-spray, which was refused. In your opinion is it worth taking this to the small claims court to either have the £750 awarded or return the car and claim the £5000 small claims limit."
If this was a private purchase you have no consumer rights against the vendor.
Answered by Honest John
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