Rebel Without Applause : Reliant from Inception to Zenith by Daniel Lockton


More about the book

Rebel Without Applause covers Reliant from its insecure inception, as a 1930s cyclecar-type manufacturer, operating on a shoestring, through a period in the 1950s where it was seen as just another player in the overcrowded three-wheeler economy car market, to the years of dynamic expansion when this innovative, if idiosyncratic, company became the second-largest British-owned car maker, producing vehicles ranging from high performance luxury sportscars to economical small cars, with both three and four wheels. Reliant used its unique experience in plastic body construction to set up the first indigenous motor industries in Israel, Turkey and Greece -- as well as offering services to industry and other car manufacturers and developed an amazing degree of self-sufficiency, designing and producing its own high economy aluminium alloy engine which found applications not only in a long line of small cars, but also in low-cost motor racing and a variety of industrial situations.

Lockton, D. Rebel Without Applause: Reliant from inception to zenith, Bookmarque Publishing, Minster Lovell, 2003 (ISBN 1870519647)


Table of contents


1. The birth of Reliant (1931-39) including introduction to Tom Williams, the Ivy Karryall & Raleigh LDV, Raleigh Safety Seven and 8 cwt van, Williams' break from Raleigh and setting up on his own, the building of the first Reliant prototype, lease of factory premises, first production models, development of the Reliant (single cylinder, V-twin, Austin engines, Reliant's own SV unit

2. The War and after (1939-56) including factory improvements, requisitioning, production of components for the War, post-war production, testing, take-over of Morson Engineering, Major Lewis Jones' trialling, introduction of Regent, Regent II, Prince Regent, overseas assembly (Cork & Israel)

3. The Regal I & II (1951-56) including reactions to the Bond Minicar, Davis 7, design / development of Regal prototype, take-over of Smith's Forgings, Regal de Luxe, road-testing, Regal Mk II, exports, Indian assembly deal, rickshaws, experiments with GRP, Mk II van model, Utility, Hardtop, Julian Hodge/Investors' Protection Facilities

4. The Regal III - VI (1956-62) including Suez Crisis, petrol rationing, bubblecars, Regal Mk III introduction & press reactions, engine improvements, van, formation of Reliant Owners' Club, change of suspension design, Regal Mk IV, court cases, Ray Wiggin joins, Regal Mk V, Regal Mk VI, design of OHV engine, experiments with aluminium engine casting

5. Developments in Israel (1958-81) including deal with Itzhak Shubinsky, development of Regent Four 4-wheeler, setting up of Sussita production in Haifa, Sussita Mk II, Carmel as Israel's People's Car, Sabra brand, improvement of Carmel, Carmel 12, Sussita 12, severing of Reliant links, Sabra Luxe and Gilboa, Leyland/Triumph deal, Sabra Dragoon, Rom Carmel

6. The Sabra, Sabre & Sabre Six (1960-65) including Ashley 1172 & Leslie Ballamy deals, Reliant Sabra prototype, Autocars Limited, Reliant enters UK sportscar market with the Sabre, Sabre GT, press reactions, Tulip Rally, RAC Rally, Monte Carlo Rally, Julian Hodge/Gwent & West of England Enterprises' take-over of Reliant, new logo, Reliant Review newspaper, revisions to Sabre front end, Sabre Six, Alpine Rally, Liege Marathon, death of Tom Williams

7. The Regal 3/25 (1962-65) including impact of the Mini, design of new 3-wheeler, unitary construction, new gearbox, styling influences, introduction of 3/25, changes in 3-wheeler regulations & market, purchase of Shenstone factory, 3/25 van, testing in Scandinavia, Sahara desert, Monte Carlo Rally, exports, Greek assembly deal, Greek Reliant pick-up development

8. The Scimitar GT (1964-70) including Sabre Eight, Gordon-Keeble proposal, introduction to David Ogle, Ogle SX250, introduction of Scimitar GT, press reactions, Carl Olsen & Triplex GTS prototype, Prince Philip's acquisition of car

9. The Rebel (1964-74) including rationale behind the new 4-wheeler, Tom Karen design of Rebel using many 3- wheeler parts, press reactions, buyers' reactions, factory expansion, purchase of the Kettlebrook factory, Rebel 700, Rebel 700 Estate, Rebel 1600 GT, exports to Bermuda and others, Mobil Economy Run, Rebel Van, Rebel 750

10. The Regal Super, de Luxe & 3/30 (1965-73) including introduction of Bond 875, Ogle restyling and improvements to 3/25, Super, exports, MEBEA deal in Greece, Reliant Economy Competitions, Supervan, chassis cab, special editions, ROC development, Regal de Luxe, Supervan II, 21E, hatchback Regal, 3/30, Supervan III, advertising, British Car Auctions, BMH/Leyland merger, Regal GT, Callaghan/Julian Hodge friendship, death of the motorcycle industry

11. Reliant's Turkish Ventures (1966-91) including Package Deal concept, Vehbi Koc, FW5 development, overseas dead-ends, Otosan, Ford D-series cab, setting up Istanbul factory, Anadol, Anziel Nova, Crew Cab, Anadol 70, Anadol Mk II, TOFAS, Anadol SV, Anadol STC-16, Bocek

12. The TW9 (1967-87) including review of 3-wheel commercial possibilities, MEBEA deal, design of TW9 and Ogle styling, Greek production, Melford Engineering Ltd, ACU National Rally, Snail, R W Osborne & Son, Ray Smith Demountables, Munibug, Streetwalker, BTB Equipment Sales, introduction of Ant, Antruck, Dunn, Antarctic, Hutson, Avonex

13. The Scimitar GTE SE5 series (1968-75) including reasoning behind 4-seater sportscar, Tom Karen & Ogle development of GTE, impact of GTE shape on car design, Ogle GTE, press reactions, Jason Gath-Fitchin, improvements to GTE, celebrity owners, Princess Anne, exports, merger with Hodgkinson Bennis Ltd, formation of Reliant Motor Group Ltd, Press Operations Ltd, expansion, GTE reliability

14. The Bond Bug (1970-74) including fun 3-wheeler concepts, Reliant Rogue, background to take-over of Bond Cars Ltd, Bond Equipe, Bond 875, FW8, Scooter Ski, introduction of Bug, design impact of the Bug, press and public reactions, closure of Bond factory, Bug sales demographics, Allett lawn-mower, Wildcat, Lantrac, FW7, four-wheel Bug, FW9


Dan Lockton, March 2006 |

About the book

Chapter-by-chapter contents

Sample pages (new window)

Volume II: The Unquiet Survivor


The early years of Reliant

Double-edged sword: The Reliant Scimitar SS1

Paper: Motor Vehicles in the Developing World: Options for Sustainability [PDF, 320kB]

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