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Reliant Scimitar

Reliant Scimitar GTE Car 1976


Scimitar GTE 1976


Reliant Scimitar is a model name used by British manufacturer Reliant on several designs of sports car.

Reliant Scimitar @ Retro Show 2007

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GT SE4 (1964–70)

Reliant's first Scimitar was a coupé built upon the styling of a Daimler SP250 prototype and the chassis of a Reliant Sabre. It was first shown in 1964 and powered by a 2.6 L Ford straight six from the Ford Zephyr / Ford Zodiac.//

Reliant Scimitar (SE4) 2 Door Coupe


Reliant Scimitar (SE4) Two Door Coupe

In 1966 the SE4A was replaced by the SE4B, with a V6 3.0 L Ford "Essex" engine. The cheaper SE4C came with a 2.5 L version of the same engine. Just over 1000 SE4s were produced.

Reliant Scimitar (SE4)
Manufacturer Reliant
Production 1964-1970
Successor Reliant Scimitar (SE5)
Body style(s) two door coupé
Engine(s) 2553 cc I-6 (1964 - 1966)
2994 cc V-6 (1966 - 1970)
Transmission(s) 4 speed manual
Wheelbase 92 in (2337 mm) [1]
Length 167.5 in (4255 mm)
Width 62 in (1575 mm)
Height 51 in (1295 mm)
Kerb weight 2,380 lb (1,080 kg)
Fuel capacity 20 imp gal (91 L; 24 US gal)


GTE SE5 (1968–75)

Based on the chassis of the earlier coupé and the Ogle Design GTS estate car experiment, the four-seater Scimitar GTE SE5 came with either 2.5 L or 3.0 L engines. The 3.0 L engine, which gave this model a top speed of over 120 mph (193 km/h), was more popular, and the 2.5 L version was later dropped. A Borg-Warner automatic transmission was added as an option in 1970 and by 1971, overdrive on the 4-speed manual was offered. In 1972 several improvements were included in the upgrade to SE5A, including a boost in power. The extra 7 hp (5 kW) and maximum engine speed raised performance quite a bit and the GTE was now capable of 0-60 mph (100 km/h) in 9.3 seconds and top speed was raised by 6 mph (10 km/h). The SE5's flat dashboard also gave way to a lower quality curved and moulded plastic one. Around 4311 SE5s were produced.

The 5A model sold more than any other Scimitar, with 5105 manufactured.


GTE SE6 (1975–79) & SE6B until 1986

More of a luxury model than the SE5, the SE6 series was promoted to the executive market. These models were two-door sports estates, again with the Ford V6 3.0 L engine, and were a few inches longer and wider than their predecessor. The SE6 had some quality issues and was soon replaced by the SE6A. About 543 SE6 models were produced.

The SE6A displayed a number of improvements, including better quality, brakes and road-holding. There was also the option of power steering. 3877 SE6As were made.

Ford had stopped making the "Essex" engine by 1979, so one of the major differences with the SE6B was the engine choice. The Ford "Cologne" 2.8 L V6 was used instead, and provided similar power but rather less torque. The final drive ratio was changed to compensate. Only 437 production SE6Bs were manufactured. Production ceased by 1986.

Reliant Scimitar GTC 1982 hard top


Scimitar GTC (circa 1982) with hard-top

GTC / SE8 (1980–86)

The convertible version of the Scimitar GTE was known as the Scimitar GTC, or SE8B. It was modelled closely on the SE6B and still included four seats and the 2.8 L "Cologne" engine. Only 442 production GTCs were manufactured.

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SS1 (1984–90)

Aiming to fill a gap in the small sports car market, the Michelotti-designed SS1 was launched in 1984. The chassis was inspired by Lotus's Elan. 1300 cc and 1600 cc Ford engines were used, at first, later replaced with a 1400 cc CVH Ford engine and a Nissan 1800 cc turbocharged engine.

This car had unusual uncovered Porsche 928 style pop-up headlights and shared many components with cars of the day. It is currently one of the most affordable small sports convertibles on the second hand market. The post 1985 (galvanised chassis) models are particularly sought after, but rarely fetch over £2000.

Reliant Scimitar Owners Workshop Manual and Portfolio

Reliant Scimitar Owners Workshop Manual and Portfolio 1968-79 from

"A manual, plus a portfolio of road tests & buyer guide. A comprehensive manual for the DIY enthusiast that covers engines, fuel & cooling systems, ignition, transmission, clutch, suspension wheels, brakes, electrics, bodywork & servicing. Covers the 2.5GT, 3.0GT & 3.0GTE. 216 pages with photos & drawings"

Available in America from


SS2 / SST (1988–95)

Restylings of the SS1 in 1988 and 1990 (by William Towns) led to the SS2 and SST.

The SS2 was going to be targeted towards a North American market, but never got to the production stage. One example was made for a motor show.

Scimitar Sabre (1991–95)

The Sabre was the last Scimitar model to be produced. Based on the chassis of the SS1 and SST, it was released in 1991, with a restyle in 1993. The Rover K-series 1.4 L engine made this the 2nd fastest Reliant ever, with only the SS1 1800Ti being quicker. Production finished in May 1995 when Reliant was taken over.

Reliant Scimitar SS1 1300 - 1988


1988 Reliant Scimitar SS1 1300

Middlebridge (1988–90)

When production at Reliant ceased in 1986, Middlebridge Scimitar acquired the manufacturing rights. This company, based in Nottingham, produced a 2.9 L version with many modifications and modernizations including fuel injection and a 5-speed gearbox.

Only 77 Scimitars were ever produced by Middlebridge, and in 1990 production rights went to Graham Walker, who builds Scimitars to order.

More Pictures of the Reliant Scimitar

Reliant Scimitar GTE in yellow


Reliant Scimitar GTE

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Reliant Scimitar SS1 1989/90 Sports Car


Reliant Scimitar SS1 1989/90


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