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1960's | 1970's | 1980/90's  

Here are some of Reliants' prototypes, development cars, designs and other interesting ideas of the 1960's.


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This was Reliants' first ever prototype sports car called the "Sabra".

It all started when the project manager from Autocars "Itzhak Shubinsky" went to the 1960 Sports and Racing Car Show in London and saw an Ashley 1172 bodykit and an Leslie Ballamy chassis.  Itzhak wondered if he could make a new sports car for Israel, so he approached Reliant, who had already been doing other projects for Autocars, and asked Ray Wiggin if he could help build up a sports car using the body and chassis. 

The car was registered CBF 941 and was built using the Ashley GT body and fitting it to the Leslie Ballamy ladder chassis (with a few modifications from Reliants Ken Wood and David Page).

The engine they decided to use was the 1703cc from a Ford Consul.  The result was a fine looking open top sports car, which opened up further opportunities for Reliant in the sports car market.

Reliant went on to produce the cars for Autocars, while they were setting up their business in Haifa, Israel.  Reliant then supplied the kits for Autocars to build, which were ultimately sold to the US and a small number sold in Belgium.

Reliant kept a couple of the "Sabra" cars and converted them to right hand drive and launched them in the UK as the Reliant "Sabre".  


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Ogle sketch and car at Motorshow

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Above: Sir John Whitmore (Director of Ogle) seen here at Ogle with prototype

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Above: Boris Forter

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Above: Second Ogle SX250 on road test.

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Above: Fantastic recent pictures of one of the very rare Ogle SX250's which is hopefully up for sale soon!!!!!!




Ogle SX250

Boris Forter, a director of Helena Rubenstein cosmetics company, commissioned David Ogle of "David Ogle Associates" (later to become Ogle Design) to build him a one off car.

Boris, wanted to use the Daimler SP250's separate chassis with its powerful 2.5  litre V8 engine.  Boris came up with a sketch of roughly how he wanted the car to look like and before long David Ogle started working on a full sized clay model of the car.  Sadly David was later killed in a tragic accident in one of his own Ogle SX100's on the way to Brands Hatch in May 1962.

David's business partner John Ogier brought in an ex-Ford designer called Tom Karen.  With the rest of the design team, Tom was able to finish the clay model and actually produce a running car by the Earls Court Motorshow in October 1962.  The show car was painted in Sable white and the trim consisted of a pale grey 'suwide' with grey carpets and a walnut facia.

Boris received his very own personalised Ogle SX250 in early 1963 and later commissioned Ogle to build a second SX250 for his mistress, Jean Hart.

There were plans for 6 cars, though it is believed that only 2 were built (other than the show car?)

Although it was said that Jaguar boss William Lyons very much like to Ogle SX250 version, he had other ideas for Daimler and had no intention of using the design.

Ogle approached Reliant wit a view to producing the Mini Ogle SX1000, but Reliant were in the process of trying to develop the Sabre sports car and figured that the Ogle SX250 body shell could be matched to their Sabre chassis with a few modifications. A deal was struck between Reliant and Ogle and the new Scimitar was born and so began a long term the business partnership between Ogle's Tom Karen and Reliant's Ray Wiggin.

The two cars were registered  and , but I have seen another picture of the Motorshow car with a registration number WPL 409??

Both cars survive today, 347 PNK believed to be in Germany and 595 NJH is in Sussex, England.

If anyone has any other information about these cars, then I would love to hear from you!
Dave Poole :o)


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 Above: The Ogle Scimitar GT





Ogle Scimitar GT

Ogle and Reliant got together to produce the first Reliant Scimitar GT.  

The first prototype car was actually badged as an Ogle (note the square badge on the front) and was registered with DVLA as an Ogle with registration AUE 38B on 28 05 1964.

The Ogle Scimitar differed from the Ogle SX250.  The rear wheel arches were rounded and the bumpers were used from the Classic Capri.  The engine for the Scimitar remained the same as the Sabre.  It retained it's straight six 2.6 litre Ford unit.


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Above: Prince Philip with Ogle GTS

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Above: Me in the Ogle GTS at the Town and Country Festival in 2001

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Above: The late Don Pither, author and enthusiast in his beloved Ogle GTS.

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Above: New owner:- Professor Carl Olson and the Ogle GTS (now in America).




Ogle/Triplex Scimitar GTS 

Triplex Glass Company asked Ogle to build a project car to help demonstrate their use of laminated sundym glass. 

Using a Scimitar GT bodyshell, it was modified to produce this Triplex Ogle GTS (Glazing Test Special).

The car was originally registered as 660 GLE, but the numbers were spaced to make 66 0GLE, which did get them into trouble by the police at one stage, but the registration was later accepted.

The car had a heat-absorbing glass roof, curved round side windows, laminated heated front and rear window.  The car was covered in a total of 43 square feet of safety glass.  

After its feature at the London Motorshow in1965, the car was then driven to the Turin Motor Show by two journalists, where it was admired by many Italian Designers. 

The GTS was acquired by Prince Philip for his own personal use for two years before being loaned to the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.  The car was then owned by the late Scimitar and Sabre expert 'Don Pither' who sadly passed away in 2002.  

66 OGLE is now in America, but in the safe hands of one of its designers "ex-Ogle - Professor Carl Olson".


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Above: Rare auto Scimitar GT at Tamworth Heritage in September 2008




Scimitar GT Automatic

RBF 727D was more of a development car rather than a prototype.  Chassis number 66 was changed to fit an automatic gearbox.  It is said that only two Scimitar GT's were fitted with an auto gearbox and this option was never available for standard production.  Reliant owned this car until approx 1970 when it was sold to a private owner.

Other things I noticed were the single side exhaust pipe coming out the passenger side of the car, only single carburetor fitted, unusual knock on hub cap for wire wheels.  I am interested to know if these were also done at Reliant.

If any one knows more about this car please get in touch. Dave Poole 



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Above:  The full scale model in Ogle Designs model shop in 1967, ready for approval.

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Above:  Note the mesh grille front end and 15" Coupe wheels.

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Above:  The prototype as it left Ogle Design on its way to Reliant.

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Above:  Modified with 289ci V8 engine by Peter Bailey, this unique car was for sale at Cheffins Auction House.




Scimitar GTE Prototype

NRE 845F was the first Scimitar GTE built with chassis Number 450001.  Tom Karen worked with the modelers to develop the famous rising waistline,  Peter Bailey prepared the drawings for the car and as a result a stunning Scimitar GTE was born.

Only a couple of things were changed on the final production car, which were the front light/grille layout and the rear air vents were moved from above the rear screen and fitted adjacent to the rear lights.

Peter Bailey acquired the prototype car for himself and later fitted a small block 289ci V8, which boasted giving the car a top speed of 150 MPH!  When Peter Bailey left Ogle, he took the car with him.

The car was recently sold through Cheffins auction house and is now in the hands of an enthusiast who is now re-commissioning the car after many years of storage.


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Above: Original design drawing

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Above: Press Photo from 1968

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Above: Ogle Scimitar well looked after today.

A special Thanks to Robert Hodge for sending and letting me use his photographs.




Ogle Scimitar GTE   

When Reliant launched their Scimitar GTE at  Earls Court Motorshow in 1968, Tom Karen of Ogle Design exhibited his own unique version of the GTE to show off Ogles styling expertise.

Ogle Design said:

"The new and exciting 3 litre Scimitar by Ogle, based on the Reliant GTE, incorporates a number of extra features which give this new concept car an even more futuristic look.  Apart  from the large windscreen and glass roof over the front seats the most striking difference is the frontal grille area.  The Ogle Scimitar has a concealed headlamp system which embodies four of the new Lucas "all-glass" rectangular sealed beam units, with electrically operated shutters.  These 60/60 watt light units are a result of two years development work, and offer all the advantages already associated with the sealed beam principle.  When the headlamp shutters are closed, the light units are fully protected and the full frontal area of the car has a flowing and distinctive appearance."

The car also featured a light tan interior with leather and chequered fabric seats, a glazed roof section, retractable headlamp covers and had embossed Ogle logo's on the front wings.

Shortly after the show the Ogle GTE was purchased by the chairman of the Reliant Motor Company Sir Julian Hodge for his wife Lady Moira Hodge.

This superb car is still owned by the Hodge family today.



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Above: Original design drawing

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FW7 Prototype

Reliant explored a mid engined design using their own 750cc twin carburettor engine.  In 1970 a mock of the car was built, which actually pre-dated Fiats X1/9 design by a couple of years!  It soon became clear that Reliant's own engine would not be powerful enough and the project was killed off. 




Do you have any more details/photographs of any of the above vehicles?



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