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  1960's | 1970's | 1980's+

Here are some of Reliants prototypes, designs and other interesting ideas from the 1970's.

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Above: The Harry Ferguson Research drawing showing the engine & 4WD transmission dated 26th July 1968.

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Above: The Reliant 4WD Scimitar Development drawing dated 30th August 1968

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Above: Ferguson 4x4 Scimitar GTE Chassis.

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Above: Ferguson 4x4 Scimitar GTE Chassis being constructed.

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Above: The 4WD Ferguson Scimitar GTE awaiting auction.

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Above: The unique suspension turrets are evident coming through the inner wings 

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Above: The interior is standard, other than the slightly cranked gear lever

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Above: Low mileage, but heavyweight.



Scimitar GTE Ferguson 4x4

A one off scimitar was built using Tony Rolt's (from FF - Ferguson Formula) 4 wheel drive technology.  Ex-BRM Chassis designer John Crosthwaite joined the Reliant team and with the help from "Senior Sports Car Designer" Ted Laban and Os Webb from Ferguson the original Scimitar GTE chassis had to be re-designed to enable it to take front wheel drive, revise engine & gearbox mountings to take the increased GKN transmission weight, get drive to front diff past existing Ford 3ltr power unit clutch housing and maintain steering geometry while moving steering rack to clear GKN front Diff Unit.

As you can see from the photographs opposite a full chassis complete with engine and running gear was built.

A torque split of 40/60 was used and the drive to the front differential was taken from the rear of a special overdrive gearbox by Hi-Vo chain and propshaft containing two constant velocity joints.

It was said that the Scimitar had Maxaret Anti lock brakes, but after further research, it seems that they were not used on this Scimitar? 

The Dunlop Maxaret anti-lock brake system was used for Ford 4wd Project 134.  Tony Rolt MD of  Harry Ferguson Research patented Derek Gardener's idea using Potty Putty as viscous coupling for slip control as part of differential between front & rear drive.  Rolt sold 4WD patents to GKN to finance his new company Ferguson Formula Developments FFD.  The new Wolston factory provided capacity to meet the new Chrysler project.  Os Webb went as part of the package to GKN.

Os developed the idea into a working coupling using internally splined plates over centre epicyclic diff with slots & gaps in multiplates running in viscous fluid.  Rolt's FFD retained the rights to produce low volume 4WD & continued development "

Here is a picture of the centre output shaft showing splined outer

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 Above: intended 2nd prototype viscous coupling planet diff

The Scimitar was never intended for production, it was more of an engineering exercise.

A huge thanks go to Ted Laban (ex-Reliant draughtman) for copies of the development photographs and the drawings.

The car remained at the back of the Reliant development department in decaying state until John Crosthwaite (ex-BRM/Reliant Engineer) talked Ray Wiggin into selling him the car, when it was restored and registered as NRF 519L. 

After a number of years John Crosthwaite sold the unique 4x4 Scimitar to a private collector, which I finally got to see in 2012, but I had to keep details and photographs to myself. 

This unique one off 4x4 Scimitar has been in the hands of private collectors for years until it was purchased amongst 543 other cars by the Jaguar/Land Rover Collection.  The JLR group have recently put a selection of cars up for auction including the 4x4 Scimitar with no reserve to help raise money for a charity in Bicester.

This special Ferguson 4WD Scimitar GTE will be in the auction on 21st March 2018 via Brightwells Auction in Bicester:

Click link below for further details!!   

Bicester Auction 

Thanks to Brightwells auction for use of the auction photos.


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FW9 Prototype

Following various designs to make a four wheeled version of the Bond Bug, this curious design was built by Ogle Design for Reliant.  

This 2 seater coupe started life as a mock up, but then went on to be used as a styling exercise, before being finished off by a Reliant employee using various spare parts. 


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Above: Artists Impression



Scimitar SE6 Prototype

This was the Ogle/Reliant artists sketch of the new longer and wider Scimitar GTE known as the SE6 that would replace the and SE5a series. 



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Above:  Sketch by Bertone


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Above:  FW11 Press Release


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Above:  The proposed SE7 Scimitar *


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Above: This FW11 prototype survives in Germany, and is going to be restored by its new owner.


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Above This FW11 in Rahmi M. Koç Museum, Istanbul.  Many Thanks to Tony Phillipson, General Manager for these great photo's.




FW11 Prototype

Reliant produced a four door hatchback based on a design by Bertone.  There were actually 4 cars made.  One resides in a Turkish Museum, one was broken up and used for spares, one survives in England and the other car was destroyed by Reliant.  

Reliant looked at different ideas for the FW11, originally the car was set to replace the Anadol in Turkey, but Reliant were looking at possibly replacing the Scimitar with this model and it was dubbed the "SE7".  Various styling was used and as the * pictures show, they fitted an FW11 with alloy wheels, Scimitar badges and registration plates.  The car was fitted with a Ford 1.6 litre engine, but they looked at various sized engines to suit including a 2.8 litre.

The blue FW11 lives in the Rahmi M. Koç Museum, Istanbul and was restored by Ford Otosan craftsmen and is now part of their fantastic exhibition.

Amongst many great exhibits, they also have a superb looking Reliant Scimitar SE5a donated by Ray Wiggin!!


UPDATE: Sept 2006 Great News: 

The beige FW11 prototype has recently been purchased by German car enthusiast Jens Meiners.  Jens is currently shipping the car to Germany and intends to fully restore the car over the  winter/spring.  Jen says "Remarkably the FW11 still runs and drives after many years of storage, but is in need of a lot of TLC"  

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For more pictures of this car visit click here

Jens is trying to get as much information on the FW11 as possible, so if anyone has any history or details of this car then please contact me and I will forward it on. 


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Above: Scimitar GTC prototype with transfer logos being tested. (Note the reversed Manta SR logo)

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Above:  The prototype Scimitar GTC



Reliant Scimitar GTC

In 1978, Ritchie Spencer asked Tom Karen from Ogle Design to redesign the Scimitar GTE and adapt it into  a convertible.  Tom Karen quickly came up with plans which involved cutting up a new Scimitar GTE bodyshell and replacing  the rear body work to include a boot and a lid.  The existing chassis was strong enough and did not need any alterations, however the body work had to reinforced in places to add rigidity.  The roof was cut off and replaced with a T-bar section as per the Triumph Stag.  Extra supports and stiffening structures were bonded around the A-post, beneath the doors and a reinforced bridge section was made to fit around the boot section.  The hood contacted out to Coventry Hood Company, who produced the GTC hoods from a high quality German Happich material, which included  a larger rear window and rear quarter light sections for extra visibility.

The GTC prototype was produced and registered as XJW 247T on 11 05 1979 and was termed an SE8.

(Production GTC's were called the SE8b.)

The car went through various changes during its time at Reliant which included more body work reinforcements to help reduce scuttle shake and it went through various hood assessments.  The biggest change was the engine.  As Ford were phasing out the 3 litre Essex engine, they decided to fit Ford's new Cologne 2.8 litre engine.  Although power wasn't affected, the torque was much less, so the original 3.33:1 axle was swapped for 3.54:1 to help compensate for this.

The car was later used by Tom Leake of  Shropshire Star newspaper for a trip to Geneva and back before finally being bought by motoring  journalist Mike McCarthy with 23,000 miles on the clock.

 XJW 247T  featured in Old Motor March 1982.

The car was then purchased by Martin Morris, who used it a lot  for towing his ERA to race meetings.  Sadly Martin Morris passed away and the car was up for sale recently.  





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




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