This page is all about my 1969 Reliant Scimitar GTE SE5
MANUFACTURER: RELIANT MOTOR COMPANY (Tamworth, England)
MODEL: SCIMITAR GTE 'SE5'
REGISTRATION: WRK 99G
DATE OF REGISTRATION: 27/06/1969
CHASSIS NUMBER: ***295
DATE OF PURCHASE: MAY 1998
Q: Why did I choose a Reliant Scimitar?
A: After owning many weird and wonderful cars, I decided I wanted another classic car. Most of my previous cars had suffered badly with rust.
Click to see my "Previous Cars" page which includes a Mk1 Ford Escort, a Mk1 Fiesta, a Fiat Strada, a Fiat X19, a Vauxhall Chevette, a Ford Orion and a Reliant Kitten.
The last car I had before the Scimitar was a MK5 Ford Escort Van. It was practical for me at the time as I could fit camping equipment and my mountain bike in the back of it. It was fairly reliable, but very sluggish and extremely boring to drive! At that time my father owned a 1967 Lotus Elan and a MK2 Lotus Cortina, of which I was quite jealous! I started to look around for a classic car for myself. I knew that I couldn't afford a Lotus Cortina or a Lotus Elan and besides I wouldn't have been able to get my bike and camping equipment in either of the cars! I came to the conclusion I needed a saloon car and a sports car......and a convertible! I had looked at various other marques including Triumph Spitfires and MK1 Escorts, but I really struggled to find one which met all my requirements.
While I was at work one afternoon, I heard a car pull up outside of our office. When I looked out of the window I saw a superb looking Reliant Scimitar. I didn't really know much about them, so I nipped outside to chat to the owner. The owner was very helpful and was happy to show me around the car. I liked what I saw and asked him if it was practical to use as a daily car. The owner said they were very practical and great fun to drive.
I logged onto the Reliant Sabre and Scimitar Owners Club website for some much needed information about Scimitar and printed off a list of things to look for when buying one. Within one week I was on my way to Worcester to road test my first Scimitar. When I got there, I was really excited to see a 1969 Scimitar GTE parked, ready for me to take for a spin. The owner showed me around the car and then started it up for me. I examined the engine bay to check for signs any bad oil leaks or water leaks, but everything was fine. I checked the chassis, all the suspension and once the engine had warmed up, I checked it had been running at the correct temperature, there was no sign of overheating.
It was now time for me to drive the car and I climbed/fell into the drivers seat. The instrumentation and the switches on the dashboard reminded me of an airplane cockpit. I pulled away and I was navigated around some great country lanes. Although at first I thought the steering was heavy, once I got used to the seating position I was soon at home chucking the car around tight corners. I was really impressed with the cars performance and handling. When we got back we agreed a price for the car and I was then the new owner!
Above: My Scimitar enjoying the snow. Front end is way still too low at the moment as I have fitted shorter front springs, but found it almost impossible to adjust the height of the platforms while they were still fitted to the Scim. So when it's a bit warmer, I will remove the front shocks and adjust them before refitting.
I wanted to do a list of jobs on my Scimitar and my good friend Karl Dandridge (Triumph Specialist) very kindly gave me some space in his unit so I could carry out some repairs and some general tidying up and wax oiling the underneath of my Scimitar ready for winter.
Soon it was on axle stands ready to remove to clean up and overhaul the brakes and suspension.
One of the jobs on the list that needed doing was to replace the brake disks as they had worn, especially the backs as on full lock they used to catch the lower wishbone, even with the bump stop adjusted.
As you can clearly see, the disks needed to be replaced due to the deep grooves!
Next the hub and wishbones were removed.
Once the top wishbones were removed, it then became clear why the polybush had worn so badly. The fulcrum was very worn, thinned out and pitted.
Evidence.... the very worn out and misshapen polybush.
The top fulcrum was removed and I ordered a new one from Queensberry Road Garage.
All the suspension was cleaned, disassembled ready for inspection.
There had been discussion in the past about whether the SE5 (not SE5a) Scimitar had standard Triumph TR6 suspension parts and on further inspection we indeed found the the vertical links had a 'Stanpart' logo and Triumph part number on them.
While the car was jacked up, I decided to remove the tow bar assembly ready to repaint.
It was then suggested that rather than me use black smoothrite again (which didn't last long) I should get the parts shot blasted and powder coated.
Shiny parts arrive back from the powder coaters ready to be re-assembled and refitted back to car.
The lower wishbones are put back together the correct way now I have adjustable platforms on the shocks, (I had swapped around the wishbones back in 2002 to make the car slightly lower).
The top wishbone are fitted with new Superflex bushes.
Vertical links are re-assembled with trunnions, new bush kits and new grease nipples.
Dampers, disks, hubs and calipers are treated to a new coat of chassis black.
Replaced the leaking brake cylinder and fit new shoes
Reassembled suspension and fitted new Superflex poly bushes to the anti-roll bar and drop links.
All back together and looking much better!
Refitted rear shocks and brakes etc.
Refitted tow bar assembly, then cleaned wax oiled chassis.
Scimitar finally back on all four wheels.
A Massive thanks to Karl Dandridge of KD Triumph and Classic Cars for he use of his premises and for his help and advice and to David Hollingsworth for helping me get the car finished.
I had some play in the nearside suspension and needed to investigate the problem.
Scimitar on the ramps at KD Triumph & Classic Sports Cars in Coventry
On further investigation it turned out to be a worn out polybush on the top wishbone.
A leaking clutch slave cylinder was the reason for loosing the clutch, sadly after first fitting a repair kit, it soon failed again.
A replacement clutch slave cylinder was sourced from Ebay
Fitted replacement clutch slave cylinder and now have a clutch again!!
Finally finished off fitting all chrome bezels
- I decided it was time to tidy up the engine bay a little bit.
- Started off by removing the bonnet and painting the bonnet hinges
- Then set about scraping off the old foam and paint (you can see the original colour of the car Mediterranean Green)
- Finally with a bit of sanding the bonnet is ready for a coat of paint
- A few coats of red oxide plastic primer and it looks better already
- Rather than try and match the paint up to the rest of the body work, I decided to paint it in Satin Black.
- Engine bay looks much better
More stories and pictures of my car:
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