High gearing was a Scimitar hallmark, making for relaxed rapid cruising with the torquey Essex V6. Find your next car in our classifieds – the classic of your dreams could be just a click away... (l-r) Stylish SE4 coupé used Ford 2553cc ‘six’ then Essex V6s; SE6 models were more practical though weren’t as agile, Jensen GT (left) and Volvo 1800ES are alternative buys, Tune in to C&SC’s virtual Club Awards 2020, Don’t miss our Black Friday subscription offers, Why going back to the future can be so illuminating, Why the allure of the Countach is much more than skin deep, Video: The Classic & Sports Car Show 2018 highlights, Combines sports car handling with space, versatility and practicality. Ford V6 is durable and straightforward: look for regular servicing, excessive oil breathing and knocks or rattles. Overdrive is vital for relaxed cruising: ensure it cuts in and out and does not slip. At first the manual final-drive ratio was 3.58:1, later raised to 3.31:1, while the auto was 3.07:1. The padded fascia board had crash pads at the top and bottom and improvements were made with the ventilation by fitting directionally variable ventilator jets, as used by Ford. In 1966 the SE4A was replaced by the SE4B, with a V6 3.0 L Ford "Essex" engine. Ford auto gearboxes on SE6s are more durable than earlier BW 35s, which need rebuilding by 60,000 miles; check for smooth changes and kickdown without excessive slipping. Fuel and range very good". The aura of Royal patronage and innovative British design and engineering that surrounded the Scimitar GTE like a halo at its launch has long since tarnished and fallen away. Other modifications included replacing the wire wheels with wider steel wheels as standard, and the fitting of a higher-ratio rear axle (3.58:1 instead of 3.875:1). Princess Anne famously loves GTEs: she bought the last Reliant-made car and still owns a Middlebridge Scimitar, her eighth. As numbers continue to decline, its day will eventually come – we promise! Starter classics: 14 great cars for a first-timer, 20 appreciating classics and what you should pay for them, Malcolm McKay is a regular contributor to Classic & Sports Car. “I bought my ’69 SE5 12 years ago: 12 fun years. “But watch out: lots of neglected cars keep reappearing on eBay every few weeks or months. In order to keep cost down, many components in addition to the engine were existing ones originally designed for competitor models, a point emphasized for buyers of the early Scimitars in which unfolding the sun visor involved knocking the rearview mirror out of adjus… Test for for smooth changes and kickdown on automatics. SE6/6a cooling systems should be uprated to SE6b spec. Externally, the only difference between the 3 litre and 2.5 litre versions was the small badge on the boot giving the engine size. The lower wishbones were re-positioned, the tower structures and cross members were re-inforced and an anti-roll bar was fitted. Reliant produced approximately 296 straight-six Scimitar GTs. It was first displayed in 1964. Optional extras included a choice of De Normanville overdrive unit, electric sunroof and ZF gearbox. Sadly this had to be lowered for the SE6A’s less torquey 2.8 V6. Unlike Jaguar, Reliant fitted its autos with longer diffs than the manuals (giving direct top closer to the manual’s overdrive top). Reliant's first Scimitar was a coupé based upon the styling of a Daimler SP250 prototype (renamed the SX250) and the chassis of a Reliant Sabre. Reliant's first Scimitar was a coupé based upon the styling of a Daimler SP250 prototype (renamed the SX250) and the chassis of a Reliant Sabre. I started sporting-reliants.com and am really into them. If it’s noisy, budget £1000 for a rebuild. Stiff steering, rattles and uneven tyre wear at the front signify worn suspension and/or excessively wide tyres – 195/70x14 is the sensible maximum. body off restoration done in 2017, thousands spent on resto and respray with less than a 1000 miles since.S/S fuel tank and exhausts, tubular manifolds. SE5a’s vacuum-formed dashboard is prone to disintegrate with age; GRP substitutes can be found. Unlike Jaguar, Reliant fitted its autos with longer diffs than the manuals (giving direct top closer to the manual’s overdrive top). It was powered by a 2.6-litre Ford straight six from the Ford Zephyr and Zodiac. Production of the standard Scimitar GT continued until November 1970. The fibre timing gear can disintegrate; only noisier steel replacements are available. The steel frame rusts and needs careful inspection; unique trim items such as SE5/5a back bumpers are tricky to source. Using Ford's 2.5 litre version of the V6 Essex engine meant that the car could still reach speeds of over 110 mph, have slightly better mpg, but ultimately reduce the cost to the public by approx £120. Good gear change, but rather wide ratios. This meant that Reliant had to do a good deal of development work to the existing Scimitar GT to enable the new more powerful engine to fit and obtain best performance and handling. I think it’s fair to say that I have a level of tolerance with the Scimitar – there are only a certain number of things that aren’t as I’d like them to be – … Scimitar Coupe with 2.6 litre straight six engine. Electrical faults are common due to the extra earthing wires required with a glassfibre body and a tendency for owners to bodge when problems arise.
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