Today in Motorcycle History

Reliant Rebel

1964-73. 2,600 made.

The Reliant Rebel was a small glass-fibre car produced by Reliant between 1964 and 1973, conceived as an alternative to the Austin Mini and Hillman Imp. Due to the use of non-rusting fibreglass, the body was proclaimed in advertising to be "its own garage".

The car was launched with a 598 cc engine which was increased to 701 cc in time for the October 1967 London Motor Show and at the 1972 Motor Show to 748 cc (although sometimes later 848 cc Reliant engines are retro-fitted) and the maximum speed was around 70 mph.

Even the 748 cc engine introduced in 1972 offered only a claimed power output of 35 bhp (SAE) and published fuel consumption figures also indicated a car significantly more frugal than similarly sized metal bodied contemporaries.

The chassis was similar to that of the three-wheeled Reliant: Regal, but the Rebel featured a conventional four wheel configuration which involved a significantly larger section to its rails and conventional steering. In the Rebel's case this used the steering box from a Standard Ten with wishbones, trunnions and ball-joints from the Triumph GT6 / Vitesse.

The car was introduced with a four-speed gearbox which featured synchromesh on the top three ratios. By 1972 synchromesh had been extended to all four forward speeds. The light-weight body material and the aluminium engine block meant that the car was some 15% lighter than the (slightly shorter) Mini and 35% lighter than the early Renault 5 introduced in 1972.

Only 2,600 Rebels were made in saloon, estate and van variants.

Source: Graces Guide