Who could have expected one of the most influential new car body styles to have emerged from a small firm in the Midlands region of the UK with a history of building plastic bodied three wheeler cars? Unexpected it may have been, but the Reliant Scimitar GTE had a huge influence on the car industry, with manufactures such as Lancia Volvo and BMW unashamedly rushing to copy vehicle’s unique sporting estate styling. The GTE grew out of the more conventional and booted Scimiter GT coupe, which was launched in 1964. The basic ingredients were the same, a substantial separate chassis, fiber glass body shell and rugged Ford V6 power. Like the GT, the GTE was styled by the noted industrial design company, Ogle. The recipe was quite simple, but clever and versatile, a futuristic long roof two door body, with tapering side windows and a handy glass hatchback. Inside, the Scimitar had room for four adults and the decent boot space could be extended by folding the rear seats.
Despite Reliant’s tiny operation the Scimitar was extremely well thought out and finished up to mass maker standards of the time. The rugged Ford V6 gave the car excellent performance, and the optional switchable overdrive helped deliver good economy and relaxed motorway cruising. The Scimitar was a fine car. It was many years ahead of its time, and it is small influential some 40 years later.