When Reliant introduced the Rebel in September 1964, it caused quite a surprise, coming with an "extra wheel" - one more than the usual three.

The Reliant Rebel was the company's first four-wheel compact, fitted with an 598cc engine, four-speed gearbox and spiral-bevel back axle as was used on the top-selling tricycle, the Regal.

Much heavier than the Regal, in any case, the Rebel was more than a mere conversion.

The new model was built on a newly designed box-section chassis frame with the engine mounted much further forward than it could ever go in the three-wheeler, backed up by  Triumph Herald coil spring front suspension and worm and-peg steering.

Full hydraulic brakes were fitted, and the spare wheel was mounted up front, under the bonnet, on top of and to one side of the engine.

The two-door four-seater saloon body was Ogle-styled, but essentially rather plain and very simply trimmed and equipped.

Even though it was capable of reaching a creditable 63mph (100 k/ph), and handled in a neat but unobtrusive way, the Rebel was very costly for its class.

That’s the reason why the model never succeeded to build up a substantial following, especially as it had to compete with the two superstars of the era, BMC’s  Mini and the basic Ford Anglia 105E — which it could not do.

/p>Despite the lack of commercial success, Reliant persisted with this car, even updating the model when the opportunity arose.

First of all Reliant phased out the 509cc engine replacing it with a 701cc engine in October 1967, launching an estate car at the end of the same year.

The Rebel was fitted with yet another engine from  September 1972, a 748cc although this was the last update before the model was taken out of production in December 1973.

It would be two more years before the even larger-engined Kitten appeared to fill the gap.

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