During the early Sixties, in an effort to spread their market penetration a little wider than the three-wheeler sector, Reliant took advantage of cooperation with the  Sabra car manufacturing company of Israel in building a  fully-fledged sports car.

The model was given the dashing title of the Sabre (later known as the Sabre 4).

Reliant initially  planned to market the Sabre in the UK only, although they soon began to make limited penetration into  export markets.

The Reliant Sabre 4 was powered by a Ford Consul 1703cc engine matched up with a Ford four-speed gearbox.

When it was first unveiled to an unsuspecting UK public in 1961, reactions were at best stinted. 

According to critics from the UK media, the Sabre’s design lacked symmetry, with its bonnet too long about the rest of the car.
Add to that, the Sabra's performance was best described as sub-standard, with its "split-axle" front suspension causing the vehicle to chronically suffer from very bumpy rides and heavy steering.

At this point, Reliant’s ambitious Sabre project seemed destined for the scrap heap.

Despite the Sabre's glaring design and mechanical flaws, to their credit Reliant did persevere, redesigning the body to make it more proportional, with a shorter bonnet.

Reliant even showed that the Sabre was here to stay for a little while longer through providing a fastback hardtop option.

Taking into account Reliant's desire for the Sabre to become a critical and commercial success, there was no avoiding the giant “ question mark” hanging over the model.

 In late 1963, less than two years after the model was released, Reliant called a halt on the Sabre 4, in its place introducing the Sabre 6.

The Sabre 6 was powered by a six-cylinder 2553cc (159 cu in) straight-six engine and  TR4-type coil spring and wishbone front suspension.

Along with much more assured handling,  the Six also had more fluent styling, with a neater front end and rounded rear arches.

Neither Sabre version turned out to be a great sales success for the company,although the experience gained in their development and production would set a considerable precedent for future sports coupes carrying the Reliant label.

The Sabre was a real "Ugly Duckling" which improved persistently but never won the hearts of the public.

It was generally regarded that their first venture into producing sports coupes taught Reliant that a lot, especially that they could to do a lot better, an attribute which they realised with the Scimitar which followed.

Despite being created in glass fibre which should have stood the test of time only a few versions of the Reliant Sabre are around today- possibly as a result of their overall lack of appeal.

Back to the homepage- and don't spare the horsepower.