Compared with the comparatively primitive  Sabre,  the Reliant Scimitar GT SE4 which first saw the light of day in 1964 was a vastly better car in all respects.

According to history, were it not for Reliant's Managing Director Ray Wiggin’s sheer persistence, the Scimitar might never have been produced.

The car originally started life as a styling exercise by Ogle Design and was built on a Daimler SP250 'Dart' platform, but the Tamworth-based company liked the shape so much that it bought the rights.

To test the waters, a truncated version of the car appeared on the platform of the Sabre Six, using traditional glass fibre for the body.

To begin with, the GT SE4 had a much-improved chassis, an excellent 2+2-seater coupe body styled by Ogle Design, and a much better-equipped interior than the spartan Sabre,

This first of a series  of Scimitars put Reliant on the map, later spawning the GTE version, meaning that  the model, in one format or another,   remained in production and selling steadily into  the mid-Eighties

Power for the GT SE4  came from a triple-SU converted Ford Zephyr power unit, backed by a Ford four-speed manual gearbox that later acquired overdrive, with Borg-Warner automatic transmission offered as an option.

There was a choice of straight six or V6 engines, but the latter was more powerful and proved the popular choice, leading to the former being dropped.

Early Scimitar GTs could be difficult to handle at speed, but the addition of trailing arm rear suspension in 1965 reversed this defect significantly, making the later versions genuine performance cars, with excellent handling, potent acceleration, and surprisingly good build quality.

Were it not for the huge or even disproportionate amount of time required to hand-build the cars; Reliant could easily have reduced prices and sold more Scimitar GTs.

Holding them back was that Reliant and their design partners Ogle had alreadyinvested comsiderable time and money on developing a larger and more powerful successor, the Scimitar GTE.

The GTE became one of the leading icons of the touring car market of the late Sixties and early Seventies.

A 3.0-litre V-6 engine replaced the inline six in 1967, followed by an optional smaller (2.5-litre] V-6 engine for Reliant's sports coupe. Otherwise, specifications remained similar to 1966.

Production of the coupe body ceased after 1970 with sales overshadowed entirely by the success of the GTE.

All in all, the arrival of the Scimitar GT marked the beginning of a remarkable run of success for Reliant.

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