by Steven Smith
The Scimitar GTE (Grand Touring Escape) used a Ford 3 litre V6 engine and was the first car to have its back seats fold down separately, a technique that even today is copied by nearly all hatchback cars.
Its wedge-like profile defied the fact that it boasted 36 cu ft of load space, and was accessible through a stylish glass hatch supported on spring struts. Its body was shaped in rust-resistant glassfibre and was strengthened by its steel chassis.
The powerful motor in such a light car resulted in it being extremely fast and could easily handle 193 km/h. It was also very reliable and was soon viewed very favourably when Princess Anne received one in 1970
. SE6 cars were introduced in 1975
They were softer and wider-bodied and much more comfortable, but unfortunately were never as popular as the 1968
model. Competitors began mass-marketing cheap copies causing Reliant to lose a grip on the market that used to be solely theirs. The final car left the production line in 1986
When Reliant went into liquidiation, they were bought out and production started again in 1989
. The new company traded under the name of Middlebridge, and the new car was called a Middlebridge Scimitar.
It was supposed to be better made then the Reliant, but having had a Reliant and still own number 37 of the Middlebridge, I can't see it. The Middlebridge Scimitar looked identical to the SE6 but had Colour co-ordinated bumpers, PAS, and the Ford 2.9 V6 injection engine that was found in the Granada and Sierra's.
There should of been 500 of the GTE's made and then they were going to make a Middlebridge GTC (the convertible GTE), but Middlebridge went bust after only making 77. This was down to pricing themselves out of the market as each car was hand made.