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Reliant Scimitar GTC

Reliant Scimitar GTC Published: 20th Oct 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Reliant Scimitar GTC
Reliant Scimitar GTC
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Why should i get one?

It was good enough for royalty in its heyday, but does that make this overlooked classic a great buy today? The Reliant GTC was seen as great sports tourer when new and regarded as a fine alternative to an Alfa or a BMW, plus offered better build quality than a TVR. The Scimitar’s fibreglass body can’t rust of course (chassis can) and the ‘parts bin’ construction, using components from major manufacturers at the time, makes for fairly easy ownership. There’s a fine owners’ club, too.

 

What can i get?

Ignoring the GTC that’s the subject of this counterpoint test for a moment, there’s more to Scimitars than just the GTE range. Earlier distinctive coupés powered by the straight and V6 six Ford engines (SE4) were also highly acclaimed in their day and are now prized and priced as a result, due to their rarity. The GTC was a clever spin off to the GTE, which, when introduced in early 1980, filled the void, and many Triumph Stag owners switched over (saying this car was the better all-rounder). The original Essex V6 was replaced by the German 2.8 V6 by the time the GTC surfaced, although when Middlebridge took over the car from Reliant only the GTE was marketed. GTC sales were sadly poor, not because of the car itself, but economic turmoil at the time which led to less than 450 being produced, with 1980 accounting for 340, although production lingered on until 1986, when Middlebridge took over.

 

What are they like to drive?

Unlike the GTE, the GTC relied upon the smaller, sweeter, if not so lusty, 2.8 unit found in the Granada which is carb, not fuel-injection fed, which cuts power down to 135bhp. However, as it’s a lighter car than the GTE, performance is broadly similar, although the lower gearing employed means the car isn’t quite so long-legged. With its stout chassis, extra reinforcement and a rear suspension not unlike that of an Aston (with a Watts linkage employed to secure the rear axle), the Reliant is considerably sportier than the Stag, providing entertaining tail-out handling, plus it doesn’t suffer from the latter’s over-light steering – or from the Triumph’s irritating rear-end driveshaft lock-up under the power. Another bonus with the GTC is that scuttle shake is pleasingly low, since the body sits on a strong separate chassis. The hood is broadly Stag, and no hard top was available, while the plush looking interior seats four better than the Triumph, due to the GTC being based upon the bigger SE6 platform.

 

What are they like to live with?

While not as easy as a Stag (one of the most popular classics you can buy) Scimitars are no problem, thanks to specialists such as Graham Walker and QED. Major components were sourced from mainstream car makers (mostly BL and Ford) and, while trim is more difficult to obtain there are dodges: door mirrors from the XJ-S, door handles from the Range Rover and front indicators care of slightly altered Golf items. There’s a good club scimitargtoc.co.uk and values are still remarkably low, at comfortably under ten grand and with a moderately good car for around half this (about the price of nice GTEs, incidentally) – what sort of Spitfire, let alone Stag, would that get you?

 

Verdict

Common sense would say the Stag, but there’s more of the ‘what’s that?’ factor about the GTC and, apart from being far better value and more exclusive, owners swear that it’s the better car. Drive both to see if you concur but the Triumph will always be easier to own and sell on.

 



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