Some car manufacturers really go all-out when it comes to the design and development of their models, hiring the fanciest Italian designers and following what they perceive to be the latest, hottest trend. That’s fine. Others just stumble on a good idea, and run with it, and that’s exactly the case of the 1968 Reliant Scimitar. Conceived of by a back-water manufacturer, Reliant, more used to turning out three-wheeler economy vehicles, the Scimitar was a jewel of design, inspiring Lancia, Volvo and BMW, to name but a few. The car itself was designed and styled by the Ogle, the industrial design company. Despite the fact that Reliant was a tiny manufacturer, it managed to produce a car the entire world admired and of course, copied.
The Scimitar was a simple car, with awesome design, and like all good design, they kept things simple. The engine was supplied by Ford, a powerful and rugged 3-liter V6 that produced 138 horsepower. it was paired to a necessarily tough four-speed manual transmission, and the Scimitar could could on all-around disc brakes for stopping power. It could reach a top speed of 120 miles per hour, and do a standing 0-60 in 8.5 seconds.
The 1968 Reliant Scimitar is a great example of what can be accomplished with a simple good idea and a clean design; it should in no way reflect on the Scimitar SS1, introduced later, which was somewhat of a lesser car.