Life story of a Reliant Scimitar GTE

Life story of a Reliant Scimitar GTE

by classic-cars |
Published on

[Life Cycle]

This Scimitar’s story is intertwined with that of one Staffordshire family, from unlikely people-mover to exacting restoration and much-loved classic


1973 – Mr Wentworth orders his dream Scimitar

‘The story really begins in 1966,’ says Malcolm Wentworth of the Reliant Scimitar GTE he’s owned since new. ‘I was waiting for the school bus, and a lady drove past us, through the village, in a car I’d never seen before and couldn’t identify, but I knew I wanted one. I later discovered it was a Reliant Scimitar GT. Fastforward to me leaving school, I started an apprenticeship as a carpenter and joiner, and one of my tasks as a new starter was to wash the boss’s cars. I went to the garage where they were kept, and sure enough, there was a pair of Scimitar GTs. It instantly rekindled my interest in them.

‘I set up my own carpentry and joinery business in 1969. With £1000 I bought an old Methodist chapel for £380 that I converted into a workshop, a brand-new Bedford HA van for the business for £510, and a second-hand Morris Minor 1000 with what was left.

‘However, in 1973 the Minor collapsed and went to a scrapyard,’ Malcolm continues. ‘I ran around in the van for a while, but in 1973 I married Carole, and we needed a second car.’

Carole recalls the situation. ‘I was thumbing lifts from friends at the time,’ she says. ‘When we decided to get a new car, I actually wanted a Mini, but Malcolm couldn’t get into it comfortably.’

The 24-year-old Malcolm, however, realised he had the opportunity to buy the kind of car he’d wanted ever since he was a schoolboy. ‘I considered the Volvo 1800ES, the then just-released Lotus-engined Jensen GT, and the Gilbern Invader,’ he says, ‘but in reality there was only one car I wanted.

‘I placed my order for a Reliant Scimitar GTE in the latter half of 1973, and they gave me a projected delivery date for six weeks later. This slid by, and as 1973 became 1974, the dealer I ordered it from, Ovar Motors in Derby, suggested I go down to Reliant’s Tamworth factory and see what was happening.

‘I made the trip down to Tamworth, went into the reception area, and the walls were adorned with photographs of Princess Anne collecting her first GTE a few weeks earlier. It turned out the Royal visit and the prioritising of her car had disrupted production and delivery. I was told on the day that my car was three weeks away.'

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