The Reliant Scimitar name was used for a series of sports car models produced by British car manufacturer Reliant between 1964 and 1986. During its 22-year production it developed into a range of versions including a convertible launched in 1980. All have a fibreglass body mounted on a steel box-section chassis.
Scimitar GTC SE8 (1980–1986)
Reliant began planning a convertible in 1977 and commissioned Ogle Design to create a proposal. Tom Karen adapted his earlier GTE design and created a four-seater convertible with a good-sized boot. From the B-post back, all of the panels were new, with extra bracing introduced between the rear side panels and door hinge plates running under the dashboard. The roll hoop from the GTE was retained, and for additional support this was linked to extra tubes running around the front screen creating a Triumph Stag-like T-bar design that would ensure the rigidity of the new body design. As the car sported a separate chassis and the extra bracing, it did not suffer from the scuttle shake that unibody convertibles could be prone to suffer. The hood was designed in house by adapting the hood frame from a Triumph Stag, with a bespoke cover made of mohair. A prototype car was produced in 1978 and was powered by a 3.0 Essex engine. Later Reliant replaced it with a 2.8 Cologne engine, because Ford had withdrawn its Essex engines from the European market in favour of the Cologne unit. This was slightly down on torque compared to the Essex engine, so to improve performance Reliant changed the final drive ratio from 3.31 to 3.54. The GTC was launched in March 1980, with a hardtop added after the Birmingham Motor Show that year. While it was well received by the motoring press, in 1980 the country was heading into a recession and Reliant struggled to sell its £11,360 convertibles in great numbers. As a result, many cars were left sitting at the factory for months until owners could be found.
- A total of 442 production GTCs were manufactured by Reliant (+ 1 prototype)
- 340 were manufactured in 1980 (the first year of production)
- Factory galvanised chassis from production number 372 – 442 (earlier cars had a painted steel chassis)
- 3 were manufactured in 1981, 20 in 1982, 24 in 1983, 29 in 1984, 13 in 1985, 13 in 1986
- Most of the cars registered in 1981 were actually manufactured in 1980
- The GTC is lighter than the SE6B GTE on which it is based
- The GTC was 10% more expensive than the SE6B in 1980
- In 1980 a GTC would have cost £11,360, equivalent to more than £40,000 now