Classic Cars Wiki
Classic Cars Wiki

Reliant Rebel

The Reliant Rebel was a small car produced by Reliant between 1964 and 1973, conceived as an alternative to the Austin Mini and Hillman Imp. It was produced in saloon, estate and van variants.


The Rebel had a body made of fibreglass. Because of this, the car's body did not rust, and it was proclaimed in advertising to be "its own garage".


The car was launched with a 598 cc engine which was increased to 701 cc in time for the October 1967 London Motor Show and at the 1972 Motor Show to 748 cc (although sometimes later 848 cc Reliant engines are retro-fitted) and the maximum speed was around 70 mph (110 km/h).

Even the 748 cc engine introduced in 1972 offered only a claimed power output of 35 bhp (SAE) and published fuel consumption figures also indicated a car significantly more frugal than similarly sized metal bodied contemporaries.

Chassis, suspension and steering[]

The chassis was similar to that of the three-wheeled Reliant Regal, but the Rebel featured a conventional four wheel configuration which involved a significantly larger section to its rails and conventional steering. In the Rebel's case this used the steering box from a Standard Ten with wishbones, trunnions and ball-joints from the Triumph GT6 / Vitesse. The standard 12" steel wheels have a PCD of 4x4" (4x101.6mm).


The car was introduced with a four-speed gearbox which featured synchromesh on the top three ratios. By 1972 synchromesh had been extended to all four forward speeds. The light-weight body material and the aluminium engine block meant that the car was some 15% lighter than the (slightly shorter) Mini and 35% lighter than the early Renault 5 introduced in 1972.

Production numbers[]

Only 2,600 Rebels were made in saloon, estate and van variants.

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