A-Z Of Marques No 59: Reliant

The marque: Will always be attached to memories of cars with one wheel too few.

The history: Started in 1935 by TL Williams with a three wheeled van it did not make cars for private use until 1952, when the Regal was launched. This unprepossessing vehicle used an adapted Austin 7 engine and offered mobility for the modestly-off. Glass fibre bodies featured from 1956, so giving the Regal excellent fuel economy as well as a low purchase price. It also appealed to those unable to gain a full driving licence, as it was, legally, a motorbike/sidecar combination. The Regal was succeeded by the Robin in 1973 and Bond was absorbed at the same time. Four wheeled variants such as the Rebel were produced. Rising prosperity, better four wheeled hatchbacks from the 1980s and image problems (not helped by Del Boy's patronage) helped push sales lower in the 1990s. Roadholding never a strong suit. Success of stylish Reliant Scimitar, favourites of show biz types and royalty, not followed up by SS1 sports car. Now Reliant distributes oddball Piaggios and Ligiers.

Defining model: Robin

They say: "New concept"

We say: Plastic pig.

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