A gathering of 28 of the 78 ‘Middlebridge’ Scimitars is planned at this year’s Silverstone Classic, 30 years on from the start of their short life.
If you mention the Reliant Scimitar GTE to anyone of a certain age, you always get the same response: “Princess Anne has one, you know”. And actually, it’s still true.
The Princess Royal has had more than one Scimitar GTE, the first as a 20th birthday present from her parents, the last a ‘Middlebridge’ Scimitar.
The Scimitar GTE arrived in 1968 as Reliant took their not great-looking Scimitar and turned it in to a Shooting Brake, delivering a car with appealing looks and decent performance. A ‘Posh’ Ford Capri, if you like, with very similar powertrain.
It proved Reliant could do more than build a three-wheel Del Boy Regal, and the GTE had quite a following. But it wasn’t enough to make money and production ended in 1986.
But the rights to the Scimitar were bought up by Japanese businessman Kohji Nakauchi and the ‘Middlebridge Scimitar’ was born and, for a few short years, Middlebridge built a posher GTE complete with a Ford fuel-injected 2.9 litre engine.
Just 78 Middlebridge Scimitars were built in the two years the company survived, and to mark 30 years since the first cars hit the road, 28 of the rarest Scimitars are heading for the Silverstone Classic in July.
They include the pre-production prototype, MB1, the first car, and MB5, the car Princess Anne bought and still owns, complete with the same number plate she’s had on every Scimitar she’s owned – 1420 H (she’s Colonel-in-Chief of the 14th/20th King’s Hussars).
So if you have a fondness for the Scimitar, best you keep the last weekend in July free.