now browsing by tag


Engine Pondering….

With the Rebel undergoing prep for painting we’ve started to think about building up a decent engine. This is no small task, During the last 8 months numerous engines (at least 12) and countless parts have been acquired with the intention of building a “tuned” 750cc motor, Unfortunately other than spending a impressive amount of cash we hadn’t actually made any progress on this front until recently…

The following photos show some of the parts we’ve been procrastinating over. The first set of photos show a Brand New 750cc engine block with balanced crank and flywheel, polished con-rods and strapped center main bearing. Its in its original packing case destined for Export and has no serial number.

These next three show a ex 750 Formula Race engine. Fitted with a Ford Kent oil-pump on a custom cast Ali timing cover driven off the front of the camshaft, Polished rods, strapped center main, lightened rockers, high lift cam and non vacuum distributor.

We bought this Early 600cc engine last year, Modified for 750 formula use it came with the following – All 3 main bearings strapped, High lift cam, fully lightened and polished crank and rods, hepolite pistons, ported head and lightened rockers and a full flow oilfilter conversion instead of the original bypass arrangement. The intention had been to use this engine but once we stripped it down it needed a fair amount of work, The block has cracked across where the center head stud thread is located (a common problem with reliant’s), the crank was badly scored and the liners were badly pitted on the outside where they’re exposed to the water-jacket.

Rather than use one of those engines I’ve decided to spend even more money on modifying the original 600cc engine that came with the car (the only reason i can come up with to justify this is that it has the right serial number on the side) The block has now been modified to take 750/850 liners and the current plan is to use a 750cc crankshaft rather than a longer throw 850 one to reduce piston speed and make it a bit more responsive on the rev front. The next stage will be to get the center head stud Tig welded up, steam clean the block and strap the center main bearing and modify the oil system to give better flow to the main bearings.

In the next post I’ll share some of the options for ancillaries, heads, cranks, valve-train etc!.

Anyone want to buy some race engines?  :D


One Year on Prepping for another MOT

Hard to believe that this thread has not had an update since March…!

Its easy to let updates slip once a car is on the road but hopefully this post will fill in some of the gaps I’ve failed to talk about during the past few months. Since returning to the road and getting its panels the van has been in regular use clocking up the miles….

As seen here In Birmingham:

Rebel Van with dated architecture (petersfield)

Rebel Van in Grimsby:

and as documented in another thread recently… Stoke on Trent:

This year its done 4400+ miles, In the time since the engine swap its needed a fuel pump and a different dynamo to replace parts that were long past their prime. But other than that its been a faithful workhorse that has repeatedly exceeded my expectations. To the point where I now happily overlook some of its very real faults. eg the inability to see out of the wing mirrors, the huge amount of transmitted road noise when doing 50+mph and the tendency to get blown about by high winds or high sided vehicles when traveling at speed  :shock: .

With the one year ownership mark fast approaching my thoughts recently turned to securing the next MOT and addressing some of the problems that had been deferred when the van when back on the road. These really needed to be sorted to guarantee the little rebel van a chance to stay on the road in the longer term.

With this in mind I took the van over to the isle of wight where the plan was to make and fit a set of replacement chassis outriggers. Heres a look at the old ones:

Passenger side rear, The rusty hole is actually the seat belt mounting point hidden beneath a large washer  :shock: .

Passenger side rear outrigger profile view, This shows the basic construction, steel pressings spot welded together which has left a rust trap between the surfaces. This had then been very badly overplated in a previous repair.

The front Passenger side outrigger, which had again been overplated

The front drivers side outrigger, the whole in the middle is caused but water accumulating between the 2 spot welded sections over many years,

Despite the appearances the Reliant outriggers were surprisingly solid still and did take some effort to remove, the previous repair work leaves alot to be desired and while it was hiding the problems of the original design it wasn’t actually providing any real strength.

A new set of outriggers were put together, These were fabricated out of 3mm steel plate which is slightly thicker than standard. They are made to the same pattern we used on the rebel saloon we did last year. This design includes a wider top which can be used to fasten a B-pillar roll bar to the chassis if one is fitted at a later date.

Photo Shows a set of outriggers before final trimming, rears at the top fronts ant the bottom.

For the Mot the Van needed 3 Dust Boots for the track rods, a nearside Tyre and the front brake balance sorting (turned out to be a sticking piston in a cylinder)

The following pictures show the van up on the MOT lift and the new outriggers fitted…. Sorry about the lousy Iphone pictures I’d left my good camera behind.  :(

Finally a couple of post Mot shots Which show the van as it currently is with its correct tail lights fitted and chrome bumpers fitted.

Plans in the new year include sorting the interior out with some carpet / insulation fitting some door mirrors to replace the wing mirrors and working on a high ratio axle swap. The mid term plan will still be to get the body off and get it nicely painted etc but in the meantime I’m now happy that its now all solid and the fine details like nice paintwork can wait until the weather is better.




With a battery tray and a battery borrowed from the Scimitar we spent some time refitting the electronics. Surprisingly most items came to life without too much trouble. The wiper unit worked and parked nicely, most of the old bulbs were all fine once the connections were cleaned up and even the lucas flasher unit worked!

Tail lights and indicators,

Original headlight units working,

Mostly Engine Work


We decided to go for one of the 600cc engines we sourced from Ian. This had the advantage of not being seized… but not much else. There was some scoring to one of the liners but it was the best 600 we had and was probably good enough to give us a feel for the rebel as it would have driven when it left the factory…. Our first attempt to run the best of our engines resulted in a blowing headgasket so we sent the head off for a skim. This head is the one which came with the rebel, Rebel heads had extra porting done to the inlets and exhausts compared to the standard regal item, they were also higher compression. Ours was even higher than standard once skimmed!

Skimmed Head:

Block awaiting a skimmed head (pedantic Relaint purists will be pleased to know this is a 598cc engine! as per original spec)

Now with added gasket!

Head goes on:

With the head fitted we decided to inspect the bottom end and discovered a holed sump!

Fortunately the bottom end looked pretty good.

I bought a set of Rostyle Wheels off an MG available locally. The price of £15 for 4 reasonable tyres and wheels seemed to good to pass up. They are not quite the same as having the old wheels but the budget was a bit tight to go splashing out on an all new set of tyres.

New brake shoes have been fitted all round as well as new brake pipes, This meant the brakes could now be bled!

Finally a photo of the engine now back in place! its so light it can be comfortably lifted in and out of position with 2 people.

Reuniting Body and Chassis


Re-uniting the Bodyshell and Chassis:




Rollbar in situ

rear outrigger and the mounting plate on the bottom of the rollbar

rear of engine bay

forward view of engine bay


One Month Before! :shock: :