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Return to the Island

This weekend saw a bit of progress on the rebel saloon, we dug it out of hibernation in the lockup garage where it has been since the start of the year  :)   . Dave (who is buying the rebel off me) has just passed his driving test and so It seemed like a good opportunity to revive the rebel and for it to be transferred over to him to drive it to the Isle of wight where he rebel can get it prepped and painted.

It only took some water for the cooling system and a fresh battery to get the rebel going again. £60 was blown at peter pikey’s part worn tyres getting a set of the original steel wheels fitted with new(ish) tyres.

Insurance was sorted for a very reasonable £340 (not bad for a new driver Age 23 with the car insured in their own name.) and Dave was then able to test the full potential of the 600cc rebel on the open road… It was a slightly different experience to the driving instructors 11 plate fiesta!

The test drives highlighted an ongoing issue with the clutch snatching in first, When the clutch is released in first there is a violent series of judders before the gear engages. Its a fairly common issue on Reliant cars using the gearbox with no synchro on first gear. But the exact cause can be attributed to dozens of different sources… Worn Clutch, Worn Primary motion shaft, engine and gearbox movement… etc! In the end most of Saturday was spent removing the engine and swapping the clutch over for a new one and the engine stay bar was adjusted (designed to limit engine and gearbox movement) this resulted in a much better gear change in first.

The Rebel has also been temporarily fitted with a set door mirrors… when driving the car last year it was decided that the original long stalk wing mirrors were too prone too movement to be practical for regular use. The decision was taken to swap them for a set of Tex door mirrors as soon as the budget allowed. The Tex mirriors never quite got ordered and in the end we have fitted a set of mirriors I was intending to fit the the rebel van.

The rebel was then driven the 45 mile trip over to the Isle of Wight. It made it despite an issue developing with the voltage regulator not putting out enough power to charge the battery. Some bump starting later and the rebel made it to the tent in where it will be prepped and painted.

Some time was also spent working out how much money had been spent in total so far… Which even if you discount the spending on race engines still amounts to a substantial amount.

Hopefully I can update soon with some progress on paint and engine building…!  :)

Bodywork Preparation

It would be easy to think that the Rebel Saloon was loosing out with the current efforts being put into the van but we’ve still found time to do some work on it.

These are a few photos last year when we were sanding, filling and faring the bodywork and repairing stress cracks before paint.

More recently we trial fitted the original doors. One had a major chunk removed where the scrapyard had broken into it. The other was cracked around the mounting holes for the hinges and on both the joins between inner and outer moldings was weak. Repairing the original doors was preferable to keeping the regal ones as they have different door card styles and would always have looked a bit wrong, the regal ones were also not that good a fit and required lots of shimming to get them to sit right.

The door frames have also been repaired. Dave spent long hours welding up good ones from sections cut out of several rusty spare sets. The ones that came with the Rebel were very rotten and were preventing free movement of the window glass.

We have removed the opening quaterlight windows, this a compromise as the seals are no longer available and leaving them would have meant that the car would leak ruining the new carpets (still to be fitted.) As its a car that will be used regularly practicality is over-ruling originality here!

Repaired frames

Coparison between old and new style quaterlights:

The new quarter lights will now use larger panes bedded in on silicone, We’ve used this in the past on the Scimitar rear hatch and it works very well.

The frame section at the bottom unbolts to allow the Quaterlight pane to be fitted from below, before the frame is dropped onto the door moulding

Trial fitting:

We are hoping that the top frames should be a decent fit and when painted up should be at least as good as the standard that reliant managed, if not hopefully a bit better.

The plan now is to move the Red Rebel back to the Isle of Wight for painting when the weather has improved…  :|

Fabricating a Fibreglass Rollbar Cover

With the car on the Island we made moulds for the B-Pillar trims,

First attempt at moulding our own trim panels,

We also made moulds for new heater blowers,

Random shot of Dave driving the Rebel,

Trial fitting,

Happy with the side sections we moved on to making the difficult curved piece.

The female mould was made out of Ply and timber.

Imperfections was faired in filler, so that the fibreglass would not stick to the mould special release wax and PVA was used.

Applying Gel Coat,

Finished moulding awaiting trimming,

Trimmed down and trial fitted,

Random cat photo…

Off to The Island

With the Rebel up and running we have been working towards fitting the Interior and getting the outside ready for paint.

Before fitting a new headlining etc, we needed to make a fibreglass moulding to cover the new rollover bar. We decided it would be best to bring it over to the Isle of wight (its future Home,) as the workshop facilities were better than they were in my garage! This meant I had to drive the relatively unproven Rebel from Littlehampton to Portsmouth to catch a ferry!

The journey to Portsmouth went well and I pulled over just off the A27 to check everything was ok, grabbing a few photos at the same time.

The boot was full and back of the car were quite heavily laden down  :?

Waiting for the ferry.


Arrival in Newport IOW.

More on mould making to follow…

It Lives: Moving under its own power


This post documents the work getting the rebel to move under its own power after 30 years off the road….

New exhaust system being fitted:

The old exhaust was mostly swept off the garage floor the a section of pipe just below them manifold has been replaced with flexi pipe bought form a local exhausts place. Its the first time we’d used it and It will be interesting to see how well it lasts.

We picked up an new silencer which is attached to the original tailpipe section.

It would have been nice to have fitted a replacement but the pipe bend over the axle is going to take some fabrication and there is techincally not much wrong with the old pipe!

This photo shows the new seatbelt support straps, now painted and fitted, Astute observers will also notice we now have a handbrake cable fitted.

We have also refitted the windows and 2 regal doors which i picked up for £10 the channel section on the old doors requires extensive repair and will be revisited later. The new doors were spectacularly brown, I ran out of Coarse Da sander pads which accounts for the slightly odd look! Regal doors are essentially the same the main difference is in the internal moulding which is different as the rebel has a nicer door card.

Given the doors are 8 years newer than the car they required quite a bit of shimming to get them to sit right, presumably slight differences in the mouldings at Reliant.

Door closeup, The handle and latches have also been refitted and the door can only be locked on the latch from the inside, oddly the drivers door appears to have always been unable to be locked from inside the car, presumably to stop you locking your keys in!

Drivers side door,

An inside view,

Not really sure why I took this picture tbh,

Before fitting the windows the internal moulding needed bonding back in, A scimitar Rear view mirror has been fitted until we can get a more appropriate one (the old one was in poor condition and did not survive removal.)

This final photo shows damage to the boot where the latch should mount we need to bind in new captive nuts to the holes:

The new bonnet will to be modified as its slightly different to the one that came with the car:

The new bonnet is designed to have external hinges mounted where as ours has internal hinges:

New bonnet:

The shortlist for an Mot is now:

Sort out a cooling System,
Fit the fuel tank,
Fiberglass work to the bonnet and boot to allow them to be fitted,
We need to buy a battery and do some other small finishing off jobs.

Ps For anyone who’s interested there are a couple of videos of the car on youtube showing a pre exhaust car running and moving under its own power.

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