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Interior Fitting & Bumpers, Badges and Glass

I’ve recently got back form the Isle of wight where I’ve been assisting Dave fitting out the Rebels interior… I thought this was going to be a fairly nice job but the dire weather left the tent where we were working half full water. It made it interesting trying to keep things clean and dry!

Outside the bumpers and badges have been fitted and the boot trial fitted (still needs work on the hinges to get it quite right and the rubber gaskets need trimming to get a better fit. The windows have also gone back and are now just waiting for some new chrome infill to finish them off.

Inside the Insulation, carpet and vynide have been fitted as has the vinyl covering for the roll bar and a new headlining has been made.


Some better post spray job photos now with bumpers and badges on:

The boot, The seal will need changing for a different type as this one is a bad fit when its closed

The locking filler neck, still needs a pipe sorting to connect it to the tank though!

New British made Chrome hinges and New old stock badge. The taillights desperately need replacing the chrome is poor and a couple of the lenses have small cracks. Ideally we are looking for some that are new old stock or very good used.

The following pictures show the Jute underlay being cut and fitted, we’ve used more of this than Reliant did so hope for a reduction in road and engine noise. The underlay was fixed into place with High temperature contact adhesive

Rear seat armrests were sanded town to give a surface as smooth as possible to fit the vynide to, its very thin so imperfections show up really easily.

Footwell carpets in, gearbox tunnel carpet being trial fitted,

First vynide bits in.

Gearbox tunnel carpet fitted,

The headlining and rollbar cover, This is our first attempt at making a headlining from scratch its not bad but has some small rucks at the ends which could be improved on in future. The general affect with the rollbar seems so work it ties in well enough to look like its standard fit.

B Pillar vynide / vinyll join

For the c-pillar and a-pillar trims we recovered the original aluminium

The Rebel shortly before leaving to catch a 2:30 am ferry…

The next stage will be another hit to get the doors built up and fitted ( they are currently waiting for the hinges and frames to be grit blasted and then sprayed.) Then the over carpets need edging and the seats need new covers made. There are lots of other odd jobs to tackle like the dashboard, door cards, etc

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: :

Stripping Down


We got straight to work stripping the rebel down to the chassis, for evaluation and to work out what we’d let ourselves in for.

There were a few holes in the chassis where the battery has leaked and dissolved the underseal and corroded the steel. Its generally in good condition and was actually a bit better than we hoped.

The fiberglass also needs attention in places with work needed to replace seat supports, cracks around mounting holes, and some areas around the door catches.


When the head was stripped off the engine it was found that the headgasket has corroded and let water into number two cylinder seizing the piston. Even  without removing the piston it was clear the bore was badly pitted.

The initial plan was to just changing the Liner and Piston but we couldnt rule out needing an engine swap if parts prove too hard to find.

Photo of chassis cleanup to follow.

The Red Rebel


I was looking through Ebay and came across a listing a fantastically inaccurate and misspelled listing for a Reliant Rebel Saloon ( ). I mentioned it to Dave who fancied having it as a first car, so a plan was hatched to buy it and put it back on the road on a shoe string budget…

We went and had a look and decided that it was fairly complete the only bits missing were the rear bench seat, drivers door card and front bumper. Its had 2 owners and and its even still got the factory fitted dunlop tyres!

As a 1966 car its one of the earliest rebels to have survived and came fitted with a 600cc engine from factory.

The Car:

The following morning I won the auction but paid £100 more than I wanted to. We needed a quick pickup to tie in with other time commitments so decided to pick the car up that afternoon.

But first the Scimitar needed a towbar making up and fitting:

We didn’t have any way to check the the wiring so chanced that it would be ok when we got to the hire place. Fortunately it all worked ok.

At this point I should probably mention I’d never towed any kind of trailer before so the 270 mile round trip with was starting to look like a bit of a challenge. As it turned out it was fairly stressless though if doing it again I’d definitely fit a passenger side door mirror to improve visibility on the motorway.


Getting fuel:


An initial look at the  suggested it might go again, its full of reasonable looking oil as is the gearbox. plugs are tight but do move the valves are all free. Hopefully with the starter off it should free up.

Not sure about an engine change yet given the chance it may be interesting to get an mot with the current engine just to experience the full misery of 28 bhp.