To celebrate Tamworth's past, the second weekend in September is a Heritage Weekend where folks can walk around Tamworth and visit places (ie: Tamworth Castle and Middleton Hall etc) for free. As Reliant were once one of Tamworth’s largest companies, following the outstanding success of last year’s Reliant display, I was asked if I could get a group of vehicles to appear this year as well to mark Tamworth's / Reliant’s rich automotive history.
As in 2007, the event as advertised on the r3w forum and nearer the event we compiled a list of cars that were coming in a bid to not only beat the amount of cars we had last year but to also try and get one of every type of Reliant. With 54 cars arriving this year, we were not that far off either, we had vehicles from every era except the 1930s and the 1950s. Reliant vehicles from the 1930s (1935 - 1939) are extremely rare though we were expecting a 1952 Reliant Regent though sadly one did not arrive.
This year a number of folks asked about camping and the folks at the Dosthill Boys Club in Tamworth came up trumps when they said that folks could camp there free of charge. This was a fantastic offer and was soon taken up. Better still on Saturday 13th, they had a Beer and Skittles night that we attended and my beginners luck at Skittles seemed to astound everyone when I knocked down 10 skittles, scoring a strike, then knocked down another 10 and then knocked down 8. People thought I was some sort of Skittle Shark though they soon realised I wasn’t when on my next go I scored a rather miserable 3 with the first ball actually going through the center of the skittles and missing them all
My plan this year was to take all three of my Reliants, my 1961 Reliant Regal Mk VI van (Lucie), 1970 Reliant Regal Supervan III 21E (Snoopy)and 1974 Reliant Robin (Gwenn). Geoff (my brother) and Pete Gnosill had gone to the Black Country Living Museum to pick up the 1949 Reliant 8cwt van (Old Red) and also fetch Geoff’s 1990 Reliant Robin (New Blue) and Pete’s Reliant Rialto (Bwdy). As the museum gates didn’t open until 8:30am however they got to Tamworth later and so after picking up Gwenn, Caroline and I jumped into Lucie and drove over to the Dosthill Boys Club. Our plan was to meet everyone here and then drive in a convoy into the town center where the display was, and what a convoy it was. At one point a blue Reliant Robin passed us driving the other way, what they must have thought to dozens of Reliants driving the other way I don’t know.
As so many cars were coming this year we were given the Church Square outside St Editha’s church to display our Reliants in and as we arrived in a convoy Geoff was working frantically parking people up into neat rows. It seemed for a short while that Reliants just kept coming and coming, when we reached 40 Reliants I was really pleased though when we passed 50 Reliants, I was just overwhelmed as this made it one of the biggest and most varied Reliant displays that has been seen for a long time.
With cars settling into place, Pete and I went and fetched Snoopy. Our plan was also to try and start her up and after Pete reattached the dynamo and Geoff tinkered with the electrics it wasn’t to be. Snoopy popped a few times, chucked out lots of debris from the exhaust and even had a mini fire in the carb though she just would not start. We think that the carburettor may have a few issues, something Terry (the previous owner) confirms from when he parked her up and so the plan now is to replace it. Trying to start her up though seemed to make interesting viewing for a small crowd of people that gathered around it.
At the start of the afternoon Geoff and I jumped on a bench to address everyone and Geoff (he’s louder than me) thanked everyone for coming. Then Kevin Thompson got up and presented me with a little “Ole Blue Memorial Trophy”. A model of Ole Blue attached to a chunk of marble with an engraved plaque reading “Ole Blue RIP 1973 - 2008”. Thanks Kevin, that is now on my model shelf.
Last year we had two prototypes and we had one this year as well in the guise of a 1966 Reliant Scimitar SE4 prototype owned by Mr. and Mrs. Pearson. In addition Kerry Croxton also displayed two prototype models on his Reliant Robin Giant LX Pickup, one of a Reliant / Ogle Scimitar and the other one unknown. In the back of the pickup he had a very rare curio; a front section of a Reliant Regal Mk I wrapped in a wooden frame and still adorned with the label from Reliant. Apparently this was found in someone’s loft. In essence therefore we at least had a small part of a 1953 Reliant Regal Mk I.
With so many vehicles about and being so busy it was a tough task to have a good luck at them all and I had intended to have a better look at Rob Hibbort’s Bond Bug powered by a 1,000cc motorcycle engine though didn’t get the chance..
One thing that did make me smile was whilst Geoff and Pete were trying to get Snoopy started, a couple walked passed Lucie and Old Red, the two oldest Reliants there, and said, “It’s lovely when they get the really old ones out isn’t it.” They made it sound like we were taking our grand parents out for the day and they were both sitting there on a park bench watching the world fly by.
This year we have also had some rally type plaques made up from DragonFly Rally Plaques in brushed aluminium and so everyone who brought a Reliant along got a vehicle plaque.
The only snag with taking more than one car is the logistics of getting them there and back home again. Geoff and I took five vehicles between us though without the tireless help of Pete and Dee Gnosill and Mark Barker the task would have been a lot more difficult. Thanks Pete, Dee and Mark for helping us.
The 54 Reliants that took part in the display were:
1949 Reliant 8cwt van - Driven by Geoff Payne
1961 Reliant Regal Mk VI 5cwt van - Driven by Elvis Payne
1965 Reliant Scimitar GT - Driven by Martin North
1966 Reliant Scimitar SE4 Prototype - Driven by Mr & Mrs Pearson,
1967 Reliant Rebel - Driven by Lizzie Willsher.
1968 Reliant Scimitar SE4 Coupe - Driven by Kerry Boylan.
1969 Reliant Scimitar GTE SE5 - Driven by Dave Poole.
1970 Reliant Regal Supervan III 21E - Owned by Elvis Payne
1970 Reliant Regal Supervan III - Driven by Steve Denton.
1970 Reliant Scimitar SE5 GTE - Driven by Bob Coles.
1972 Reliant Regal 3/30 Saloon - Driven by Tim Machin
1972 Reliant Scimitar SE5 - Driven by Dave Tillotson.
1972 Bond Bug 1000ES - Driven by Rob Hibbort.
1973 Bond Bug 850ES- Driven by Don Woodman
1973 Bond Bug 750ES - Driven by Rory Lynas
1973 Reliant Regal 3/30 Saloon - Driven by Melvin Turpin.
1974 Reliant Robin 750 (Mk I) - Owned by Elvis Payne
1976 Reliant Kitten - Driven by John Pearce.
1976 Reliant Kitten DL - Driven by John White.
1977 Reliant Scimitar - Driven by Andy Faulkner.
1977 Reliant Scimitar - Driven by John Abdellah.
1977 Reliant Robin 850 (Mk I) - Driven by Darren Butler.
1978 Reliant Scimitar SE6 - Driven by Dave Bowlas.
1979 Reliant Robin Pickup - Driven by Anne Nash.
1981 Reliant Scimitar 6B - Driven by John Fcai.
1982 Reliant TW9 (Ant) - Driven by George Osbourne
1982 Reliant Scimitar SE6B - Driven by John Unwin.
1983 Reliant Fox - Driven by Mick Greasley.
1983 PK Jimp - Driven by Stephen Clough.
1983 Reliant Rialto - Driven by Pete Gnosill.
1984 Reliant Scimitar SS1 - Driven by Phil Howard.
1984 Reliant Rialto - Driven by Bob Simpkins.
1984 Reliant Rialto - Driven by Simon Hodges.
1984 Reliant Fox - Driven by Keith Gitths,
1985 Reliant Scimitar SS1 - Driven by Daniel Faulkner.
1985 Tandy Fox Camper - Driven by Duncan Bradford,
1985 Reliant Fox - Driven by Daniel Rodd.
1987 Reliant Scimitar SS1 - Driven by Yvonne Unwin.
1987 Reliant Scimitar SS1 - Driven by Sue Cropper.
1988 Reliant Rialto - Driven by John Copestake.
1989 Reliant Rialto - Driven by John Jackson.
1989 Middlebridge Scimitar - Driven by George Sampford.
1989 Middlebridge Scimitar GTE - Driven by Mick Gauthran.
1989 Reliant Simitar SS1 - Driven by John Heath.
1990 Reliant Robin (Mk II) - Driven by Mark Barker for Geoff Payne
1990 Reliant Robin (Mk II) - Driven by Steve White.
1990 Reliant Robin (Mk II) - Unknown.
1993 Reliant Robin (Mk II) - Driven by Kevin Thompson
1993 Reliant Sabre - Driven by Doug Black.
1999 Reliant Robin Giant LX Pickup - Driven by Kerry Croxton.
2000 Reliant Robin (Mk III) - Driven by Mark Taylor.
2000 Reliant Robin (Mk III) - Driven by Terry O’Keeffe.
2002 B&N Robin BN1 - Driven by Mark Cropper.
My sincere thanks goes to everyone for coming along and making this such an amazing turnout. Thank you. We hope to see you again in 2009. I’m not quite sure how we can beat this years display though we can but try. :o) Also thanks to Tamworth Borough Council and the Tamworth Information Centre for letting us show our Reliants each year and to the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley for lending us the 1949 Reliant 8 cwt van for the day.