One moment I was sitting there in front of my computer, a mug of tea in one hand and a mouse in the other flicking through photos of Ole Blue when I then went on to the R3W Reliant forum. I had posted a note about Ole Blue being destroyed along with a few graphic photos of the flames devouring her. R3W members in their dozens were leaving messages when I then noticed one from Terry O’Keeffe that said:
Hi Elvis and everyone,
I was shocked to find this thread as I was catching up with the forum and really feel for Elvis, Caroline and Geoff, as so many have said.
There is a Regal Supervan III in metallic blue in my garage here in Solihull.
I'm getting too old to believe that I might get "Snoopy" through the MOT some day and have had it in mind to let the van go to an enthusiast who could cope with the work involved. The van failed its MOT just before my Dad died and, when I got back from Sussex after the funeral and staying over with Mum, I couldn't face working on it.
The engine was run up regularly until the battery died when I took it out for a charge. The chassis had been coated and was in good condition. The fuel line had been modified with a metal feed over the engine.
I would be happy to donate "Snoopy" to Elvis, so why not come over some time and have a look? Don't make a final decision on your next project until you have had a look at it. I know nothing could replace Ole Blue but "Snoopy" has a character of its own and was my faithful transport for some years.
This seemed amazing, I contacted Terry and he was quite genuine and so Caroline and I went down to visit him. Terry explained that he purchased Snoopy in 1973 when she was just 3 years old and used the car regularly until 1988 when it was then parked in his garage and has been there ever since. (In case you are wondering Snoopy is a she).
Terry took us to the garage and opened up and there was Snoopy, a 1970 Reliant Regal Supervan III 21E (The 21E denoting a “luxury” model with an additional “21 Extras” fitted as standard. I looked under the car and straight away the petrol tank scared me a little. Unfortunately the garage leaked at the front and so got very damp where the petrol tank was. I know from Ole Blue that Supervan tanks are as rare as hen’s teeth and so if this one needs replacing, that could be a task and a half to find another.
The chassis had rust on it but was only superficial and the chassis seemed very solid. Snoopy was jacked up at the front so could not be rolled out of the garage but a quick wiggle of the front wheel showed that was free.
The body on Snoopy looked superb, with no damage anywhere that I could see with the exception of a scratch on the driver’s wing. The door frames are in superb condition and the quarter light windows are still intact and fully functional. That itself is pretty rare in a Reliant. The interior is also very tidy. I almost felt that a quick wash and dusting and I could drive the car home. The speedo shows 54,713 miles.
Things in the engine bay looked a little dark and the engine hasn’t been turned over for a few years. I turned the fan blade at the front of the engine and it spun with ease. “Wow, that is as free as a bird” I thought then realising that the actual fan belt had come off so all I was doing was turning the water pump over. “D’oh”. Oh well, if I don’t tell anyone, then no one will know what I did.
At the back of the car twin fog lamps and reversing lights have been fitted. The reversing lights I love as they really look in character and as though they should be part of the car.