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5th Reliant Gathering

Tamworth Heritage Weekend, Tamworth, Staffs. UK (12th September 2010)

To celebrate Tamworth's history, for the last few years the second weekend in September has been a Heritage Weekend where folks can walk around Tamworth and visit places (ie: Tamworth Castle, the Town Hall and Middleton Hall etc) free of charge. As Reliant were once one of Tamworth’s largest companies and following last years Reliant display, I was asked if I could organise another Reliant display for this year. Having 81 vehicles last year the aim this year was to see if we could gather 100 Reliants. especially with 2010 being the 75th Anniversary of Reliant, the 10th Anniversary of 3-wheelers.com and the 5th Anniversary of the Reliant Gathering itself.  This year in addition to being advertised on the r3w forum the event was also advertised through the Reliant Owners Club and indeed through the local newspaper and a few motor magazines.

Like last year we created a Welcome pack again  that included a welcome a Tamworth Heritage booklet from Tamworth council, a 5th Reliant Gathering brochure, a commemorative rally plaque (this year kindly sponsored again by CHG Performance), a booklet and voucher for the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley along with an information card for the vehicle, voting slip and a black pen.

It always amazes me that no matter how early we get to the Church Square each year there are always a few Reliants eagerly waiting and this year was the same.  Unfortunately this year we unexpectedly lost a lot of space in the Church Square when the shops opened up and placed stands outside.  The plan was therefore to have the display across two areas, St Editha’s Square and nearby Market Street though as more and more Reliants continued to turn up we tried to squeeze them all onto the Church Square.  Thanks to the Event Staff working for Tamworth Council they kept an eye on vehicles and trailers parked around the square and helped us get all these moved to Market Street so that they would be safer and not cause a HSE issue.

Geoff opened up the Reliant Gathering thanking everyone for turning up and then went on to unveil “35”  Last year he brought along 1935 Reliant (dubbed 35) and said that by the Reliant Gathering in 2010 the vehicle would be fully restored.  Sure enough on the day a vehicle emerged draped under a dark canvas cover and everyone was curious as to what lay beneath. From Tamworth’s recent carnival the Prince and Princess of Tamworth were at the Heritage weekend and so we invited them to unveil 35.  As they did so, 35 sat there gleaming having been restored, MOT’d, insured and taxed. Unbeknown to the audience, a few days earlier she did not even have a registration number though the DVLA were superb in that after inspecting the vehicle they issued a registration number and tax disc next day.  The only down side was that on the day the vehicle could not be started as one crucial component required (the points) had not arrived in time.

The day then seemed to be a blur talking to people and chasing around after things and then before I knew it a Reliant Scimitar fired up ready to go home. It was then a mad dash racing for my camera to get a photo and then try and get a photo of every vehicle that had attended in between chatting to people.  It actually took me four attempts and even then I missed three though Caroline thankfully also takes dozens of photos so she had a copy.

Through out the day there was two Reliant Robins (A 1994 Reliant Robin LX and a 1981 Reliant Robin Mk 1) painted to look like Tristar aircraft that were owned by the RAF.  Organised by Senior Aircraftman Daniel Wellstead, six members from the 216 Squadron from RAF Brize Norton planned to travel from Tamworth to RAF Gibraltar to raise money for charity.  Unfortunately the eldest of the Robins had a few issues on the way to Tamworth when the engine mount went and sent the radiator fan through the radiator.  A number of Reliant owners who were camping in Tamworth managed to get the Robin back on the road again but it was prone to over heating.  On the day they were due to start their journey, prior to them setting off Kerry Croxton jumped into his Reliant and drove all the way back from Tamworth to Telford to fetch the guys a new radiator.  Upon Kerry’s return, the radiator was fitted and both vehicles were running again.  A collection was made for the guys that raised 96 and this was handed over to them along with a French translation toy and some cable ties (a must in every spare parts kit) before everyone waved them off on their way*.

On the day we again ran a Car of the Day where by the public could vote for their favourite car and there was also a voting slip in each Welcome Pack.  This year, by an overwhelming amount of votes the prize went to Geoff for his 1935 Reliant 7cwt.  It was at this point I picked up the microphone to announce the winners though not quite as adept to speaking on the mic as Geoff it was a very quick presentation as were the two more additional trophies. This year we decided to have a trophy for the vehicles that have attended all five Reliant gatherings.  This was only two vehicles but we still wanted to show our gratitude for the continued support. The two trophies were therefore presented to Dave Poole for his 1969 Reliant Scimitar GTE SE5 and also to the Black Country Living Museum for lending us the 1949 Reliant 8cwt van every year.  Geoff collected the trophy on their behalf and awarded it to the museum when returning the vehicle

No sooner had the event started it seemed to end and I couldn’t believe how quickly the day passed.  The initial list of Reliants coming along amounted to 76 vehicles though sadly nearer the time a number of people could not make it. That said, we had a fantastic turnout with 95 vehicles; just 5 vehicles short of our target of 100 Reliants. We also managed to once again get a vehicle from every decade of Reliant production from 1935 - 2002. :

As detailed above for the 1930s we had Geoff’s 7 cwt Reliant. For the 1940s the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley were superb again by letting us borrow Old Red again. (a 1949 Reliant 8 cwt van).  We were expected a 1952 Reliant Regent though sadly that broke down on the day with a headgasket failure though the 1950s were covered thanks to James Holland who brought along his 1954 Reliant Regal Mk II that he is currently restoring and also to Chris Warwick who brought along an extremely rare 1958 Reliant Regal Mk IV saloon. (One of only three Mk IVs known to survive and indeed the first one I have seen in real life). 

For the 1960s we had two 3-wheelers this year, my 1961 Reliant Regal Mk VI van and also a 1960 Reliant Regal Mk VI saloon that has recently been restored by Paul Dunn,  The 4-wheelers for the 1960s was a very impressive list indeed that included Tony Heath with his 1961 Reliant Sabra Prototype, John and Richard Vallier with their 1962 ex-works Reliant Sabre in addition to Reliant’s very first Scimitar that was shown at Earls Court, a 1964 Reliant Coupe owned my Matt Greenly.  Also representing the 1960s was a Scimitar GT, GTE and a GTE SE5.  The 1970s was represented with a vast assortment of vehicles which in the 3-wheeled flavour included Reliant Regal Supervans, a Reliant Regal 3/30 saloon, Bond Bugs, Reliant Ant and Reliant Robin Mk 1 (both 750 and 850 versions).  For the 4-wheelers there were the sporting  cars like Scimitar GTEs, Scimitar SE6 and SE6A along with economy 4-wheelers; the Reliant Rebel, Kitten and a Tempest.

Likewise the 1980s were also well covered with the Reliant Robin Mk 1, Reliant Rialto and also the Reliant Robin Mk 2 with 4-wheelers like the Reliant Scimitar GTC, Reliant Scimitar GTE SE6B and the Reliant Scimitar SS1. There was also a Reliant built Ford RS 200 brought along by Brian Betteridge.   Two Jimps and a skulk of Foxes (both pick up and Tandy Camper versions) were also on show.  The 1990s also had there part with both Reliant Robin Mk 2 and the streamlined Reliant Robin Mk 3 on display.  Amongst the 4-wheelers were Reliant Sabres, Middlebridge Scimitars, a Scimitar SST, a Tempest Vantique and a 1990 Reliant Metro Cab that had been driven all the way from Holland by Thomas Touw . Finally there was the 2000s that saw two Reliant Robin Mk 3s, a Reliant powered Liege owned by Paul Wheatley and from the last year of production a 2002 Reliant Robin BN-1 owned by Sue Cropper.

The complete list of vehicles were:

1935 Reliant 7cwt - Geoff Payne

1949 Reliant 8cwt - Geoff Payne

1954 Reliant Regal Mk II - James Holland
1958 Reliant Regal Mk IV - Chris Warwick

1960 Reliant Regal Mk VI - Paul Dunn
1961 Reliant Regal Mk VI van - Elvis Payne
1961 Reliant Sabra Prototype - Tony Heath
1962 Reliant Sabre 4 (ex-works) - John & Richard Vallier
1964 Reliant Coupe - Matt Greenly
1965 Reliant Scimitar GT - Geoff Cooper
1968 Reliant Scimitar GTE - Dave Childs
1969 Reliant Scimitar GTE SE5 - Dave Poole

1970 Reliant Regal Supervan III 21E - Pete Gnosill
1970 Reliant Scimitar GTE - Bob Coles
1970 Bond Bug 700ES - Ron Biggin
1970 Reliant Regal Supervan - S. Denton
1970 Bond Bug 700ES - Derek Wood
1971 Reliant Regal Supervan III - James Holland
1971 Reliant Rebel - Chris Crawley
1972 Reliant Scimitar GTE - D. Woolley
1972 Bond Bug 1000ES - Rob Hibbert
1972 Reliant Rebel van - Kerry Croxton
1973 Bond Bug 850ES - Mark Harper
1972 Reliant Scimitar SE5 - David Tillotson
1973 Bond Bug - Rory Lynas
1973 Reliant Regal 3/30 saloon - Mel Turpin
1973 Reliant Rebel Estate - Oliver Smith
1974 Reliant Robin 750 - Andy Hart
1974 Reliant Robin Super 750 - Kerry Croxton
1975 Reliant Kitten Deluxe - Kevin Hallett
1975 Reliant Ant - R. Simpkins
1976 Reliant Scimitar GTE - Martin North
1976 Reliant Kitten DL - John Pearce
1976 Reliant Scimitar - Micheal Rowley
1976 Reliant Scimitar SE6 - M. Head
1977 Reliant Scimitar - Bob Sanders
1977 Reliant Scimitar GTE - John Abdellah
1978 Reliant Scimitar SE6A - Richard Allen
1978 Reliant Kitten Estate - Simon Hodges
1978 Reliant Scimitar SE6 - David Bowlas
1978 Tempest - Dot & Eric Cox
1979 Reliant Robin 850 - Trish & Dave Wharmby

1980 Reliant Scimitar GTC - N. Fallows
1980 Reliant Robin - Terry Waghorn
1980 Reliant Robin - Graham Unwin
1980 Reliant Kitten - Micheal Rowley
1980 Reliant Scimitar GTC - Keith Walters
1980 Reliant Robin - RAF
1981 Reliant Scimitar GTC - S. Skinner
1981 Reliant Scimitar - Paul Devey
1981 Reliant Scimitar 6B - John Feay
1982 Reliant Rialto - Dee Gnosill
1982 Reliant Scimitar GTE SE6B - John & Jill Unwin
1982 Reliant Scimitar GTC - G & J Downs
1983 Jimp - S. Clough
1983 Jimp - G. Timbey
1984 Reliant Fox - Malcolm Dodd
1984 Reliant Rialto 2 GLS - Steve White
1984 Reliant Rialto Estate - B. Howard
1984 Reliant Scimitar SE6B - Paul Hill
1984 Reliant Scimitar S1 - John Morris
1984 Reliant Scimitar SS1 - J. Gregg
1984 Reliant Fox - Keith Gittus
1985 Reliant Rialto 2 GLS - Kevin Thompson
1985 Reliant Fox Tandy Camper - Duncan Bradford
1985 Reliant Fox Tandy Camper - G. Barllsevicos
1986 Reliant Scimitar SS1 1600 - Kevin Powtney
1986 Reliant Rialto 2 - Adrian Guite
1987 Reliant Scimitar SS1 - Mark Cropper
1987 Reliant Rialto GLS - Nathan Colley
1988 Reliant Rialto SE - Garry Gregory
1988 Ford RS 200 - Brian Betteridge
1988 Reliant Rialto SE - Aaron Hemsley
1988 Reliant Robin - Philip Laskey
1989 Reliant Rialto 2 - Ben Coleman

1990 Reliant Robin LX - Pete Huggins
1990 Middlebridge Scimitar - J. Nutting
1990 Reliant Metro Cab - Thomas Touw
1990 Reliant Robin LX - Geoff Payne
1991 Middlebridge Scimitar - G. Littr
1992 Reliant Robin LX - Dan Rodd
1992 Tempest Vantique - Mark Taylor
1992 Reliant Robin - John White
1993 Reliant Sabre 1800Ti Mk 1 - Doug & Di Black
1993 Reliant Scimitar Sabre - D. Jayne
1993 Reliant Scimitar SST - Steve Feay
1993 Reliant Robin LX - Simon Drake
1994 Reliant Robin - RAF
1998 Reliant Robin Royale - Tony Snow
1999 Reliant Robin LX - A. Batty
1999 Reliant Robin LX - Jimmy Lardner

2000 Reliant Robin - Terry O'Keeffe
2000 Reliant Robin - Kevin Bradley
2002 Liege - Paul Wheatley
2002 Reliant Robin BN1 - Sue Cropper

More and More Reliants each year!

2006 - 05 Reliants

2007 - 25 Reliants

2008 - 54 Reliants

2009 - 81 Reliants

2010 - 95 Reliants

Click on a title to see that group of pictures

Set 1 : 1 - 12

Set 2 : 13 - 24

Set 3 : 25 - 36

Set 4 : 37 - 48

Set 5 : 49 - 60

Set 6 : 61- 72

Set 7 : 73 - 84

Set 8 : 85 - 96

Set 9 : 97 - 104

See article in newspaper.

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 2011. Next year is the 6th Reliant Gathering and again so we plan to break the 100 vehicles target.  We have now outgrown St Editha’s square and so to accommodate the extra vehicles in 2011 we will be moving to the main car park in the castle grounds.

Thanks also go to:

Geoff: My brother who not only has been frantically working to restore 35 but also tirelessly help to organise this event leaving no stone unturned.

Pete & Dee Gnosill: For all their work on the day being tied to the booking in desk as well as helping Geoff with the signs and the logistics of trying to get various vehicles to the show.

Caroline Stokes: My girlfriend who raced around fetching things, helped create all the Welcome packs, and then manned the desk to ensure everyone got one on the day.

Kirsty Gee: For helping to paint the main signs and create voting slips and information cards for the Welcome Packs.

James Holland and his Dad (CHG Performance) for again sponsoring the rally plaques.

Big Daddy & Micromma (Steve & Janet): For once more organising camping for all those who came over on Friday and Saturday, taking folks on road run on Saturday and leading them to the gathering on Sunday.

Dave Poole: For being in charge of Reliant Scimitars and parking then all up as they arrived.

Kerry Croxton: Who without any question, drove all the way back to Telford to fetch the RAF chaps a new radiator for their vehicle so that they could continue their journey to Gibraltar.

Doc (aka Graham Penlington) for letting us advertise the gathering via the R3W forum and reaching as many Reliant owners as possible.

Black Country Living Museum in Dudley for again lending us the 1949 Reliant 8 cwt van for the day.

Tamworth Borough Council and the Tamworth Information Centre for giving us the opportunity to put on this display.

My apologies if I have forgotten anyone.

Elvis Payne. September 2010

* Once leaving Tamworth, it took the RAF folks three days to reach Gibraltar with the eldest Reliant breaking down a few times on the way. The 1994 Reliant had no problems. The team made it back home again on September 19th.


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