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Lucie: The vehicle

The History of PSL 879 and the Regal Mk VI

The history of YAM 952 / PSL 879

For some reason the vehicle was not registered until 9th September 1980.  At the time the declared date of manufacture was 1961 and the DVLA created a date of manufacture as being 31st Dec 1961.  However, comparing the original engine number and chassis number with other surviving Mk VI’s suggest the vehicle was manufactured around 5th April 1961. Another uncertainty in Lucie’s history is that the chassis number is actually one that would have been given to a saloon model as a van chassis (even though it was the same) had a different sequence of numbers.  That said, all owners I have managed to trace state that the vehicle has always been a van so either Reliant used a saloon chassis when they built her or she had a body swap in the 1960s / 1970s sometime.  The history that has been traced so far follows:

  • In 1961 she was built in Tamworth.  She then went to to the Wiltshire area.
  • She was registered as YAM 952 on approximately 5th April 1961.
  • In 1973 she must have been off the road for some reason as the DVLA was established and started to keep computerised records in one central location. Lucie isn’t on any of their records and as a result she was classed as being unregistered.
  • In September 1980 Lucie appeared in Chard (Somerset) and had to be registered as a new vehicle with a manufactured date of 1961. At the time the original engine (No: 28465) was removed and replaced. (No: 34950 - a 1962 engine) At the time she was a blue van.
  • In 1983 she moved house but stayed with the owner in Chard.
  • In 1998 she was sold and moved to Exeter. She was still registered as YAM 952. In the same year the government announced that all cars older than 25 years would be classed as “Historic Vehicles” and could therefore claim free road tax.
  • In 1999 the owner applied for her to be a historic vehicle. (This suggest Lucie was on the road at this point?)
  • In 2000 she was classed as a historic vehicle and thus entitled to free road tax.
  • In 2002, the registration YAM 952 was sold off and on vehicle was reregistered as PSL 879   (The “AM” in YAM 952 signifies she was originally registered in the Wiltshire area whereas the “SL” in PSL 879 would have been a Dundee plate.)
  • In 2002 she was sold and moved to Yeovil
  • In 2002 the owner started to overhaul her with new window seals, starter motor, dynamo, spark plugs, water hoses, number plates and the radiator was recored.
  • In 2004 she was sold and moved to Taunton.  She was spotted at a Classic Car Show in Shepton Mallet (Cornwall) where Peter Vowles spotted her.  In the windscreen, partly as a joke, was a sign saying “Anyone prepared to take on this fine example of British Engineering”.  The car came was in bad condition but came with numerous spare parts and so  Mr. Vowles decided to purchase it as some of the parts would be useful for his 1947 Reliant.  It was touch and go for Lucie for a while though the decision was taken to restore Lucie and get her back on the road.  At the time though she was called “Jitterbug” and the plan was to restore her and paint her bright pink.  The restoration took some doing due to the amount of missing parts and a lot of parts have been made up from other vehicles like the steering rod made up from Triumph Herald track rods.  One of the biggest jobs was pulling the half shafts in the rear axle as there were broken studs each side.  Pretty much everything, including the engine, was stripped and rebuilt.  The car presented a few running problems, the biggest one being the coil as it would overheat.  As it was situated next to the manifold, it was moved to the other side of the engine bay and the problem was cured.
  • In July 2008 she was sold and moved to Devon where she was then put straight on e-bay.
  • In August 2008 I purchased her and she came back to Tamworth.

Partial History of the Regal Mk-VI van

Only 3,052 Regal Mk VI (5 cwt) vans were produced between November 1961 and October 1962. (The van continued to be made from October 1962 - May 1963 with the new 600cc OHV engine and became the Mk VI-A, 500 of these were built).

It is claimed that the Regal Mk VI is possibly the last “new” car that could be purchased with a side-valve engine.  It was also the last Reliant to feature a wooden floor and a wooden frame inside the vehicle with the body attached to it and also the last Reliant to have a mascot attached to the top of the bonnet.

If you own a Mk VI van or know of one (dead or alive) that still exist, please let me know so that I can see how many of them are actually left.

This could be Lucie on being made in 1961.

How Lucie may have looked in a past life.

Mr. Vowles and PSL 879 and the day he purchased her. (2004)

Lucie’s sellers deliver her in August 2008.


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