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3-Wheeler Books

The Reliant Three-Wheeler 1935-1973

By Stuart Cyphus & Elvis Payne

Published by Crecy Publishing.    ISBN: 9 781908 347022

At a glance


Founded in 1935 by T.L. Williams in Tamworth, the Reliant Motor Company produced three-wheeler vehicles that met the need for an economical form of motoring.

During the company’s heyday, it provided the motorcyclist with a whole new means of transporting the family in comfort whilst its commercial range of vehicles served everyone from the local butcher to the largest of organisations.

Reliant began producing the humble three-wheeler van powered by JAP and Austin 7 engines in the 1930s followed by girder fork vans using its own side-valve engine in the 1940s and 1950s.

The Regal range introduced not only a new 5cwt version of the van but also Reliant’s first passenger car that seated 4 adults. The 1950s saw the development of the side-valve range to be followed by overhead-valve variants powered by Reliant’s aluminium engine in the 1960s and 1970s.  The Regal 10cwt pickup and the TW9 three-wheelers were made both for the export and later the domestic market.  The company was also responsible for the iconic wedge-shaped Bond Bug, manufactured by Reliant but bearing the Bond name.

Special versions of the Regal, the TS Safari and the TS GT produced by Two Strokes Ltd complete the history of the first 40 years of this iconic British motor manufacturer*.

In full colour with 91 photographs.

Softback 14.7cm x 21cm. 64 pages. 91 colour / mono photos. Paperback

ISBN: 9 781908 347022

Price:  7.95

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Independent Reviews:

Best of British magazine. (October 2011)

Volume 2 covering 1973 - 2002 also available

There was a time when to admit to owning or liking a three-wheeler Reliant would cause laughter and ribbing.  But with the passing of the years, dislike has turned into admiration as the Reliant is remembered as a vehicle which met the need for an economical form of motoring.  In its heyday it provided the motorcyclist with a new means of transporting the family in comfort.

This book charts Reliant’s history from its founding in 1935 to the heydays of the 1970s, with turnover averaging more than 20,000.000.

Rumcar News 110. (October 2011)

A Nostalgia Road Publication by Crecy Publishing., sets out to record the history of some of our Classic Marques in the history of motoring.  Already in the series are UK built Citroen cars, and the Hillman car company, and with the help of Stuart Cyphus and Elvis Payne there is now the history of the Reliant three-wheelers.  This A5 size softback book, with 64 pages and 88 photos is a joy to read.

The book started out as a complete history of the Reliant company and became so big that it was decided to split it into several sections, the first of which relates to to the early three-wheelers, which is of greater interest to all microcar enthusiast that the later history.

As you would expect from two enthusiast of the Reliant three-wheeler, it is full of historical information backed up with plenty of relevant photographs of the vehicles as they developed from the Raleigh LDV to the Bond Bug.  There is just enough technical information to ensure accuracy, but not too much to prevent it being a very readable history.   Many of the photographs have not been published before and this makes it a must for all Reliant owners.

Having read this tome it does pose the question “will this also be the beginning of a history of other Microcar manufacturers such as Elva /Trojan, Meadows / Frisky, Peel, Nobel, Scootacar, and Opperman?”, I hope so.  But first we must wait for the rest of the Reliant history in part 2.

The Bug Club magazine. (December 2011)

This small volume, written by two Reliant enthusiasts, gives a good insight into the earlier years of our favourite car maker, from humble beginnings in Tom Williams' garden wor1_shop in 1935 up to 1973 when Reliant were, arguably, enjoying their most successful period. It's profusely illustrated with mainly b&w period photos, together with colour ones of restored vehicles. Some of the photos have appeared in other Reliant histories but quite a few are new to me.

The Bug enjoys some five pages of the book with photos including the prototype Bug, double Bug, a modern Lime Green repaint and, I'm guessing here, the Bug of Vic Hyde-White, a musician who toured the USA in one! I'm not sure that the authors' statement that all Bug final assembly took place at Tamworth is 100% correct; speaking to the late Alan Pounder (Bond's Chief Engineer) some years ago I recall him saying that the pre-launch Bugs were all built at Preston.... Possible minor inaccuracies aside, and to be fair I'm sure most historical works contain a few of these, it's still an enjoyable read and a worthy addition to any Reliant/Bug enthusiasts' bookshelf. It would make an ideal stocking filler for Christmas, so get dropping some hints! I look forward to reading volume 2, Reliant 1973 onwards, when it appears.

The book cover price is 7.95 and it's available direct from the publishers, good bookshops and the usual online outlets.

Peter Edgley


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