View Full Version : Oddball British cars

02-27-2004, 08:54 PM
Went over to a friend's car storage yard today to see his latest acquisitions... a 1969 Reliant Scimitar GTE wagon (in orange images/icons/rolleyes.gif ) and a 1972 Vauxhall Firenza [Viva HC 4-door]. Both rescued from a local scrapyard recently, so you can guess what kind of shape they're in. I've asked this before... anyone know what windshield - readily available in North America - would fit oin a Reliant Scimitar first series car?

And for those who like oddball old British cars, the Reliant (British RHD) could definitely be available for sale, along with his 1961 Standard Vanguard station wagon project car (Canadian-spec LHD), and maybe even his Renault R4, and... [20 other old British sedans that may be available for sale... except for their Vauxhalls!]

[ 02-27-2004: Message edited by: Sherlock ]</p>

02-27-2004, 09:37 PM
Don't know anything about the Reliant but the Firenza shares brakes, suspension and axles with Jensen Healeys.


02-27-2004, 10:24 PM
For those wondering what it is... Found this nifty picture of a Reliant Scimitar race car (not your typical race car)...


02-28-2004, 11:27 PM
Windshield looks very much MkII Cortina from that pic!

02-29-2004, 12:05 AM
I believe that it is a Ford windscreen, though not sure which one......most oily bits are Ford, so it would be a logical assumption. Nice car, the Scimitar GTE.

[ 02-28-2004: Message edited by: Steve ]</p>

Jim Weatherford
02-29-2004, 02:49 AM

"Oddball British Cars", it's a redundant statement.

With that said, you just have to love them. I've been fortunate to have owned and driven a 1963 Cobra 260 "Slabside", a '64 Sprite (H Production race car), a '65 MiniCooper "S", a '56 Bentley S1 and now (currently) a '73 Jensen Healey. I just can't get away from the fact that I do love the kinky little British sportscars.

They are fun cars, great people involved in them and frankly more fun being around them that I've had in my clothes in a very long time. LOL.

[ 02-28-2004: Message edited by: Jim Weatherford ]</p>

02-29-2004, 07:47 AM
Hello all,
trivia:- the Scimitar GTE often AKA "Grand Tamworth Express" Tamworth being where the cars were made.
Princess Anne used to own one and made the newspapers of the day by being booked for speeding in it.

Alec graemlins/thirsty.gif

02-29-2004, 01:18 PM
Neat little car. Also wouldn't oddball and British cancel each other out, leaving only a normal car?

Cheers, graemlins/thirsty.gif graemlins/driving.gif

02-29-2004, 01:47 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr> Waltesfalcon said: Neat little car. Also wouldn't oddball and British cancel each other out, leaving only a normal car?

You see, truly dedicated oddball is when... there are 100 cars at the British car show - there are 30 MGB's, 20 Triumph Spitfire's, 15 Spridget's, 10 Triumph TR6's, 10 Austin-Healey's, 5 Jaguar's (various types), 3 Sunbeam Alpine's, 6 British roadsters (various makes), and to round it off nicely... one lonely, solitary, bright orange 1969 Reliant Scimitar GTE wagon graemlins/thumbsup.gif

02-29-2004, 05:23 PM
picked up an operators manual for a BLMC 1800 the other day. covers woolsey & austin. travers mounted engine/tranny. never seen one in action.

02-29-2004, 05:25 PM

Thanks for clearing that up for me. So essentially it is an oddball among oddballs.

Cheers, graemlins/thirsty.gif graemlins/driving.gif

02-29-2004, 07:24 PM
... And to possibly trump (or at least equal) my earlier finds, I just came back from seeing a 1950/52 Standard Vanguard Phase 1, one of our Canadian-spec LHD versions and a very nice example, current licence plates, well worn in nice shape but with some patina. A friend told me about it on the phone last night and I managed to track it down, parked in front of a local British repair garage.

This is what it looks like (image grabbed off the web)

[ 03-01-2004: Message edited by: Sherlock ]</p>

03-01-2004, 02:41 AM
I came across a Ford Zepher images/icons/smile.gif


03-01-2004, 10:54 AM
You mean Lincoln Zepher?

Cheers, graemlins/thirsty.gif graemlins/driving.gif

03-01-2004, 01:28 PM
Now I'm as sad a case of Brit car nut as anyone, but why would someone rescue a Firenza? My wife owned one back in the 70's (cheap wheels), and I got to know its inner workings very well, from extensive repair work. It was very poorly screwed together (and I've owned 70's Jags and a TR8).

The worst bit was the clutch. It was cable operated, which was fine for RHD cars operating the clutch lever on the right side of the transmission. On LHD cars, the cable would have had to make a very sharp turn to go from the pedal to the RH side of the trans. So, rather than re-engineer an effective solution, they bodged it. The cable ran from the pedal, all the way to the front of the car, round the rad and back to the trans. That way, the arc was gentle enough for the cable to work.

Trouble is that cables stretch. On a 1 ft long cable, this isn't a big deal. On an 8 ft long cable, it is a huge deal. The cable would need to be tightened about 6 times a year to keep the clutch operating. If it was slack, the clutch wouldn't disengage and you had no gears, as the synchros would lock you out. I once rescued a woman who thought her trans was broken in her Firenza. I reached under the car, tightened up the cable adjuster and voila!

This doesn't begin to compensate for the T-shirt material they used for upholstery (2 year life expectency), the incredibly fragile printed circuit board for the instruments or the astonishing rust. It developed a cracked block (no overheating, meticulous maintenance) at 70,000 miles and we walked away in relief. I still shudder when I think of that car!

03-01-2004, 10:50 PM
78Z, Is that a 6 cylinder Zephyr? It looks pretty solid. I would love to have one of those. My dad had one back in the day, and it was quite the car at the time.

03-02-2004, 12:27 AM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by waltesefalcon:
You mean Lincoln Zepher?


No, Ford Zephyr and Lincoln Zephyr are different.

03-02-2004, 01:01 AM
Yep......No Lincolns in the UK.

The Zephyr wasn't a bad car, and this one looks saveable. Hope somebody claims it and gives it a good home.

03-02-2004, 12:20 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Inshan:
78Z, Is that a 6 cylinder Zephyr? It looks pretty solid. I would love to have one of those. My dad had one back in the day, and it was quite the car at the time.<hr></blockquote>

not sure - didn't get a look under the hood.

03-02-2004, 12:44 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr> Inshan said: Is that a 6 cylinder Zephyr? <hr></blockquote>

Until the Mk 3 models of the 1960's all Zephyr's and Zodiac's came with the 6-cylinder, so if the original engine is still intact it would be a 6-cylinder.

As an aside Ford is well known for re-using their names for totally different cars:

Zephyr x3
- Lincoln (1940's)
- British Ford (1950's to 1972)
- Mercury in the States (1977 to 1984, dates approximate)

Capri x4
- British Ford - Consul Capri coupe (1961 to 1963)
- European Ford (1969 to 1987)
- American Ford (1979 to 1986)
- Capri roadster - Australian designed (1991 to 1993/94)

Point... Ford tries their best to confuse people graemlins/crazyeyes.gif

[ 03-02-2004: Message edited by: Sherlock ]</p>

03-02-2004, 12:56 PM
Well, if you pop the bonnet and there's a V12 under there, it's a Lincoln Zephyr!

03-02-2004, 01:44 PM
"Point... Ford tries their best to confuse people"

Don't forget the Escort......a presence in europe and North America but with different designs and mechanical specs.

Also, there is now a Ford Galaxy in europe......it's a mini-van! Okay, maybe different spelling of the word, but still.

03-02-2004, 02:55 PM
Very interesting thread! One minor correction: I believe all US Capri's are Mercuries. In the 50's&60's, it was Mercury's smaller offering. In the 70's, it was a German-built sporty car, similar to a Datsun 240Z. In the '80's it was just Mercury's version of the Ford Mustang.

03-02-2004, 03:04 PM
Lincoln made a Capri in the '50s. Here a picture of one:


03-03-2004, 12:20 PM
Wasn't there a short lived Capri convertible made for Ford in Austrailia and sold in the US during the 80's?

03-03-2004, 01:27 PM
Yes - it was FWD and based on Mazda 323 mechanical bits. Never imported to Canada, and seems to have sunk without trace in the US.

03-03-2004, 02:19 PM
A mercy killing, that one was. Blech. The sad part is, the Barchetta show car the capri was based on looked really promising.

03-03-2004, 02:30 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Eric:
...seems to have sunk without trace in the US.<hr></blockquote>

You still see a fair number of Ozzie Capris cruising around So Cal.



03-05-2004, 01:10 PM
Not the sportiest of designs, but how many "sporty" four seaters in this age/price range do you find? BMW 316/18i, VW Cabrio, Mustang ... Not much for the family guy. How about a convertible minivan? images/icons/shocked.gif

03-05-2004, 02:43 PM
Well I always knew ford cut corners while designing and building cars. Now I know they do the same on naming them.

Cheers, graemlins/thirsty.gif graemlins/driving.gif

03-05-2004, 10:57 PM
The Australian built Mercury Capri wasn't necessarily a bad car, despite what you read around the boards. The problem was, Ford made a halfhearted attempt to pitch it against the Miata, which was- still is- a pretty well designed sports car. What Capri owners got was a nice enough to drive open sporty car with a coupla small back seats for kids or groceries, but not a sports car (this is not to say that there aren't proper sports cars with back seats and luggage space, either, just that the Capri wasn't one of them). Judging by the numbers I still see driving around here, they mustn't be too horrible!

03-08-2004, 12:17 PM
Sort of looks like a small Lebaron/TC convertible.

03-08-2004, 12:17 PM
Sort of looks like a small Lebaron/TC convertible.

tony barnhill
03-08-2004, 12:24 PM
Couple of them at a body shop in Brownsboro, AL - damaged but repairable

03-08-2004, 03:45 PM
Those are actually (speaking of the Capri) nice little and very inexpensive, open air tourers.

Sure they're front drive, but they have bulletproof (if non-turbo) 323 mechanicals. If you need a beater to get around in, you can get an old something dull, or something with a roof that folds down for the same price. No contest for me.

03-10-2004, 08:04 AM
Hi folks, I'm a newbie to this forum so I thought I'd drop by and say hi. I have several Wolseleys, a somewhat lesser known marque but kin to the Austin and Morris. Anyway here's a pic of my little baby Winston, a 1948 Wolseley 10 horse power. Top speed 55mph.https://members.ozemail.com.au/~joybel/Image/Winst3.JPG

graemlins/driving.gif graemlins/thumbsup.gif

03-10-2004, 10:14 AM
Welcome Kira! Nice car!

tony barnhill
03-10-2004, 10:28 AM
NICE!! Now, if I could only find a Y Type MG!

03-10-2004, 01:18 PM
Hi Kira,

This wouldn't be Peter from BritCarTalk would it? "Winston" looks awfully familiar... And also a nice car... graemlins/thumbsup.gif

Welcome aboard anyway, yay! Another British saloon car fan!

03-10-2004, 05:34 PM
To be honest Sherlock that is highly likely. If Peter happens to be from Australia as well, then it could be my father who gave this car to me for my birthday in 2003, my 6/99 however is my regular road vehicle now that it's got it's engine rebuilt, and today we take the rear leaf springs to get them overhauled as they are somewhat totally flat. BTW do you have a link to Brit Car Talk please? graemlins/iagree.gif

03-10-2004, 05:55 PM

Yes... Peter is from Australia otherwise I wouldn't have asked the question in the first place, I think Peter Richardson? Anyway, someone down under who is heavily into Wolseley's including I believer a 1970's 18/85 model, I've been to his website before and seen his pictures.

(since I keep hiding from people graemlins/blush.gif , it's James)

03-10-2004, 07:50 PM
Yep, that's my dad. He founded the Wolseley Car Club in Australia back in 1975, and I've always had the car bug myself...so I started collecting, although his are all roadworthy, and some of mine are restorers delights, or nightmares. graemlins/lol.gif Unusual for a woman to be car nut maybe, but I'm very obsessed alas lacking funds to do them up.

03-10-2004, 08:13 PM

It's a small world sometimes... Ask your dad about James Tworow, we've e-mailed back and forth a couple of times in the past, he might remember (or he might not too).

And don't fret... there are a few girls around here on BCF, you're far from being the only one. graemlins/thumbsup.gif

As for running/fixing up old cars on lack of funds, join the club! 1969 Cortina about to be officially purchased, how much in the bank? Don't ask!

There's also a private message for you...

03-11-2004, 08:51 PM

Welcome aboard. Nice Wolseley, don't see those too often. Also I know how it is to have too many cars to fix and not nearly enough money.

Cheers, graemlins/thirsty.gif graemlins/driving.gif