Reliant Car Engines, Kitten engine, Rebel, Fox

Published by Carl Wilson on

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Reliant was a British car manufacturer. Reliant was founded in 1935 by T L Williams to take over making the Raleigh 3 wheeler delivery van. It was powered by a 750 cc V twin engine to the rear wheels through a 3 speed gearbox and shaft drive. In 1939 the engine was replaced by Reliant’s version of the straight four cylinder 747cc Austin 7 side-valve engine. Reliant car engines are available at engines and gearboxes as used, reconditioned or secondhand.

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The straight four cylinder cars were the Kitten which had a glass fiber body and an 850cc aluminum engine, providing economical performance, chassis and engine. The Rebel engines varied from 598cc / 700cc /7 48cc (although sometimes later 848cc Reliant engines are retro-fitted) and the maximum speed was around 70mph. The Fox used 850cc aluminium engine.

The straight-4 or inline-4 is an internal combustion engine with four cylinders aligned in one row. Nicknamed a four-banger, this straight engine configuration is the most common in cars with a displacement up to 2.3 litres. The current “practical” limit to the displacement of straight-4 engines in a car is around 2.7 litres. However, in tractors and other construction machinery, four-cylinder diesel engines with a displacement of 4.5 litres and above can still be found.

The straight-4 engine is not a balanced configuration. While a pair of pistons is always moving up at the same time as the other pair is moving down, piston speed – as with all internal combustion engines – is higher through the top 180 degrees of the stroke than the bottom 180 degrees, which leads to a secondary harmonic imbalance.

While this is tolerable in a small low-displacement low-power configuration, the vibrations get worse with increasing size and power. Most straight-4 engines below 2.0 L in displacement rely on the damping effect of their engine mounts. Today, most engineers will make use of balance shafts above that limit.

A 4-cylinder engine needs two balance shafts, rotating at twice the crankshaft frequency, to be smooth. Nevertheless, there were several samples of larger straight-4s in production using no balance shafts, such as the Citroën DS 23 2347 cc engine that was a derivative of the Traction Avant engine, and the 1948 Austin 2660 cc engine used in the Austin-Healey 100 and Austin Atlantic.

These engines were generally the result of a long incremental evolution process and their power was kept relatively low regarding their capacity.

Other models included the:
Reliant Robin (often incorrectly referred to as a Robin Reliant). The single wheel in the front steered, while the engine (also in the front) drove the rear axle.

Reliant engine


The Reliant Regal was a small three-wheeled car, there were many forms of Reliant Regal from the Mk 1 in 1953 followed by the Mk II, Mk III, Mk IV, Mk V, Mk VI and the Regal 3/25 and 3/30.
The Reliant Rialto was a small subcompact car.

The Reliant Sabre and the Reliant Sabre Six were small two-seater sports cars with front-engines, with four-cylinder OHV Ford Consul engines of 1703 cc.

The Reliant Scimitars power initially started with a 2.6 L Ford straight six from the Ford Zephyr / Ford Zodiac.

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Carl Wilson

You won't believe it, I'm native Scotsman. Enthusiast. Car lovers. Almost finished rebuilding my Reliant Saber 🔥

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