In 1970s England the coal mines shut down, Maggie Thatcher becomes the first female Prime Minister, Marc Bolan sang “life’s a gas, I hope it’s gonna last” (it didn’t), and this big, brown Reliant Scimitar GTE SE6 rolled off the Tamworth, Staffordshire production line with a two-fingered salute at the incoming wave of Japanese and German imports that had the conspirative benefits of reliability, mass production, a responsive dealer network—and a carbuilding policy that more often than not included the availability of all four wheels. Pff, details.
But none of those Johnny Foreigner cars had the inherent Britishness (whatever that means)! Just check out that Union Jack hood bonnet badge, surrounding a genuine scimitar, which has to be up there with one of the coolest car names ever! “Hey baby,” James Bond might have said to some tart at a party in an Islington flat once, “I drive a Scimitar.” And then he went off to settle a paternity suit or fifteen, because that’s what secret agents do. Well, that, and not drive turd-brown 1970s station wagons…
“Oi, this is a shooting brake!” Oh, right. Before “lifestyle marketing” was a twinkle in Don Draper’s eye, this Scimitar targeted the executives and middle-management types who would otherwise be driving something sensible, like, say, a Wolseley Six. Yes, this is the lugg-jury XE6 model, as evident by the strip of chrome on the schnoz, and the 3.0-liter Essex V6 under the bonnet. Later cars used the Ford Cologne 2.8-liter V6 built by the Germans; not even stalwart Reliant could escape the creeping influence of the Continent!
Just 543 SE6 Scimitars were produced, so this is a rare beast indeed. Is a turd gloriously brown wagon shooting brake on slotted mags built by a company in the West Midlands more 1970s than Thatcherism and Roger Waters’ angst?