1979 Reliant Scimitar SE6A GTE
3.0ltr Omega Conversion

Another Scimitar, this time the bigger SE6A. The earlier SE5 was the sports car version. Reliant later enlarged the car turning its focus to Grand Tourer. The basic chassis layout was the same but it had increased wheelbase and a larger body. Apparently they were aiming for a more executive area of the market.

This particular example (in special order black) started life as an auto. But then a good friend of mine got hold of it. The full story can be seen via the link below but to cut a long story short he bought an ex-police motorway patrol 3.0ltr Vauxhall Omega and swapped the engine and gearbox across into the Scimitar. So the car now has a much lighter engine and transmission (the Essex is referred to as a boat anchor for good reason), much better fuel economy thanks to modern engine management, a 5-speed manual gearbox and, according to book figures for the Omega, over 200bhp!


Project: Black Pudding


She has been off the road for four years now whilst other modification work was started but due to changing circumstances and interests the work slowed down to a stop and the car was moved to the back of his garden. He decided that rather than leave it to deteriorate any further it would be better to find it a new home and raise some funds towards his new interests (still vehicle/engineering based).

So here she is on arrival at the motor club premises at work, parked next to my SE5.


Initial Assessment

The exterior finish of the car is cosmetically 'challenged', lots of crazing and stress cracks. But no rust!

The car is letting in water through the glass sun-roof and rear tailgate. There may be more leaks but the first two are letting in so much water it's hard to tell. As a result, the seats and carpets are scrap. Fortunately, included in the sale was a good used leather interior so hopefully all I'll need to buy is carpets.

The car also sports a custom dashboard as can be seen in the photos below.

The original dashboard and centre console came with the car but the centre console that runs along the top of the transmission tunnel is in poor condition.

Other faults on the initial 'to do' list are:

Passenger door won't open
Tailgate hinges partially seized
Off-side exhaust hangars broken (exhaust drooping)
Brake pipe burst so no brakes (replacement in the post)
Suspect dirt contamination in fuel tank (as advised by previous owner)
Engine management light on
Cam-belt due change

I haven't checked the electrics yet but as can be seen, there's a fair amount of tidying to do. This is in no way a criticism on the previous owner, after all it was a work in progress.

Week 1

The first task, after emptying all the parts from the boot (the above photos were taken after this), was to start lubricating all the accessible hinges with penetrating oil and try to release the passenger door. After a bit of coaxing the passenger door is now open, though the tailgate hinges will need a bit more work. I will at some point in the near future gain better access to all the hinge points and lubricate them properly. I shall also remove the door cards (for cleaning) and lubricate the door latch and window mechanisms.

The new centre console and heater unit has been removed to give full access to the wiring loom.

The console came to far into the cabin and on selecting 1st, 3rd and 5th gears the gear knob actually touched it. The heater unit hidden behind is from a Vauxhall Corsa and the previous owner admitted that he got his measurements slightly wrong when he fitted it.

He did however include a partially constructed replacement heater box from stainless steel that was intended to replace the original.

The reason for the change is that the fitment of the replacement engine required the heater area of the bulkhead to be moved back in towards the cabin. Of course if you've read his build blog on the link further up this page you'll already know that.

That leaves a lot of wires!


Week 2

A recent acquisition of high quality sealant has prompted me to turn my attention to the shower assembly that is masquerading as a sunroof. To this effect the glass panel has been removed followed by the frame itself leaving a big gaping and slightly flappy hole.


The replacement brake pipe also appeared and has been duly fitted.

The brakes were then bled and a quick test (in duration, not speed) seemed to show that they are fully functioning.


Week 3

The main push is still on the sunroof. The sealant has all been removed from the body shell.

This has highlighted all the stress cracks around the aperture.


If this car is ever going to win any concourse competitions then these all need addressing before I glue the sunroof frame back in place.
I'm not keen on concourse but I'd like the car to look presentable. Oh what to do...


In the mean time, the frame has been getting cleaned up ready for paint.

The sealant is proving quite stubborn and tiresome to remove.


The rubber seal for the glass is simply bonded in place and does not look to be anything too special so I shall try to find a suitable replacement first rather than just gluing the glass panel shut.

Previous sealing attempts have resulted in more cleaning!