BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Business
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Market Data 
Economy 
Companies 
E-Commerce 
Your Money 
Business Basics 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Wednesday, 14 February, 2001, 16:54 GMT
Reliant Robin passes into history
Last Reliant Robin
The last Reliant Robin was given away in a competition
Famous for being Del Boy's favourite form of three-wheeled transport in the BBC series Only Fools and Horses, the last Reliant Robin rolled of the assembly line on Wednesday.

In its heyday in the 1960s over 300 of the fibreglass vehicles were produced every week and Reliant Motors in Staffordshire was once the second largest all-British car maker.

But sales have now slumped to just 10 a week and the Robin can no longer compete with a new generation of inexpensive four-wheel microcars.


It is the end of a love affair with the car

Reliant Motor's Noel Palmer
As a result, its makers have decided to bring 65 years of motoring tradition to an end.

Reliant Motors spokesman Noel Palmer said: "It is very apt that the last Reliant Robin rolls off the production line on Valentine's Day - it is the end of a love affair with the car.

"It is a sad day for us that that part of our company is now history.

"But Reliant will continue as an importer of French and Italian micro cars and in the spare parts business as well.

Jokes

Drivers only need a motorcycle licence to drive the Robin and 44,000 are still in use on British roads.

A new model sells for about 10,000 but is inexpensive to run, doing about 80 miles (130 km) to the gallon with its 850cc aluminium engine.

The Trotter Robin Reliant from Only Fools and Horses
The Reliant Robin was immortalised in Only Fools and Horses
The vehicle began life in the depths of the Great Depression in the 1930s, but did not become popular until after World War II when handle bars were replaced by steering wheels.

The car was originally built from aluminium, but became the first mass-production vehicle with a fibreglass body in the 1950s.

Despite being the brunt of many jokes, the car has spawned a number of Reliant owners' clubs and rallies.


I am a slow driver and I won't be going mad in this

John Leigh, winner of last ever Robin
The last Robin, a special-edition model with a gold-metallic finish, two-tone trim and a walnut dashboard, was won by three-wheel enthusiast John Leigh in a competition in a national newspaper.

Mr Leigh, 53, from Weaverham, Cheshire, said he owned a Reliant Robin 20 years ago and was now keen to reacquaint himself with the vehicle.

"Inside they are totally different now. I am a slow driver and I won't be going mad in this," he said.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

27 Sep 00 | Business
End of the road for Reliant Robin
22 May 98 | Latest News
Del Boy meets ER
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories