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The BBC's Robert Nesbit
"The newly hatched Robin has its admirers"
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Thursday, 12 July, 2001, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK
Reliant Robin makes a comeback
Last Reliant Robin
The cult three-wheeler is back on the road
The Reliant Robin is getting a new lease of life after the rights to continue making the cult car were bought by a glass-fibre expert.

The Reliant family of vehicles was made famous by the Trotter family in the BBC's Only Fools and Horses series, who drove a Supervan.

Production of the closely-related Robin stopped earlier this year after poor sales.

The first five models made by Les Collier, in his small Suffolk firm, are being launched on Thursday.

The new Robin features leather upholstery, alloy wheels, electric windows and a sun-roof.

I want to make sure the days of the Robin being a joke are over

Les Collier
Mr Collier has already had orders for more than 90 models from Reliant dealers.

He plans to make 250 each year in his factories in Sudbury and Beccles.

The new Robin will cost 9,995 - 2,000 cheaper than its predecessor.

Mr Collier said: "I want to make sure the days of the Robin being a joke are over.

The Trotter Robin Reliant from Only Fools and Horses
A nice little earner
"It's now going to be a quality car in a niche market."

"Many of the jokes about Robins are simply not fair.

"For instance, the van that Del Boy Trotter drove in Only Fools and Horses was not even a Robin but a Regal."

"We have remodelled the interior, improved the paintwork and are even offering colours that change colour in different lights."

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

But production of the car was stopped when sales slumped to just 10 a week.

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

Robin Reliant on the production line
Reliant Motors ceased production after poor sales
The 850cc-engined cars can be driven using a motorbike licence.

Mr Collier said they had always been value for money.

"They can do 90 miles an hour, 80 miles to the gallon yet still carry four adults and their luggage.

Mr Collier's firm had mainly produced parts for caravans when he became one of a number of firms bidding for the rights.

"I am a small operator without major overheads but I am certain it will be a success.

"People have laughed at three-wheelers but I am determined to have the last laugh.

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See also:

14 Feb 01 | Business
Reliant Robin passes into history
27 Sep 00 | Business
End of the road for Reliant Robin
22 May 98 | Latest News
Del Boy meets ER
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