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First, I can’t think of a more thoroughly “British” name for a three wheeled car.   At this writing, though, the robin is all but extinct.  I remember it, however, not as the butt of a joke, like one would see in Mr. Bean’s adventures, but a car that, during the early 1980’s, was sometimes just treated like a fact of life on BBC Television.   Here’s a history:

Reliant Cars Ltd was established in 1935 though it was not until thirty eight years later that the Reliant Robin was born in 1973. Prior to this date Reliant had become very successful and well established as a car maker building its range of  3 & 4-wheeled economy cars and its high performance Scimitar range. The Robin was launched in November 1973 and followed the Reliant Regal that had been one of the most successful 3-wheelers world wide. The Robin had quite an tough act to follow but it was introduced in a blaze of publicity that boasted at the Robins load capacity of 30 cubic feet (with rear seats down) and yet at the same time it was a luxury 4 seater 3-wheeler. Designed by Ogle Design Limited for Reliant the Robin was the first car to not have a rain strip running above the doors, in addition it also featured a real opening window – features that were soon to appear on many cars to follow by other manufacturers.

The Robin became very successful and received a further boost when HRH The Princess Anne brought a Robin Super Saloon when she was living at Sandhurst Royal Academy.

Reliant announced in 2000 that the would no longer make 3-wheeled economy cars.


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