Britain By Car - A Motoring History

Reliant Motor Company

Lightbox Image

For many years, Reliant’s main engine plant.

Location
Lynn Lane, Shenstone, Lichfield WS14 0DHDate
1963 – 1981(?)

Commentary
On the 23rd October 1963, fire broke out in the fibreglass shop of the Reliant factory at Two Gates in Tamworth, causing major damage to the building, machinery and a number of the fibreglass moulds.

In response to this, Reliant immediately purchased and converted a disused factory, seven miles away, in Shenstone.  On the 27th November 1963, the new premises were opened by Formula 1 World Champion, Jim Clark.

The Shenstone factory quickly became the base for Reliant’s engineering operations; manufacturing engines, gearboxes, rear axles and suspension units for the company’s three-wheel range.

It appears that Reliant closed the Shenstone factory around 1981, following the takeover by the Nash Group.  

Lightbox Image

However, in April 1985, the building was in use once again, leased to the Ford Motor Company for twelve months, to produce the bodyshell and to assemble 200 road-going examples of their RS200 four-wheel-drive, mid-engined rally car.  

Today, the Shenstone factory is now occupied by Autosmart, a manufacturer of vehicle and food processing cleaning products.

Other locations    
Burntwood
, Staffordshire
Tamworth
, Staffordshire

Further details    
• The Reliant Motor Company, Elvis Payne, Crécy Publishing, 2016.
• The Reliant Three-Wheeler, 1935 – 1973, Stuart Cyphus and Elvis Payne, Crécy Publishing, 2011.
• Information on the history of Reliant and company archives are available from www.3wheelers.com, an online catalogue of three-wheeled vehicles from Cugnot fardier à vapeur (1769) to the present day.
• Rebel without applause: Reliant from inception to zenith, Daniel Lockton, Bookmarque Publishing, 2003.
• Reliant Three-Wheelers, John Wilson-Hall, The Crowood Press, 2014.