"Princess Anne had one, you know?"
YEP. TOM D HAS FINALLY REALISED HIS DREAM OF OWNING a GTE.
I’ve done it, it’s happened. I’ve joined the club. Imposter no more. No longer do I have to bashfully make excuses about a Ford Focus when people ask me: “So, what do YOU drive?”
It all started last summer when the other Tom asked me “If you could have a classic, what would you have?” Here I am one year later, introducing my 1974 Reliant Scimitar GTE SE5a in an appropriately faded shade of ‘April Yellow 2’.
So why a Scimitar? Never before have I agreed so much with the principal behind a car; the shooting brake is both our favourite silhouette. It’s got space for camera gear and is an exceptional cruiser. Those four front lamps give a brutish glare, backed up by the brawn of the Essex V6. For me it’s a Jensen Interceptor without the obscene 7.2L v8, nearly 300 odd horsepower and electrically extending aerial wizardry. Though, 138hp stock (no idea what it actually has now) and a sub tonne weight does mean for a willing surge forward.
The interior for me is bliss: a snug cockpit with old-school dials, gauges and clicky switches to get nerdy about. It also has a rather smart black coach line and a ‘that’s about right’ colour-match on its front splitter, perfect with the aftermarket Wolfrace wheels.
Despite an assortment of niggles it made the rainy 171 mile trip home without a single grumble. By the time we’d made it back to West Sussex, the whole car began to come out of its slumber. Flipping out of overdrive, squeezing the throttle and whooshing past some boring mid naughties Audi on the motorway is quite the ‘a- haaaa!’ Although, yesterday Tom A took it for a spin and pointed out the immense satisfaction garnered from simply changing to third out of second gear. The Scimitar is the car that sneaks up in your mirrors, you acknowledge it as cool, if a bit scruffy. Then before you know it, it’s past you, careering off into the distance - today is actually the first day I haven’t driven it.
You'll be seeing more of it, but for now it’s here, both in spirit and reality - my Scimitar GTE.