What hath the Sabre-Six?

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It has come to my notice, as they say in the more stuffy business letters, that the Reliant Sabre-Six, although it has been out of production for some time, has become the “in-thing” with a number of discerning members of the Frazer Nash Chain-Gang—and they do not come much more discriminating than that. I must say, although I am aware of how well Robin Rew’s Sabre-Six goes in VSCC Pomeroy Trophy contests, this choice of motor car surprises me. There has to be a current-model car to run alongside the not-always-available vintage machinery, naturally. Before the war Tim Carson set a cult in Light Fifteen Citröens within VSCC circles and more recently senior members of that Club have continued the tradition in Lancias, Aprilias and Rover 2000s etc. But a Sabre …!

You see, I remember that we had one for road-test away back in 1964 and that the colleague who drove it was aghast at its too-many bad qualities. Following MOTOR SPORT’s fearless policy, I instructed him to write honestly about it and have no qualms. Which he did! Shortly before publication date of the issue concerned I went up to Tamworth to look at the new 600 c.c. light-alloy engine that had been evolved for the Reliant Regal three-wheeler, due to the demise in supplies of Austin 7-type engines. It was to be permitted in 750 Formula racing, you see. It was while I was being wined and dined on this visit by the top-brass that the Director asked me what we had thought of the Sabre-Six. Knowing full well what we were about to publish on the subject, I made suitably evasive noises. But the great man was not to he put off. “I shall be in America when the next issue of MOTOR SPORT comes out,” he said, and then, turning to his Secretary, added, “but you know my address; see that a couple of copies are Air-Mailed out to me.” Curtain!

Turning up that road-test report, I see that among other comments we said that the Sabre’s ride was harsh, the cockpit cramped, visibility (he meant vision) nil, that the gearbox had a mind of its own, mostly favouring neutral, and that this Reliant Sabre-Six GT “felt horrible”! And so on . . . Yet now I hear that chaps of the calibre of motoring knowledge of Dick Smith, Mark Joseland, Dick and Aubrey Brocklebank, Frank Rushton, and Richard Perkins have “joined the club”, as Sabre owners, although I see that Rew himself used a Scimitar for this year’s Pomeroy. I cannot understand it! Perhaps after a pre-war ‘Nash, anything goes? Could it be that fibreglass doesn’t show beer stains? Or maybe post-1964 Sabre-Sixes showed a marked improvement? I think one or other of the new enthusiasts for Sabres may soon he telling me.—W.B.

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The 750 MC hopes to, beat its record attendance of 258 pre-war Austin Sevens at its National Rally at Beaulieu on July 6th. This will constitute a fitting Austin 7 day, with pre-rally barbecue, driving tests, concours d’elegance with 17 classes, distance and other awards, special display, sideshows, workshop, autojumble, etc. Entries close on June 27th, to K. Cooke, 26, Whomerley Road, Stevenage, Herts. Any owner of an appropriate car is eligible and late entries may be accepted.

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The fourth annual Hexham Vintage Rally will take place on July 27th, with an all-day run through Northumberland National Park scenery, with a concours d’elegance during the lunch stop. Start and finish in Hexham. Details from: E. Graham, 5, West View, Prudhoe, Northumberland (Tel. Prudhoe 13167).

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