Kitten-car

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Sir,

I note from your February and March publications of Motor Sport, that you have a Reliant Kitten on test. May I offer the following, experience of my wife’s example. But despite any criticism, she is emphatic that She would purchase the same again. Her previous cars have been Austin Cambridge (Moskvitch a few weeks, that’s another story) Sunbeam Imp Sport and a very reliable Fiat 500, the latter being replaced by the Kitten which was purchased at the end of October last year from City Motors, Oxford, the vehicle being a demo. model ii months old with 6,00o miles on the clock. At the time of purchase it was being fitted with a new rear brake drum, the original being oval. From the time of purchase until Christmas it spent one day every fortnight in City Motors for various complaints to be attended to. After January all the work had to be paid for and still we had problems. At this point my wife was getting very despondent, however one could not fault either Reliant or City Motors who were both willing to attend to any matters, but labour costs being what they are my wife appealed to me as an ex-plant engineer, to carry out any further work for her, this being poor brakes, loud knocking from the engine found to be 400 advance, bad starting and losing water out of the overflow due to a faulty radiator replaced free by Reliant. Prior to these problems we had doors not fitting, exhaust pipe broken off from the flange due to no bracket being fitted, steering and an ever deflating tyre. The. bad starting has been cured by replacing the HT leads with conventional ones, the brake problem has been overcome and the new radiator fitted. My wife now waits for something else to go wrong. However we do seem to have overcome most of the problems and as much as I disliked the concept of this little car I find that I use it far more than I ever used her Fiat 500. In fact since it was purchased in October it has covered 2,500 miles and when one considers that it is the family second car intended for my wife to get about in to shopping, work etc., it speaks well of it. It seems to grow on you. Now the HT leads have been changed it is a quick starter, very nimble along the country roads, and great fun when we park it in town due to its excellent steering lock. As you have stated the area of the windscreen that is wiped in the rain leaves many of the expensive cars to shame. In the recent snow, ice and frost we found it as sure footed as if the roads had been dry. Points against it are the fact that it is a very dirty car; despite fitting mud flaps, mud still gets thrown up the side, as noticed in the photograph of the February edition, which results in the back of one’s trouser leg getting very dirty. Rear visibility is very poor. Should you be long legged and you put your foot below the clutch pedal, it catches the ‘steering column universal joint (so that’s why they put the foot-rest there). In the wind the car is very twitchy and I note that you likened it to the Austin 7. My own opinion was that in some ways it was like my first car, a Singer Bantam 9.

One interesting feature that has been noticed is when driving along the road, if one passes another Kitten, there is light flashing and hand waving also, when one goes to the supplier for spares, you usually have a good chat with an enthusiastic employee or owner of a three-wheeler.

I have owned some large British motor cars in my time Standard, Triumph, Jaguar, Rover, Chrysler, BLMC and now Ford. I think it is good that a small company like Reliant or should I say the second largest British Motor Company, have got their thinking right. All they have got to do is tidy it up and acquire some good publicity. I don’t very often support British products as many items in my home would show. But I do feel that the Kitten has potential with a little more thought. I would add that I am in no way connected with Reliant.

Wantage L. J. EVANS