RAC Cars News


Reliant Robin Has The Last Laugh

By raccars Published

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Del Boy would no doubt be delighted to hear that after years being the butt of automotive jokes, the Reliant Robin is gaining favour as a popular classic. Along with Peckham-dwelling con men, the Robin was a favourite of motorbike licence holders keen to get a roof over their heads without going for the full licence, and it is now becoming a collectors' item.

The Robin is seeing values increase dramatically both at home and abroad, with Reliant specialists doing a roaring trade. The car has gone from old-banger status to commanding £2,000 just for a Supervan rolling chassis and bodyshell. As with any car, some models are more desirable than others. The Mk1 is a good option, as prices have yet to catch up with the trend and they are tax-exempt. The Rialto, made from 1981, is another solid choice — good models can still be found for £800, going up to £2,000. However, these prices are expected to rise.

It's the later models that are driving the market, particularly the final-run models of the late 1990s. Don't be surprised to see Robins of this era for sale at £4,000, or even up to £6,000 for low-mileage examples in good condition. Keep an eye out also for rare and limited-run models such as the earlier Regals, on which the Robin was based. Expect to pay at least £3,000 for good versions of these. Recently, a Regal 3/30 from 1970 reached £2,260 at auction, despite dodgy paintwork and a suspect gearbox.

Based upon the Regal, the Supervan can command £5,000 plus in good condition, while well-presented novelty Trotter replicas can reach £8,000.

The Reliant Robin started life as the Reliant Regal, a small three-wheeler van. Produced from 1953 to 1973, it was then replaced by the Robin, which became the second biggest selling fibreglass car ever. Different versions of this remained in production until 2001. The 1970s made the practical and economical microcar a hit. It gave a useful 70mpg during the decade's fuel crisis. And there was the fact that you could drive one with a Class A motorcycle licence. The Robin enjoys cult status in British popular culture, providing regular comedic fodder for the likes of 'Only Fools and Horses', 'Absolutely Fabulous', 'Mr Bean' and Jasper Carrott. The Robin has also made a number of appearances on TV's 'Top Gear' and 'Scrapheap Challenge' and in the Disney film 'Cars 2'.

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