Reliant Regal hotel blue

Reliant Regal vs Reliant Robin

The Reliant Robin and the Reliant Regal are often confused. The Rialto, the replacement for the Robin, also commonly gets mistaken for it.

Reliant made a series of three-wheelers. The most well-known of these was and still is the Robin.

The Robin, however, was a direct replacement for the Reliant Regal.

In this article, I’ll be explaining the differences between the Reliant Regal and the Robin.

Reliant Regal – Production

The Reliant Regal went through seven different generations – the Mk I to the Mk VII. The Mk VII Regal consisted of the 3/25 and the 3/30.

The Mk I was first shown at Earls Court in 1952 but didn’t go into production until 1953, as Reliant still needed to shave some weight off.

Reliant Regal Mk 1 I

Reliant Regal Mk I. Used with the kind permission of the Reliant Motor Club.

Over the following decade, Reliant rolled through the generations of the Regal. Each one was in production for a couple of years at a time.

  • Mk I – 1952 – 1954.
  • Mk II – 1954 – 1956.
  • Mk III – 1956 – 1958.
  • Mk IV – 1958 – 1959.
  • Mk V – 1959 – 1960.
  • Mk VI – 1960 – 1962.

The 3/25 and 3/30 then came onto the scene, with production lasting from 1962 until the infamous Robin replaced it in 1973.

Some of the more famous Regal examples include those that appear in Mr Bean and Only Fools and Horses.

Reliant Regal vs Reliant Robin – What’s The Difference?

The Robin replaced the Reliant Regal, and so one would expect it to be an improvement.

Sure enough, the Robin truly represented an advancement, especially in terms of the power train and fibreglass body.

Reliant Robin Mk 1 I

Reliant Robin. Used with the kind permission of the Reliant Motor Club.

The Reliant Regal 3/25 and 3/30, compared to the Robin, had…

  • A different body (considerably thicker than the Robin). Notably, the Regal 3/25 and 3/30’s bonnets dip down between the headlights. The Robin’s rear end is also blatantly more pretty, showing the handiwork of Ogle Design.
  • A different, less advanced chassis.
  • 12″ wheels, larger than the 10″ ones you find on the Robin.
  • A more basic interior – although the Robin probably wasn’t what you might call luxurious, it had more than enough accessories and felt exceptionally equipped. The Regal was more straightforward.
  • A smaller engine.

What About Earlier Regal Models?

Earlier Regal models were completely different.

The Mk I and Mk II Regals had aluminium bodies mounted on a wooden (ash) frame. The design was basic, as it had to be – you’ll notice a very boxy shape on these.

Reliant Regal Mk 2 II

Reliant Regal Mk II – note the “boxy” kind of shape (as it had to be). Used with the kind permission of the Reliant Motor Club.

The Mk III to Mk VI Regals had fibreglass bodies – as a result, they’re considerably more shapely. In the 1950s, the shape was pretty modern. These models still sat on ash frames. The 3/25 and 3/30 utilised steel frames.

Was The Reliant Regal Popular?

Although it’s not remembered in the same way as the Robin, yes, it really was. In fact, the Regal outsold the Robin over its years in production.

By the time the Robin came out in 1973, just over 110,000 Reliant Regals had been made. This record gives it the title of the best-selling three-wheeled car in the world – even more than the legendary Robin itself.

The Regal, then, was a significant car: it shaped the future and prepared the way for the Robin. The two vehicles are, however, very different.

Reliant Regal Mk 3 III

Reliant Regal Mk 3 III – see how the design has evolved from the Mk II. Used with the kind permission of the Reliant Motor Club.

For more information on the Reliant Regal and its history, please check out the Reliant Motor Club’s page on it. This page covers the Regal 3/25 and 3/30.

See More Articles In This Series

In Defence Of The Reliant Robin

Reliant Scimitar – A Car Way Before Its Time

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