The Reliant Robin is an iconic part of British history, having appeared in UK sitcom Only Fools & Horses and then Rowan Atkinson’s Mr Bean. But it seems its stint in the limelight hasn’t been enough to prevent it being voted the worst British car of all time.
A recent survey by Discovery Channel TV show Wheeler Dealers asked 2,000 British people what their motoring preferences were ahead of the show’s debut. It found the three-wheeler came out as the worst, narrowly beating the Austin Maestro into second and the Austin Metro into third.
We can understand why drivers may look back in disdain. But the Reliant Robin sold incredibly well during its pomp, thanks to its low running costs and spacious boot.
The early Reliant Robin (known before as the Reliant Regal) came with a 750cc engine, which was increased to 850cc later in its life. It was made from fibreglass and could be driven legally if you had a motorcycle licence and the reverse gear was disabled, although that’s no longer the case.
In September of 2001 Reliant launched a 65 Special Edition Robin to mark 65 years of production. For £10,000, you got a gold paintjob, leather trim and walnut dash. By this time, sales had dropped to just ten a week.
British voters in the same survey said the Mini was the greatest British car of all time. Second place went to the Aston Martin DB7 and third place to the iconic Jaguar E-Type, a car Enzo Ferrari said was “the most beautiful car ever made”.
It also found the average boy and racers are aged 35 and 34, respectively and the boy racer iconic car of choice is the Ford Escort XR3i.