The Reptile!!!

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Well I've done it again & bought yet another slightly dubious example of British low volume car manufacturing prowess. Not content with owning a Midas Bronze for 9 years, & then, some years later, a Chris Hollier Mosquito for a rather briefer period of time, I've gone out & bought myself a Reliant Scimitar SS1. Powered by a Ford 1600cc CVH overhead cam engine (as used in the Escort XR3 & XR3i) it goes pretty well & handles nicely too (even on soggy tyres & bouncy tired shock absorbers :blink: ). For those who don't know these cars have a steel backbone chassis from which is hung a variety of plastic/glassfibre panels (none of which fit particularly well). Unfortunately the sills are a bit dodgy on this one (a common complaint of early examples of the breed & later cars were galvanised to combat this), therefore my short term plans are to get these replaced with a new set (from the Scimitar specialist Graham Walker) & then get the running gear (shock absorbers, bushes, brakes, steering etc) replaced/refurbished as required.

Longer term plans involve replacing the CVH engine (about 90bhp I think) with a 2 litre twin cam 16v Zetec engine (about 130bhp I think). These are normally only found in front wheel drive Fords (Mondeo's, Escorts etc) but they're a popular engine with the kit car crowd & can be converted fairly easily to rear wheel drive. I've already found an engine & I'm planning to use the existing SS1 gearbox which, I'm assured, will bolt straight up to the Zetec - but only after buying a suitable flywheel/clutch assembly first of course. Hopefully I can avoid the expense of having to buy a pair of Weber carbs (+ suitable manifold) by using fuel injection. Due to the lack of space under the bonnet of the SS1 this will have to be made from a combination of parts from other Fords. By using a MK1 Mondeo ECU (anyone have lying around :huh:) I can bypass the passive security (the ignition key has a chip in it keyed to the ignition barrel) that Ford built into the later ECU's. Anyway I have a long shopping list - of which the engine is the simplest part to find - wish me luck please as I'll need it!!

Anyway here's a picture of "the reptile" (as it's been christened by the mechanics at the garage I use). I suspect that this project will take much of my watch budget so I'll probably not have anything new to show the forum for a while - I'll probably end up trading/selling a few. I'll keep you all up to date (if you want to hear about it!!!) with any progress made.

:)

thereptilersz01.jpg

Edited by pauluspaolo

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Posted · Report post

Awesome! A guy round the corner from me when I was growing up had one. I could never make up my mind whether I liked it or not but came to the conclusion that it was better looking than the FIAT X19 that another neighbour had. I believe Princess Anne had one in which she was done for speeding!

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Haven't seen one of them for a long time. Good luck with the rebuild/mods. :thumbsup:

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I believe Princess Anne had one in which she was done for speeding!

Nah, she got done in a Scimitar alright, but not a SS1. According to whatever source you read she had between 8 & 10 Scimitar GTE's over the years.

I've never been in a SS1 but I hear that the handling on a properly set up one is exquisite.

That should be a real fire breathing monster when you finish it :thumbsup:

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Hi Paul:

Remember these from my Scimitar days, didn't they also come with the Nissan 1.8 turbo from the Silvia/200Sx ?

Might be easier to find as they are tough engines and most cars will have succumbed to rust by now.

Also seem to remember there was a Mk 2 version that had some styling tweaks?

Have to say the Scimitar club was brilliant, although BITD the SS1 was rather looked down on, doubt thats the case these days.

Has a rare hardtop as well by the look of it.

Best of luck with the rebuild,

D.

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Many thanks for the positives chaps. Yes there was a version powered by the Nissan Sylvia turbo (remember those??) engine - good for 130bhp & about 130mph in the small & light Scimitar. All of the turbo's had a galvanised chassis so there are quite a few out there still, they're a rare sight on the road though ... or at least they are round Leeds! The 200sx twin cam turbo engine was developed from the single cam Sylvia turbo but I've no idea if the twin cam will fit. I know for a fact that the Zetec will fit & mate up to my existing gearbox, plus I don't really want any of the heat/reliability problems that a turbo installation may bring with it.

There were a couple of restyled versions which came after mine (even I'm not that keen on the styling of mine & I've bought one :blink:!!) which looked quite a bit better. I think the last version ended up with Rover K series power & is quite a rare/sought after car. Never mind the styling though the best part of the SS1 is the way it goes (even in 1600cc form it's not particularly slow) & handles. Mine still handles well but should be transformed with new shock absorbers & a set of polyurethane wishbone/anti-roll bar bushes.

I've not joined the club yet but plan to do so next payday - there's a discussion/sales forum on the Scimweb pages which is proving very useful indeed as a source of both parts & advice. Forums are great places really when you think about it :D

:)

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Many thanks for the positives chaps. Yes there was a version powered by the Nissan Sylvia turbo (remember those??) engine - good for 130bhp & about 130mph in the small & light Scimitar. All of the turbo's had a galvanised chassis so there are quite a few out there still, they're a rare sight on the road though ... or at least they are round Leeds! The 200sx twin cam turbo engine was developed from the single cam Sylvia turbo but I've no idea if the twin cam will fit. I know for a fact that the Zetec will fit & mate up to my existing gearbox, plus I don't really want any of the heat/reliability problems that a turbo installation may bring with it.

There were a couple of restyled versions which came after mine (even I'm not that keen on the styling of mine & I've bought one :blink:!!) which looked quite a bit better. I think the last version ended up with Rover K series power & is quite a rare/sought after car. Never mind the styling though the best part of the SS1 is the way it goes (even in 1600cc form it's not particularly slow) & handles. Mine still handles well but should be transformed with new shock absorbers & a set of polyurethane wishbone/anti-roll bar bushes.

I've not joined the club yet but plan to do so next payday - there's a discussion/sales forum on the Scimweb pages which is proving very useful indeed as a source of both parts & advice. Forums are great places really when you think about it :D

:)

Remember Sylvia-nice.

That looks good Paul - better than ones I seen!

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Looks like a good buy mate. Gotta love these old motors with simple running gear :) keep us posted. we love a good saga :)

Edited by JonW

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I believe Princess Anne had one in which she was done for speeding!

Nah, she got done in a Scimitar alright, but not a SS1. According to whatever source you read she had between 8 & 10 Scimitar GTE's over the years.

I've never been in a SS1 but I hear that the handling on a properly set up one is exquisite.

That should be a real fire breathing monster when you finish it :thumbsup:

During the Princess Anne malarkey the newspapers made a big fuss of the Scimitars rear windscreen wiper (they mustn't get out much)

saying "the rear windscreen wiper was not of much use, as she was travelling forwards at the time"

I think you've got us hooked Paul, looking forward to following the progress of the Reptile

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Just back from a day at Shelsey Walsh hillclimb.

Scimitar club was invited and a nice pair of SS1 were tackling the hill, and yes , both had Zetec power by the look of it.

Cooling on these engines is critical apparently, shortage of space for ancilliaries is a problem, and to fit a Kenlowe needs some minor radiator surgery.

However they are easily avaliable, reliable and some serious power can be extracted.

I took a few pics, will post them if the quality is up to par.

D.

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I was hoping to go to Harewood House hillclimb yesterday, not only to watch the racing but also to walk through the paddock/pits area. I was hoping to find a few neat Zetec installations to look at, take photo's of & get a few ideas from :) I ended up going to the York Designer Outlet :( where we stayed indoors on a beautiful day :taz:!!! Still I did do some work on the car when I got back & managed to install the manual window winding gear (which I bought to replace the defunct passengers side electric window). Fitting it was a complete b**ch as there's very little space inside a door for manouvering tools, parts etc! But, with the help of my girlfriend, we managed to get it fitted & I now have two working windows in the SS1 :D Both manual wind but it keeps things simple - the less electrickery powered items I have to worry about the better!!

I look forward to seeing the pics David even if they aren't up to par! I fitted a PaceT fan to the Chris Hollier Mosquito I used to own - this was a rear engined buggy that used a Mini engine fitted at the back of the car & out of any direct airflow. When I got the car it had serious overheating problems (due to a shagged engine, radiator & fan) but after we'd fitted a new radiator, PaceT fan (and a new engine :rolleyes:) we had no problems with overheating at all. Fitting the fan was a doddle as well (without any surgery needed to the new radiator) so I think that this is the route I'll end up taking. Kenlowe fans are excellent I know but I prefer to stick with what I've tried & tested already - the Reliant has an electric fan fittted already which works ok, but it's a bit noisy & creaky ........ bit like the rest of the car really :lol:

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Right well - an update on progress with the Zetec engine swap project.

I have bought myself an engine - my friend (the owner of the Mondeo the engine came out of) & I spent 3 Sundays in a row removing it & I finally got it home last Saturday. I spent a couple of hours last night stripping all the stuff off it that I won't need ..... like the inlet manifold/injection system (as this won't fit in the SS1's engine bay)! I also removed the exhaust manifold (which I might well end up using) as it's got a damned great hole in it which some of the emission control gubbins was attached to .......... not sure what it did but I do know that I don't want it (I think :blink:) so I need to find a damned great bolt & block this. The lambda sensor might actually fit in the hole but I don't really know whether I'll need one or not! I'll also need to get an alternator fitting kit from somewhere, as the alternator's currently mounted to some vast great whale of a mounting, & I'll need the alloy sump from a 1.8 Zetec engined Escort. The Mondeo sump isn't suitable for the SS1 but the Escort one fits fine ... or so I am reliably informed. Westfield also make one but they want over £200 for it!

Having just pooh poohed Westfield I'd like to end up with an engine similar to those that are often fitted to their kitcars i.e. a 2.0 Zetec on twin 40 Weber carburettors or possibly bike carbs. There are a couple of bike carb sets on eBay at the moment that are jetted for the 2.0 Zetec but they don't have the manifold with them .... which is not a cheap bit of kit. Twin 40 carbs, if bought new, will come to well over £600 - which is beyond my budget at the moment! I'll probably end up using the carb & manifold from the 1600 CVH engine that's already in the car. The carb will have to be rejetted for a 2 litre but this is, apparently quite a simple - & reatively cheap - job. The inet manifold from the CVH engine will fit the Zetec by using an adaptor available from Ferriday engineering. This set up should give me 140(ish)bhp which quite a hike from the 90(ish)bhp that the current engine churns out!

Other jobs to do include: uprating the brakes (very neccessary) with Metro turbo vented discs & 4 pot calipers, I've bought these already & will try & fit them this weekend; fitting harder polyurethane suspension bushes (I've ordered these but they haven't arrived yet), after that it'll be new shock absorbers all round (not cheap). Sometime in between all this lot I'll be shunting the car over to the garage where I'm going to be having the new sills fitted. Also, having seen pictures of an accident that someone had in their SS1 where it ended up upside down & sliding along the road :eek: I think a roll bar would be a good investement too! I'd also like to change the rubbish wheels & get some decent tyres too!!

No pics yet as all there is to see is the engine & that's not very exciting too look at - it might be when I've finished cleaning/painting it though!

It should be a busy few months I think!! :blink:

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Can't wait to see it when it's done mate.

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Posted · Report post

Significant progress indeed.

Keep at it and don't let the b*****d beat you................. the winters a tough time for projects though.

Are you working on it indoors or outdoors ?

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Looking forward to seeing the piccies of this, keep up the good work.

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Significant progress indeed.

Keep at it and don't let the b*****d beat you................. the winters a tough time for projects though.

Are you working on it indoors or outdoors ?

Indoors - double garage :) - plenty of space (I'm sure I'll fill it :blink:!) but no heating so I'll just have to wrap up warm & stay busy.

Many thanks for all the encouragement & I'll keep you posted on any further progress :thumbup:

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Brilliant news! Sounds like its gonna be great :)

Get a cheap gas heater off the bay, then flog it on after :)

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Who needs heaters, all those spanners slipping on rounded off bolts, the trickles of blood will keep you warm.

It's nice to be out of the rain though, and not having to lie on wet floors. I always make sure I have an old roll of lino and some cardboard boxes to lie on .............. christ, I sound like I'm homeless.

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Who needs heaters, all those spanners slipping on rounded off bolts, the trickles of blood will keep you warm.

It's nice to be out of the rain though, and not having to lie on wet floors. I always make sure I have an old roll of lino and some cardboard boxes to lie on .............. christ, I sound like I'm homeless.

I have a big sheet of cardboard under the car already to catch all the oil drips .... of which there are quite a few (in the grand British tradition). To avoid lying on the cold floor & I have a roll of old carpet! Give me a pipe & some slippers & I'll be in the very lap of luxury!! :D

I fitted new seals & stainless steel pistons to my Metro turbo brake calipers yesterday! Now I have to pluck up the courage & take the front end of the Scimitar apart in order to fit them :unsure: I know they're frowned upon by some (most??) but I've always found Haynes manuals useful & I really wish I had one for guidance (if nothing else). All I have is a slightly dubious exploded diagram of the front suspension to help me out. Ahh well it'll keep me off the streets if nothing else!! Anyone fancy coming to Leeds to help me bleed the brakes?? No doubt the air above Leeds will be blue on Saturday :lol:

Wish me luck please!! :)

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Right well - an update on progress with the Zetec engine swap project.

The lambda sensor might actually fit in the hole but I don't really know whether I'll need one or not!

Sounds like your having a ball Paul :D

regards the lambda (02) sensor, if your ditching the FI and putting carbs on it you won't need the sensor.

Is the hole in the exhaust the EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) valve fitting? If so you won't need that either, total PIA, I wish the things had never been invented.

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Just seen this thread!

Great stuff Paul,good luck and keep us updated, :)

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Right well - an update on progress with the Zetec engine swap project.

The lambda sensor might actually fit in the hole but I don't really know whether I'll need one or not!

Sounds like your having a ball Paul :D

regards the lambda (02) sensor, if your ditching the FI and putting carbs on it you won't need the sensor.

Is the hole in the exhaust the EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) valve fitting? If so you won't need that either, total PIA, I wish the things had never been invented.

Thanks for that PG - I'll more than likely be ditching the fuel injection & fitting a carb (maybe bike carbs or twin Webers later on ....... who knows :huh:). I'm not sure whether I'll need the lambda sensor or not as there's no distributor on the Zetec so I'll some sort of aftermarket ecu to control/distribute the sparks generated in the coilpack. This ecu takes, I believe, information from various sensors fitted to the engine. If I do need it then the Mondeo's lambda sensor is still in the exhaust back at my friends house - maybe I'd better go & get it?? As for the hole in the exhaust manifold I'm pretty sure you're right & that it's for the EGR stuff (which I've now removed) but I still need to get it plugged with something :D

Many thanks for all the encouragement - I'll keep you posted :thumbup:

Edited by pauluspaolo

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Right well - an update on progress with the Zetec engine swap project.

The lambda sensor might actually fit in the hole but I don't really know whether I'll need one or not!

Sounds like your having a ball Paul :D

regards the lambda (02) sensor, if your ditching the FI and putting carbs on it you won't need the sensor.

Is the hole in the exhaust the EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) valve fitting? If so you won't need that either, total PIA, I wish the things had never been invented.

but I still need to get it plugged with something :D

Try a spark plug.

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Anything will do to plug it, but it would be more useful with a lambda I would think...

Bleeding brakes its easy with a 35quid kit you can get from bike shops that you use to hand pump a vaccum to pull thru the fluid... easy peasy one person job... and far better than those usual one man kits. :)

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Another update:

I worked on the car last Saturday but didn't have much joy with it at all :(! I was intending to fit my new calipers & vented discs, to fit these I removed the old caliper & hub nut, so that I could remove the drive flange/disc brake/bearing assembly from the stub axle. I got as far as removing both the caliper & hub nut before it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to offer up the new disc to the hub to make sure it'd fit. I very soon found out that there's no way the discs will fit so I had no option but to put everything back together again :taz: The good news though is that the calipers will fit fine :)

The upshot of all this is that I've had to order another set of vented discs from Graham Walker (Scimitar specialist) at £50 each + vat & delivery :(!! I got some uprated polyurethane bushes in the post today (they're in the pic I've posted in the Friday thread), these will replace the ancient rubber bushes in the front upper wishbones, but to fit these the front supension will need dismantling completely which will be a long job that I'm not particularly looking forward to. Doing it though means that I can strip the rust from the suspension arms, examine them thoroughly as they have a tendency to rust through (with disastrous consequences!!) & give them a lick of paint while I've got them off the car. When I've got the suspension back together I'll fit the uprated brake calipers & discs. The new bushes should transform the cars handling, while the brakes probably won't feel that different to how they feel now but they'll be much more resistant to heat build up & fade.

After all that I'll start on the back end which shouldn't be as bad/expensive to sort out - the brakes can be left as they are & it's apparently very rare for the rear suspension bushes to need replacing. I'd like to clean/paint the rear suspension arms though so there will be some dismantling involved :rolleyes:

As far as the engine goes well I'm still gathering the bits I need to fit to it so that it'll work in a rear wheel drive car. I've got the neccesary oil pick-up pipe, windage tray (not sure what this does :blink:!), new dipstick tube & dipstick - all I need now is a suitable sump ... which I hope to get soon. Then I'll need to fit a suitable flywheel/clutch assembly (which should also arrive soon) & I'll need to make/buy some new alternator mounts as well. That'll see the engine taken as far as I can until it's been fitted in the car ....... which will be the next big hurdle to overcome. After the engine's in (it all sounds so simple!) I'll need an ecu to control the ignition/sparks side of things, a fuel system (carb(s?), manifold, fuel pump, filter, inertia switch (so that the fuel supply's cut off in the event of an accident), pressure regulator etc) then I'll need a very long arm so that I can light the blue touch paper from a safe distance!!!

No piccies unfortunately but I'll take some next time I'm working on the thing ..... wish me luck :)

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