Reliant Fox

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Reliant Fox
Fox at the roadside - geograph.org.uk - 1502581.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Reliant
Production 1983-1990
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door utility
Powertrain
Engine 848 cc Straight-4
Transmission 4 speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 84.5 inches (2146 mm)
Length 133 inches (3380 mm)
Width 61 inches (1540 mm)
Height 60 inches (1520 mm)
Chronology
Predecessor Reliant Kitten

The Reliant Fox is a small four wheeled glass fibre utility vehicle manufactured by the Reliant Motor Company in Tamworth, England between 1983 and 1990. It used an 850 cc aluminium engine and was technically based on the Reliant Kitten with which it shares its chassis, engine and running gear (with some modifications).

The Fox has an interesting history. Reliant has exported technology and designs to several companies and countries, including MEBEA in Greece (Robin and TW9 models), but in the case of this car an almost "reverse" course was followed. Indeed, in the late 1970s MEBEA attempted to develop a "passenger-utility" vehicle, a type very popular in Greece at the time due to a law allowing such cars to be taxed as "commercial vehicles". In that respect it was one of several companies to build such a vehicle in this country, including Namco, Autokinitoviomihania Ellados, MAVA, Automeccanica and others. MEBEA, which had already built the Reliant Robin under licence, modified the four-wheel chassis of the Reliant Kitten in order to accommodate higher loads and developed the prototype of a light utility vehicle with glass-fibre reinforced composite body. In order to produce it, though, MEBEA had to deal with the hurdle of obtaining type certification; this process was particularly complex for locally developed "passenger cars" (unlike other types of vehicles) in Greece. Thus, MEBEA did what other Greek companies had also done: it sought a partner abroad (the procedure was much easier for vehicles already certified in another country). Reliant was the obvious choice and the British company was involved in the final development and certification of the production version.

The car was produced by MEBEA in Greece as the MEBEA Fox between 1979 and 1983, when the law favouring such cars was changed; sales dropped and production was terminated (a total of about 3000 had been produced). The car had a "second life" though, as Reliant itself started producing it in the UK after 1983, as an informal successor to the Kitten. About 600 were built in the UK until 1990.

A 'Preservation Society' exists for 4 wheeled small Reliants called the Reliant Kitten Register.

References[edit]

  • "Quattroruote, Tutte le Auto del Mondo 1982-1983", Editoriale Domus, Milano (1982) (in this book the MEBEA Fox is erroneously presented as "Fox-MEBEA")
  • "Daily Express Guide to 1982 World Cars", Motorfair Edition (1981)