|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door saloon
3-door estate car/van
|Engine||848 cc light alloy I4|
|Wheelbase||84.5 in (2,146 mm)|
|Length||131 in (3,327 mm)Saloon|
|Width||56 in (1,422 mm)|
|Height||55 in (1,397 mm)|
|Curb weight||1120 pounds (508 KG)|
Development and History
The Kitten uses Reliant's own 850cc engine developing 40HP with rear section of the Kitten's chassis is essentially the same as the Reliant Robin or Reliant Rialto, however from the middle forwards the car is significantly different, with the engine moved forward to where the Robin's front wheel is, and a Reliant-designed (but Lotus inspired) double wishbone front suspension. Moving the engine forward, compared with the three-wheeled cars, made a lot more room inside for the driver and front passenger. The Kitten's chassis, engine, and running gear are the same (with minor modifications) as the later model Reliant/MEBEA Fox pickup introduced in 1982.
In October 1976, a year after introduction, a new de luxe version of the Kitten, branded as the Kitten DL, was announced. Improvements included revised springs and dampers and a changed anti-roll bar but mainly the DL model was an uprated interior improvement packaged which included more comfortable seats which reclined & tilted, modified door trims incorporating a map pocket made of coloured vinyl, a parcel shelf, volt meter & oil pressure gauge, radio with twin speakers, chrome hubcaps with chrome surrounds, extra additional carpet, front and rear fog lights and in some cases rear reversing lights.
On 1 December 1976, a van version of the Reliant Kitten was announced, sharing the profile of the Kitten Estate but using a prototype nose of the original Reliant Kitten using 7 inch lucas round headlamps (instead of the Kitten's standard square headlamps) along with blank panels in place of the rear windows behind the B-pillar thus making a van, other changes included a black vinyl interior with an optional extra of a rear bench seat which folded flat.
In 1982 the last Kitten rolled off the production line as the new reliant 4 wheeler replacement "The all new Reliant Fox" was now in production, similar mechanicals to the kitten but now with a tougher all new design body made as a pickup with hard tops to make an estate or van type vehicle.
The Sipani Dolphin
This was not the end of production of the Reliant Kitten though as large numbers were built in Bangalore by Sipani Automobiles Ltd. Only having slight changes such as front grill & wheel trims along with been renamed as the Dolphin. However, two-door cars were not particularly popular in India as there was law restricting sale of such vehicles in only half of the country, this made Sipani produce the "Montana" which was modified by giving it a more modern look with 4 doors along with a hatchback. The cars were successful rally cars in India and were seen as a popular home grown choice of vehicle, they carried on producing vehicles built around the Reliant Kitten design/mechanicals into the 1990s.
A "Preservation Society" exists called the Reliant Kitten Register.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Reliant Kitten.|