No other car has influenced British popular culture more than the Reliant Robin. The three-wheeled, lightweight box became an affectionate joke in the decades after it was first put on sale. When it was first launched in 1973, it became quite popular despite its minimalist style and unstable ways. Since it only had three-wheels, it was, in a legal sense, not really a car. This meant it came under a lower tax code and was very cheap to run – but how does this face of motoring differ to that one we currently enjoy?
The Robin became popular in poorer areas of Britain where not everyone had or could afford to have a full driving licence. Because of the unusual design, it was seen as a motorised tricycle with a roof, and therefore those with only a motorbike licence could still own and run one.
However the car was notoriously unstable and unreliable. With only one wheel at the front to support the body weight of the car, it would tend to tip over if presented with a hill or sharp turn at speed. This design flaw was serious enough that the Robin was the first three-wheeler to be fitter with an anti-roll bar. The models eventually died out however, due to their propensity for getting into accidents and causing large bills for damages.
The Robin was equipped with a 750cc engine, producing a modest 32bhp. It is most likely a good thing that they were never given more powerful engines as that would only have exacerbated the existing instability issue. By the end of their production run in 1981, campaigns and popular culture jokes would point out their safety records as the exact opposite of that of leading brand Volvo.
A Swedish manufacturer with plenty of fantastic vehicles in their arsenal, unlike the Reliant Robin, Volvo vehicles have been regularly commended for their high reliability and safety records. Routinely achieved NCAP 5 ratings when undergoing testing, these vehicles represent the future of motoring which puts safety at the forefront of vehicular design. The brand name itself is taken from the Latin ‘volvere’ which means ‘I roll’ – and this is something their vehicles certainly do. With plenty of grip on the road and enhanced interior comfort, Volvo’s ensure that you achieve a smooth and safe drive no matter what the terrain beneath your tyres.
In the event that servicing or repairs are needed, most owners find parts to be competitively priced – a real benefit considering the current economic state. It is always recommended that you have any repairs or servicing completed by a qualified professional and due to continued success in this area, ACC UK Ltd has recently installed a new MOT test centre at their Farnborough site for those looking to keep their car on the road using Car Servicing Farnborough.