Royal arrival as regal Reliant Scimitar finds new home

A car with one very special royal lady owner is the latest to arrive at an award-winning interactive classic car museum. A custom-built Middlebridge Reliant Scimitar No 5, which was previously owned by HRH Princess Anne for 35 years, has gone on display at Great British Car Journey in Derbyshire.

The dark green car is exactly as it was the day it left the Nottingham factory on 13 December 1988 and delivered to the Princess Royal. It was the last of eight Scimitars that she owned over 52 years.

Amongst its distinctive detailing, the car features a unique bonnet emblem – a silver female jockey on a horse. The unique mascot was presented to the Princess Royal following her performance in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games where she competed on the late Queen Elizabeth II’s horse ‘Goodwill’.

The historically significant car remained in the Princess Royal’s ownership until very recently. It was stored at her country estate Gatcombe Park. Despite having 114,000 miles on the clock, the car is in remarkable condition, even boasting its original exhaust system.

Unfortunately, due to personal security reasons, the Princess Royal has been unable to drive the car for a number of years. Keen to preserve the car, Princess Anne agreed to the purchase of it by Middlebridge Scimitar enthusiast and classic car collector Mick Gaughran, Chairman of the Middlebridge Scimitar Enthusiasts, on condition that it would be sympathetically restored.

Following its conservation, the car is now on display at the Great British Car Journey complete with its original personalised number plate – 1420 H, which was displayed on the car for 35 years. The number plate has since been returned to the 1420 Hussars, who originally gifted it to HRH on her twentieth birthday.

Richard Usher, founder of Great British Car Journey, who took delivery of the car said: “I am incredibly grateful that Great British Car Journey has been chosen to display this historically significant car. Not only is it an eighties classic, the car also has an illustrious history and Royal provenance and is a wonderful addition to our exhibition.”

Words by Mark Slack

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