One year in, Port ponders life with the Scimitar

4

Author: Martin PortPublished:

It’s been a year now since I decided that I needed a multi-coloured glassfibre bodied car in my life. So how is it going, and is the honeymoon well and truly over?

Well, the other night my wife (the long-suffering Mrs P) commented that she has never known any of my previous classics to inspire such polarised attention as the good old Scimitar currently sat on the driveway.
The reason for this statement was overhearing the Ocado delivery driver (how middle class eh?) first of all ask for confirmation that it was indeed a Scimitar and then go on to tell me how brave I am and that his brother once had one and as a result of the trials and tribulations he experienced, there is no way he would consider owning one. “Lovely car though”, he muttered before turning on his heels and heading on his way to the next delivery.

In fact, he wasn’t the first Ocado employee to comment. Several others have gone before him – all surprisingly knowledgeable about the Tamworth GTE; some even choosing NOT to remind me that a) “They won’t rust because they’re plastic” or b) “Princess Anne had one of those you know”.

The next day, the chap in the petrol station (my second home it seems these days), told me that the Scimitar was his dream car, but that he was too old to own one now. Not quite sure what he meant by that as last time I looked there was no official cut off age for being ‘daring’ enough to own one!

Oddly, it seems to be bikers that acknowledge the SE5a more than anyone else. Every week there will be several that pull alongside on the motorway before sticking a thumb up or nodding with approval. There is of course a chance that they are simply acknowledging the fact that if I did happen to hit them, the impact of the glassfibre may well be slightly kinder compared to that of steel, although, I’ll leave it to someone scientific to quote crash test figures and tell me what rubbish I am talking there…

Back to the original comment, though, and I must say I agree with Mrs P completely. Disregarding organised gatherings, I have only seen two other Scimitars on the road in the year that I have owned SUL131N. Therefore, it seems surprising just how many people recognise the make and model – almost as many as used to point and comment about the Minis, MGBs and Morris Minors that have gone before it.

The only real difference however is where those cars used to inspire a fond wistful look and ‘I used to have one of those’ anecdotes, the Scimitar usually inspires a ‘I once knew someone who had one’ tale, closely followed by a complete list of what went wrong with it before they accidentally reversed it into a tree and wrote it off because of a crack in the glassfibre. It seems that, just like the good old Citroën DS, the list of people ‘too scared’ to own a Scimitar is bigger than those who have, and that is a shame.

Like any classic it’s not without fault, but having owned mine for several days over a year now and having covered more than 14,000 miles in it, I am actually very happy with my £600 purchase and although I will admit to having the odd sneaky peek at the classifieds to see what else is out there (who doesn’t?), plans are well underway for the next round of ‘improvements’ to the Resin Rocket.

So, love ‘em or hate ‘em, I’m atually rather glad that I chose to own one and if nothing else it means that the Ocado delivery driver and I have something else to talk about rather than carrier bags…

 

Comments

Bluebell

The Scimitar is long overdue for classic recognition and praise. However, owning one does unduly test the relationship. I've owned two SE5a's and have reluctantly given up on both due to one trouble followed closely by another. The problem is they are rugged old things and tend to be neglected to the point of criminality, only for the next unsuspecting owner to pick up the repair bills. In desperation I purchased a beautiful SE4a which had been rebuilt at a cost of more than £16k. The Ford Zephyr engine was lovely, but I failed to connect with the Scimitar, mainly because I could not rid my mind of the feeling of driving a kit car, something which, I hasten to add, I did not experience when driving either of the SE5a's.
Having owned an Aston Martin DB2/4, the SE5a is a more modern and affordable interpretation of the four seater, sports estate, genre. Perhaps when Martin wants a change of vehicle, I should put myself in the frame to purchase his resin rocket, an SE5a without all the usual gremlins. In the meantime I will continue to enjoy Martin's monthly updates on ownership of this great classic car.
Long may it continue.

6sabre

Its interesting fact of life, everyone seems to remember the bad things about British cars and overlook the faults other nations cars have. Just look at the recall lists!!

Scimitars that are looked after are reliable, long legged and different. Even by today's standards they are not a slow car. The only other scimitar I have seen all year, apart from club events, is Martins. Overtook me on the M4 one morning and at the petrol station both while still yellow. Keep an eye open locally.

One of the main problems is as the body needs minimal attention (although it gets shoddy then) owners tend to treat the mechanicals the same way. Once a 'caring' owner gets a scimitar, resolves the neglect, they are reliable. Hope I am not tempting fate!! but in approx 200k miles of scimitar motoring I have only been let down twice. The otter switch popped out of the rad (did not have the modified clip) and the auto box failed after a modification by a 3rd party. Scimitars remain on the road, but how many 70's 'reliable' Toyotas, Datsuns, Honda's have survived!

They have plenty of 'faults' and peculiarities like any classic and will never be the quality of a standard boring eurobox, but I could be talking about a TVR, Lotus, gilbern etc. However, they make driving enjoyable..most of the time.

scimi79

Had mine in excess of 8 years and yes you have to keep on top of things but Oh what a neat old car, long legged and great fun with style...

simpatico

It is odd that certain classic cars, derided by classic car enthusiats, get appreciative gestures from bikers. My Lotus Elite (wedge" was always a big hit with them.

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