For $2,500, Would You Flip Over This 1970 Reliant Supervan III?

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Three-wheelers are a thing because in some markets you only need a motorcycle license to legally drive one. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Reliant is a trike, but we’ll have to see if its price gives it a license to kill.

I asked you all whether yesterday’s 1978 Datsun 200SX might have “SX appeal,” implying attractiveness and desirability. Well, you went all You-Gee-Ell-Why, you ain’t got no alibi, you ugly! on it, proving totally false the first of those aspects. You also gave its $7,999 price a 56 percent Crack Pipe loss, invalidating the second. That poor fugly Datsun spent 25 years waiting for its debutant ball, and after that response it seems it might just want to go back to sleep.

You know what will keep you up at night? The terrors of driving a three-wheel car, that’s what. The format is one that’s never quite caught on, but for whatever reason never seems to fully go away either.

The reason for that is mostly because in some countries younger drivers can hit the road in them owing to lightweight three-wheelers being classified as motorcycles. That’s right, let’s put the youngest and least experienced drivers in the most dangerous vehicles out there. Must have been someone in government that came up with that idea.


One of England’s most famous “Cyclecar” makers was was the Reliant. The company was founded in 1935 to build three-wheelers, taking advantage of a tax structure making trikes cheaper to operate than their four-wheeled brethren. Over the years Reliant built a number of three-wheelers, along with some four wheelers and some pretty cool sports cars. You can ask Jason about owning one of the latter.


Along the way they built this 1970 Reliant Supervan III, a panel van version of the Regal 3. The glass fibre van features a single wheel up front and a side-swinging door out back. That door opens onto a sizable load area, perfect for carrying cargo not specifically demanding vertical orientation.

Powering the Supervan is a 701 cc OHV four good for a claimed 30 horsepower. Behind that is a standard shift four-speed, claimed for nothing.


Now I say “powering” in reference to the engine but that is euphemistically used as 30 ponies aren’t going to do all that much, and this particular Supervan doesn’t seem to be running at all. That does make it perhaps the safest Reliant trike in the world, but then when were we all about the safety?


The seller doesn’t say what’s wrong with it, but the ad does claim that it “shouldn’t take much to get it running.” There’s not a hell of a lot to go wrong with the mechanicals on these so we can assume all it needs is some fresh gas and a battery. The tiny mill does look complete and without external issue.


You might take issue with the paint however, which happens to be primer. That does open it up to a world of color options, perhaps emulating the appearance of the Supervan from the BBC comedy Only Fools and Horses, or maybe some cool “This Side Up” stickers. Right now it’s dolphin grey, just like… um, Flipper.

Inside, the car’s true colors come out, and it looks like at one time it was merlot. There’s a single (right-hand) seat and a steering wheel that (oh my gawd!) is missing part of its radius. An 80 MPH speedo taunts you from behind that, and yes, that is the engine sitting right next to your knees under that hump. Like I said, these are weird cars.


They were so weird in fact that Reliant never officially sold them here in the States. This one has made it here, all the way to Alabama in fact. No, you wouldn’t generally think of Alabama when considering locales of rare and quirky English cars, but here we are.


We are also here to determine if this ‘Bama-located Brit might be worth its seller’s asking. That happens to be $2,500 and includes what appear to be the world’s smallest roof rack bars on top of the car. Another question before we wrap up—how do you think they got it on that trailer in the one pic? It would take three ramps, wouldn’t it?


Okay, while you’re pondering that question for the ages, let’s also get our vote on for that $2,500 price. What’s you take on that price for this trike? Does that seem like a deal as the “car” is presented in the ad? Or, is this a Supervan that’s not so super?

You decide!


Mobile, AL Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

HT to Velvet Elvis and the Sailing Aliens for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.