This one has a few costly options, including AM radio, clock, roof rack, and air conditioning, but the original buyer chose the base transmission (a four-speed manual) instead of the much more popular automatic option. The odometer is a five-digit unit, so there’s no telling if the car has 79,620 miles or 379,620.
Two engines were available in the first-year Reliant: a 2.2-liter Chrysler four-cylinder (which is what powered this car) or a 2.6-liter Mitsubishi Astron four-cylinder (which was badged as a “2.6 Hemi” on the early K-Cars). The 2.2 was rated at 84 horsepower, while the 2.6 made 114.
This one has a touch of surface rust, the sort of thing that California cars pick up when they live close to the ocean, but otherwise it’s very solid.
I have good reason to hate all Reliants, but I appreciate the historical significance of an early example of the car that saved Chrysler.
Lee Iacocca gave away 50 bucks to anyone willing to test-drive a Reliant, Aries, or LeBaron, even if they bought another car.
Right away, the Reliant-K became such a part of American culture that it appeared in McDonald’s commercials.