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So there you are, driving through a roundabout and suddenly you do a double-take. Was that a three-wheeled car that just went by?

Yes, in fact, it was. For American drivers who have seen these oddities on British roads, they may seem like failed concept cars, but they were actually produced for decades by English carmaker Reliant. Called the Robin, the tiny, low-slung vehicle was first produced in 1973 and was the latest progression of three-wheelers that all evolved from Reliant’s earliest vehicles — three-wheeled motorbikes with small, enclosed cabs.

The Robin became the longest-running of the series until it was discontinued in 2001, according to the Reliant Owners Club Web site, www.reliantownersclub.co.uk. All Reliant three-wheel models tend to be thought of as Robins, according to the site.

Club chairwoman Pauline Huggins said the cars are reasonably stable on the road, though they tend to pull to the side in high winds. They’re also incredibly efficient on gas, she said.

“We can get 60 miles to the gallon, and that’s local [driving],” she said of the Robin her husband drives. “They are very reliable.”

But hard to get.

With no more new models to be made, both vehicles and parts can be hard to obtain, she said.

Got a question about something you’ve seen or heard around the United Kingdom? E-mail us at: uknews@estripes.osd.mil


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